The 4 Best Tricks to Help Learners Remember Your Content

Mitch Denton

It’s a rather common occurrence- you’re reading a textbook, or someone tells you their name, and then a few minutes later, you couldn’t tell them what it was if their lives depended on it! Our memories can play tricks on us sometimes, and our attention is diverted constantly.

There are usually a few reasons for this, it might be because our attention is elsewhere, or we subconsciously don’t see the information at hand currently being relevant or important enough to store into our long-term memory.

A lot of the time it is that we simply have so much information being thrown at us every second, we just don’t process all of it. Our brains only have so much capacity.

This is concerning for teachers, as we can spend hours breaking down lessons for our students and have them come back the following week with no retention whatsoever.

Once you as a trainer have an understanding as to why our memories are not storing information necessary, you can then look at solutions to help your students retain more, and be a more impactful teacher overall.

The team at Archy Learning put together 4 top tips that can help grab your student’s attention, and keep it there for the entirety of the lesson.

1) Direct Attention with Good Design
2) Keep Things Interesting (mix it up)
3) Support Deep Processing
4) Make it Personal                                                    

1) Direct Attention with Good Design


Before you begin developing an eLearning course, ask yourself a few questions, including:

1) Where will your students look first?
2) What is the main thing you want your students to focus on?
3) Are you making the most important parts stand out?

Asking questions such as this will help you strategize and design content that will be attention-grabbing and keep your users engaged. You get to choose to design and create content that will have your students gravitate towards, and guide them down the pathway and learn, as well as retain the information much better.

 Some good key elements of good instructional design are:

  • Colour: Attention-grabbing content design doesn’t necessarily mean the content has to be one color over another, but instead any color deviation will draw the eye toward that content or visual element.
  • Contrast: The eye is inherently drawn to a sense of contrast—e.g. light text on a black background or black text against a light background. Within a set of content, there’s also the idea of logical contrasts—for example, grouping four objects together, with one of those objects being obviously different.
  • Whitespace: Your learners need plenty of whitespace surrounding content because it provides a sense of differentiation and is also easier on the eyes than a screen filled with text and images.
  • Guiding Features: You can guide the eye using visible elements like arrows, or even something as subtle as providing a sense of natural direction within a photo.
  • Visual Weight: Create dominance within an eLearning screen by giving a particular object more weight than the other elements on the screen.

2) Keep things interesting (mix it up)


Hedwig Von Restorff stated that our brains begin to ignore content that feels or looks the same. When there is a context that looks different or a particular piece of content stands out, it brings attention to it and learners are more likely to remember it.

Keep this in mind when designing and adding color to your text, slides, videos, images, and even mini-games. The content that you would like to be more memorable, add in some colored elements that will make it so.                                                                                                                                                                                                                   Test and see what your students prefer, and tweak the content of the course along the way.

3) Support Deep Processing


The more deeply your students process the content, the better they will remember it. Fergus I. M. Craik and Robert S. Lockhart identified this effect in 1972 and illustrated how the depth of mental processes fall in different continuums, ranging from deep to shallow.

Shallow processing leads to rapid memory loss of the content, yet deep processing leads to more durable and stronger memory retention.         

It’s highly recommended that for deeper processing, you create and encourage activities that go beyond reading a textbook. Create activities such as group breakouts and discussions, gamification, and videos that will help your learners process the content much more effectively or “deeper” than by just reading text.

 4) Make It Personal


The more you can personalize your students learning experience, the more of it they will take away and retain. Humans actually have a much longer attention span when they find content relevant, and also have intrinsic motivation attached to it.

Content is incredibly important, but learners don’t just need to learn it, they need to understand how to apply it practically. Personal learning helps play off the emotions of the audience and trigger particular feelings that will cause them to pay more attention, mostly because the content is curated for them specifically.

Get to know your audience and include your knowledge of them in your content. Qualities such as challenges, goals, fears, and even characteristics like gender and age will help identify where they are in the learning pathway and how they will process the information at hand. It will improve the quality of learning overall.


Having students complete your courses is one accomplishment, but how can we as teachers ensure that they remember it long term? There are many different memory tricks you can use as an individual, but on a course level, implementing strategies such as great course design, having interchangeable content that highlights the main points, making personalized content for your learners, as well as creating activities that ensure deep processing will ensure that your course has a positive impact on your students.

They will not only enjoy the learning journey but remember the content too. Would you like to create your own memorable course for students? You can start for free here today.

Mitch Denton

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