How We Learn: What Is Our Process For Learning New Information?

How we learn

Learning, and specifically how we learn, has been in the news. From Time Magazine to Forbes to the New York Times, everyone is curious about how we learn. While we might associate learning with school, learning is really a lifelong adventure. Whether it’s taking up a new hobby or learning the new menus on your iPhone, we’re learning all the time. But how does it happen? What are the processes involved in how we learn?

The short-term or working memory

One of the first systems in our brain involved with learning new information is our short-term or working memory. This system can hold information for only a very brief period of time, researchers suggest 10-15 seconds. The working memory can also hold only so much information at one time. If we want to retain some new piece of information, then we need to hold onto this new information in our working memory long enough to use it.

Moving information to long-term memory

Once we have taken in new information, repetition and engagement with the information is required to keep that information around for the long-term. In order to maintain and integrate new information, we need to interact with it soon after placing it in our working memory. If we engage with the newly acquired information, it will move to long-term memory. If we establish the new information in our long-term memory, then we’ll begin to integrate new concepts into our overall understanding of a topic.

What this means for learning kinesiology

  • Avoid trying to cram. You can only retain and process so much information at one time. For better retention, plan ahead and allow yourself time to learn a little bit at each study session.
  • Avoid splitting your attention when trying to learn new things. Trying to split your attention can overload your working memory and result in low retention of new information. It’s better to turn off distracting devices and close down those other open tabs on your laptop while studying.
  • Review new information multiple times and engage with it in different ways. Read, listen, and apply the concepts for better retention.

How our course at 3D Muscle Lab can help you learn kinesiology

If you’re struggling to learn the basics of kinesiology, we can help. Our course is designed to present the material in short manageable chunks, so your short-term memory isn’t overloaded in one session. We present the information in multiple different ways and include quizzes for reviewing each topic. You have the opportunity to engage with each unit as many times as you need, so you can move your newly acquired kinesiology knowledge to your long-term memory where you can apply it to your work.


Cowan, N. 2009. What are the differences between long-term, short-term, and working memory? Prog. Brain. Res. 169: 323-338.

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