Learning titbit: Visualisation and Association

It is 10 o’clock at night and we are trying to go over his Chinese vocab.  We went over the character “沉” for the 18th time and both our patience are running thin. My 8 year old is almost in tears.

Visualisation and Association

Learning by Making Connections

Learning by repetition is not working for us at this moment. I tried to break down the word for him. “See there  are three dots  at the side and it represent water.” “Okay”. He repeat the word. 5 minutes later, he forgot.  I searched my mind desperately for how I can make this easier, wondering how we are going to finish revising in time for his exam at this rate.

Finally I tried a tip given to me a long time ago while I was studying for my own exams. ” Okay,  this word means sinking, and the pronunciation sounds similar to the word orange in Mandrain – 橙. Let’s imaging a big giant orange sinking in the water.” My little boy laugh at the thought. “Now imagine the Orange have a hat and a mustache.” We came back to the word ten minutes later and he still remembered. Big relief and we excitedly try to apply the technique to other word in our list.

What we just tried is the Visualization & Association  plus the substitute word technique. It is an age old memory technique  where you make things easier to remember by making connections.

It is really pretty easy and can be use to help you, the kids or anyone remember stuff.  There is just 3 basic steps to it

Step 1 : Use Substitute Words

Step 2: Create a Vivid Image in You Mind

Step 3: Link the images you create

With just this 3 steps you can start performing mental links and remember things more easily.

 Step 1 : Use Substitute Words

When we learn something new, associating it with some thing we already know can make it easier to remember. We make a mental connection when we make identify that a new word we learn sounds similar to something we already know. For example, the word “Claustrophobia” sounds like “Santa Claus” + Phobia.

Step 2: Create a Vivid Image in Your Mind

The more out outrageous and funny something is the more likely we are to remember them. So it helps to exaggerate the image in your mind.  Using the example above, you can start imagining a very scared Santa Claus.

Step 3: Link the Images

Lastly you make a connection between the substitute words, image you created and the new information. Continuing with the example above,  you can turn the words “Santa Claus” + Phobia to something like “Santa Claus have a fear of tight chimneys” and imagine a scene of a Santa Clause stuck in a chimney.


Doesn’t this make it easier for us to remember something? Teach it to your child and spent less time studying and have more time for bonding.

Want more ways to make studying easier? Check out the peg memory technique.

Does this way of learning work for you and your kid? Share your experiences.


Author: learningmum

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Learning Mum is learning to teach and help her kids learn better

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