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How Learning can Affect Memorization

Depending on the elementary and secondary school system where you spent the first 12 years of your formal education, evidence of learning may have been equated with memory. Memorization of facts, places, dates and formulas seemed to mean you were learning and well educated 30, 40 or 50 years ago. The ability to successfully memorize facts may still be evidence that learning has taken place in some educational circles.

Your brain stored the dates and facts, i.e., the Battle of Hastings in 1066; the discovery of America in 1492; the attack on Pearl Harbor, December 7, 1941; Abraham Lincoln, the first Republican president; John Kennedy, the first Roman Catholic president; etc. You were then tested on this stored information and earned an A because your memory was able to recall the correct facts. So -- presto -- learning had taken place. But there are educators who would disagree with this conclusion.

You received an A because your memory was functioning properly. So you actually got an A in memory, but it was called "History" on your report card. If your test question had been, "What is the significance of Abraham Lincoln being elected the first Republican president?" instead of "Who was the first Republican president?" you may not have received the A.