Weekly Memory Challenges, and 3-Month Language Learning

One of my main interests with memory techniques is to use them for learning practical information.

Weekly Memory Challenges
I have an idea to create Weekly Memory Challenges where a group of people decides on a set of information to memorize. Everyone then goes off to memorize the information using memory techniques and comes back in a week to share techniques and tips discovered.

I think that having a group of people working on the same project would help increase motivation, and a little bit of friendly competition helps people push themselves a little farther.

Here are some examples of the type of data that could be memorized:

  • World data -- example: countries of the world, with major facts like capital cities, heads of state, types of government, etc.
  • History topics -- examples: timeline of Roman history or a detailed timeline of a large event like WWI
  • Memorizing books -- reading a book, while mind mapping and memorizing the main points
  • Poetry -- choosing a set of poems to memorize
  • Life-sciences -- examples: all the muscles in the human body, bird identification, structure of plants
  • Chemistry -- example: periodic table of elements
  • Biographical timelines -- the history of a famous person
  • Movie trivia -- example: top 100 movies of all time, their dates, and the major actors involved
  • Great ideas -- psychology, philosophy, etc. there are many study guides out there that could provide an outline.
  • Etc.

Would anyone here be interested in a regular weekly memory challenge? At the end of the year, we would have 52 sets of useful information stored in our brains, and would probably develop some interesting techniques that could be shared with everyone.

3-Month Language Learning
Another idea is to pick a new language every three months, and see how much vocabulary and basic grammar could be memorized on the side. One of my interests is taking up Latin. Also, everyone is going to have to learn a little Chinese for the next World Memory Championships. :slight_smile:

Anyone interested in working together to seeing how much the brain can accomplish in a set amount of time?

This is certainly interesting and I interest is in …

  • memorising some poems including Desiderata, High Flight
  • memorising a set of jokes
  • biographical information - birth and death year for my 20 favourite composers

I only want to expend time and mental energy on memorising things of importance to me!


I would be interested. I would like to include sports information to the pot of topics.

I started adding the suggestions to the Wiki page. Who are your 20 favorite composers?

Sounds great. What sports are you interested in?

I don’t know much about soccer/football. I’d be interested in picking up a little trivia on that topic so I would know what people are talking about when I’m in Europe. :slight_smile:

People could either post suggestions here, or on the new Wiki page I just created about it for brainstorming purposes.

I’ve also created a category page where new memory challenges can be added.

I think this is a great idea. I’ll drop some ideas in the wiki page.
I like the sports idea… baseball and football are both highly statistical games so I’d be interested in that.

Some of this historical and sports information could relate to names and faces too… if we could find photos of the players.

I changed the name of the “3-Month Language Learning” wiki page to the Rapid Language Learning Project since some languages might only be 30 days.

It’s just an experiment to see what can be accomplished with technique plus a little effort and motivation.

I think this is something I would be interested in (if I have the time!)

As I mentioned in the other thread, I am currently undergoing the task of mind-mapping and using memory techniques to remember books (particularly textbooks) for my studies. I’m also quite interested in learning the following things, both for education and pleasure:

Memorizing poetry that I like (and possibly mind-mapping the structure and central themes for better understanding.)
Learning new words and their definitions (I write a lot in my spare time, so the more words I have in my vocabulary the better!)
Applying memory techniques to learn rules of grammar, punctuation and spelling.
Beginning to learn the basics of Latin (this is something that has always fascinated me, but they didn’t teach Latin where I used to go to school, so I didn’t have the option to study it.)
Learning more about stars/constellations and astronomy in general.

My concept for the project is that we could start with one per week, and people could either join the individual challenges or not, depending on their time and interest. If many people become interested (50+), we could run a few similar memory challenges at once, and people could pick the one they like.

I’ve added your ideas to the wiki page.

I’m very interested in learning some Latin. I think it makes it easier to learn other European languages, and the complex grammar would be a good mental exercise. I think memory techniques would be very effective for learning Latin because you don’t really have to practice speaking or listening comprehension–though there is a movement of people who are reviving Latin as a spoken language…

This is an excellent idea! When I started memory training I had a friend with whom we created a plan to memorize information and then test each other a week later. She has since stopped trying after we did US presidents and Vice presidents and now I have no one to practice. It’s a great system though because it gives me goal to reach for rather than just throwing information into my brain for no reason.
I am definitely interested in all the data that has been brought up already. Adding to life-sciences, I was planning on trying my hand bones in the body from the top down and then later using this info as loci when memorizing other things.
I’ll stay away from the 3-month language learning, however. I am about to start a class on Italian and need to study up on that. However, I’ll join in anytime Italian is the subject or even Spanish or French since I need to brush up on those.

So basically, let’s do this.

I’ve created a poll about the Weekly Memory Challenges to see where people’s interests are. I didn’t list everything there, but put 10 choices along with an option to leave other suggestions in a comment. The poll is only about what the first Weekly Memory Challenge should be.

I suggest starting the first one on Monday, April 25, because I think it’s good to start the series on a Monday (GMT), but I will be on an airplane tomorrow so that is too soon.

Click here to vote. [Expired link was removed.]

The link didn’t work for me. for language learning, has the idea of adding foreign dictionary options to the random word generator been considered? there’s a pub domain latin dictionary i know, and i’m guessing ones for other languages are available.

Sorry about that–I fixed the link.

I could add other languages if you would like. Just send me the lists of words…

maybe i spoke too soon. i wasn’t able to find a list without tandem english translations alongside. separating the two is beyond me right now. if i figure it out i’ll send them.

I could take a look. If it’s a regular text file, I could probably extract the text with a macro.

I’m looking for feedback on how people think the Weekly Memory Challenges should work.

  1. Should there be just one set thing that everyone who participates memorizes each week? (original idea)
  2. Or should there be a few things to choose from each week? (not everyone memorizes the same thing but we still compile tips)
  3. Or should there be a permanent list of many choices that people could choose from on Mondays to memorize during the week? Those lists would be user generated, so anyone could add a new challenge anytime and then find partners to work on it. (not everyone memorizes the same thing at the same time but we still compile tips)

I think the third option is most flexible, and people could still choose partners for the project (I could add these features), but I want to find out what people think of the idea.

I voted for the many option. It’d be like an army of study groups discussing the best ways to learn and memorize various topics. What mnemonic techniques work best here and there, people sharing mind maps, etc. etc.

I think this idea could really grow into something big!

I voted for the idea with around five options. At least early on I think there should be some overlap so you’ll have multiple people working on the same things. It’s probably easier to start specific and add more options as the group grows than the other way around. It seems more logical at least. Then the army can goosestep from zanzibar to wherever people want to take it.

I chose option three (many options of things to memorize.) Reason being that it’s highly probable that the five things selected may only interest a few of us and we’ll end up skipping numerous weeks. If we have lots of options to chose from, I think participation will be higher on a weekly basis.

After all, most people are only interested in memorizing things they want to memorize - either because it’ll be useful for them or because it’s a personal point of interest.

i can’t beat that construction, but i understand what you mean. either way, i think it’ll go well.