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Short course to reveal memory secrets

By Leanne Miles

Users will be invited into the Users will be invited into the "Memory Palace" and into virtual three-dimensional rooms, such as the Zen room

The tips and techniques to improve memory are being revealed in a new interactive online course created by Charles Darwin University with the help of current World Memory Champion Jonas Von Essen.

The Massive Open Online Course (MOOC) “The Art and Science of Memory – 5 Keys to learning” is the first to use innovative and interactive three-dimension animation and is open for enrolments.

CDU Innovative Media Production Studio co-ordinator Karin Pfister said that MOOC users would be invited into five rooms (one for each memory technique) to complete memory exercises.

“Users will be invited into the ‘Memory Palace’ and into virtual three-dimensional rooms, where they will be able to click on objects to complete various aspects of the course,” Ms Pfister said. “Participants will be able to test how their memory has improved throughout the course.”

The techniques in the course are those that Jonas Von Essen used to score the most points ever recorded to take out the World Memory Championship in 2013, and successfully defend his title in December 2014. Jonas travelled from Gothenburg in Sweden to Darwin earlier this year to share his memory secrets and tips as he assisted with the creation of the course.

“It is really quite simple,” Jonas said. “Anyone can learn memorising techniques.”

The rooms range from a primitive cave, complete with sound effects and an apparition of Jonas, to a room full of artefacts, where Jonas takes on the role of a Greek philosopher. There is also a high-tech space lab, Renaissance room and an Oriental themed Zen room.

The course was conceptualised and initiated by the CDU School of Psychological and Clinical Sciences head Professor Timothy Skinner.

“I could see a growing need to help students develop the ability to remember large amounts of subject content, especially in courses like Chemistry, Anatomy and Physiology,” Professor Skinner said. “Then I realised we have not taught them how to remember things, so this is designed to do that.”

Ms Pfister said that anyone interested in improving their memory could learn the techniques and was welcome to enrol.

She said CDU’s memory MOOC was distinct from others because of its interactive nature, and that it incorporated actual material from CDU courses.

For more information or to enrol visit: