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CDU's second MOOC, "The Art & Science of Memory: Five keys to Learning", allows you to immerse yourself in a virtual 'Memory Palace' of 5 panoramic, interactive rooms representing 5 key memory techniques.

This MOOC originally launched globally on 9th November, 2015 on Blackboard's Open Ed platform. 

The course is free and open to anyone to self-enrol.

Enrol now


Prof Timothy Skinner and Dr Simon Moss, from the School of Psychological and Clinical Sciences (SPACS), developed the memory course in collaboration with the team from the Innovative Media Production Studio (IMPS).

The course is an innovative project that focused on developing a stimulating learning experience for students to learn in an interactive environment.

To achieve this goal, the Memory MOOC course was created with gamification elements including various game challenges in different “classrooms,” content unlocking and virtual 3D fantasy room designs that enhance the learning environment in a game setting. The key here is that, unlike traditionally formatted courses where students learn passively and listen to lecturers to obtain information, interactive learning encourages students to learn actively by engaging with the course content and retain information in a stimulating process through game-like activities.

In addition, the 2014-2015 World Memory Champion Jonas Von Essen assisted with designing, developing and marketing the course.

World Memory Champion, Jonas von Essen

In April 2015, Charles Darwin University hosted Jonas von Essen to share his memory secrets and tips of the trade as he assisted with the creation of this memory course.

Hailing from Gothanberg, Sweden, Jonas Von Essen who is studying to be a maths teacher became interested in competing in memory competitions by chance. He scored the most points ever recorded to take out the championship in 2013, defending his title in December 2014, with his second consecutive win.

“I was just strolling around in my local library when I happened to see a book entitled “Anyone can get an amazing memory,” Jonas said. “I tried the techniques in it and almost immediately noticed that I could memorise amazingly much more than I could just some minutes ago, it felt really awesome.”

Five Keys to learning

memory palace

The five keys to learning refer to the key memory techniques, each of which can be experienced and practised in our virtual rooms within the memory palace. 

In this course, you will learn and practice a range of strategies and skills through videos and digital interactives as you are guided from room to room by two time World Memory Champion, Jonas Von Essen. You will also hear from Associate Professor Simon Moss as he shares research-based tips for enhancing your memory.

Whether you need to remember large amounts of information for your studies or job, or just want help remembering people's names, this visually stunning course is for you.

  • Imposing a storyline over what you wish to learn is a simple and powerful way of binding the ideas together in a manner that allows easy recollection.

    Keywords/ methods: peg system,  imagination, story construction, the major system

  • A method of memory enhancement, which uses visualisation to organise and recall information. You memorize the layout of some familiar place or building, like the home you grew up in or the school you went to. 

    When trying to remember a set of items, you 'walk' through these loci in your imagination and commit an item to each one by forming an image between the item and any distinguishing feature of that location.

    Retrieval of items is achieved by 'walking' through the place mentally. The items to be remembered in this mnemonic system are mentally associated with specific physical locations.

    Keywords/ methods: memory palace, encoding

  • This technique can be used alone or used to enhance previous techniques. The more creative you are when trying to memorise something, the better you will remember it.

    The more absurd, bizarre or shocking the images that you use to help memorise information, the more likely you will remember this information later.

    Keywords/ methods: acronyms, humour, imagination, keyword, generation, rhymes and rhythms, music, imagery, visualisation

  • The technique of using elaboration to learn and remember involves turning facts into “why” questions and then answering them. This technique is when you need to understand as well as remember the information.

    Keywords/ methods: depth of processing, effort, chunking, distributive learning, testing

  • This technique is really the underlying foundation for all the other techniques. Mainly, if your mindset is good, and you are physically well rested and healthy, you are more capable of learning and remembering.

    Keywords: meditation, sleep, exercise, mood regulation, music, stress regulation