Learning Technologies Newsletter

ISSUE 10 - March 2006 - by Phil Chambers

TIME TO READ: 5 minutes (Average Reader), less than a minute (Speed Reader) - Word Count: 1,092. To learn more about Speed Reading Contact us.

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Welcome to the March issue of the Learning Technologies Newsletter, Please continue to forward it to friends and colleagues who you think would find it useful.

This month, as well as our regular quote of the month and Mind Mapping tip, we share some ideas on how to remember PIN numbers.

Quote of the Month

"It is not the critic who counts: not the man who points
out how the strong man stumbles or where the doer of
deeds could have done better. The credit belongs to the
man who is actually in the arena, whose face is
marred by dust and sweat and blood, who strives valiantly,
who errs and comes up short again and again,
because there is no effort without error or shortcoming,
but who knows the great enthusiasms, the great devotions,
who spends himself for a worthy cause; who, at the best,
knows, in the end, the triumph of high achievement,
and who, at the worst, if he fails, at least he fails while
daring greatly, so that his place shall never be
with those cold and timid souls who
knew neither victory nor defeat."

Theodore Roosevelt

I recently heard this quoted by Rachel Elnaugh
(entrepreneur, founder of Red Letter Days and judge on
BBC TV's "Dragon's Den" ) in a speech at the
Shropshire Chamber of Commerce "Business Solutions Day".


For many more quotes click here.

Mind Mapping Tip of the Month

Develop a system of colour codes: This can be used in many different ways. For example, on a decision making Mind Map - everything that indicates one alternative could be in green, everything that indicates the other in red and information relating to both in blue. In Mind Mapped meeting minutes - each attendee could have their action points a different colour.

For another 100 tips on Mind Mapping see "101 Top Tips for Better Mind Maps" by Phil Chambers, available from our online shop, click here.

Safety PINs

Valentine's day this year saw the formal changeover for retailers and customers in the UK to Chip and PIN verification for credit and debit cards. Personal Identification Numbers are becoming more and more important in our daily lives, not just for credit cards and cashpoints but for door entry codes in offices, private car park barriers, online banking and other computer services. Not to mention telephone area dialing codes and dates.

So how do you remember all the different four digit numbers that you need to know? One way is to change as many of your codes as you can to the same number but what if a fraudster finds out this number and steals you wallet?   Before you know it can drain all of your accounts and run up huge debts on your credit cards with ease. So we need a better strategy.

One method is to use the keypad itself to help you. As you type the numbers they make a shape that you can remember, for example 2684 is a diamond, 1397 is a square, 1478 is an 'L' shape. The only trouble with this is remembering the sequence (1397 makes the same shape as 1793).

Another strategy is to convert abstract numbers into something that you can make sense of. Objects are physical things that you can feel, smell, taste, hear, see and interact with. Making use of our senses and feelings allow us to make many more connections that in turn lead to strong memories. So how do we convert numbers into objects? One way is to convert the numbers into letters then combine the letters to create words that are the names of objects you can imagine.

To do this we use "The Major System" - click here to see an earlier newsletter explaining the process. Essentially we just substitute a letter for each digit as follows:

0 - z / s / soft c
1 - d / t / th
2 - n
3 - m
4 - r
5 - l
6 - soft g / sh / soft ch / j
7 - k / hard c / hard g / hard ch
8 - f / v
9 - b / p

So a four digit code number is transformed into four letters that can be made into two words.

Eg: 1234

1 = d/t
2 = n
3 = m
4 = r

TaN MaRe

Imagine a sunbathing pale brown horse.

All you have to do now is associate the image with whatever   the number is used for. To do this we use a location. If it is the door entry code to your office, imagine the sunbathing horse in your building's foyer. Alternatively   add to the image in some way. If it is a Bank of Scotland credit card, imagine the sunbathing horse wearing tartan - Be creative!

Eg: 4983

4 = r
9 = b/p
8 = f/v
3 = m

RaP FaMe

Imagine a Rap artist performing and signing autographs in a location connected with the use of the number.

If you use the number regularly the mental images will fade and you will just remember the number as easily as your name or address. It will then be in long term memory.

Just be sure that when you need to learn a new number you go back to using the system. Several years ago I fell into the trap of overconfidence. I got a new PIN and thought to myself, "That's an easy to remember number, it's got a triple digit on the end. No need to use the system". So I destroyed the slip of paper with the number as you are told to do and a few weeks later went   a cash point. When asked to enter my PIN I thought, "was it 6333 or 6888?" the machine rejected both these. "Maybe it was 6777". In the end I had to go into the bank and request a new number!

Best of luck managing your PINs. If, like me, you have a wallet full of cards you will have lots of amusing images to play with.

That's all for this month. If you have any comments or suggestions please feel free to contact me.