How to draw to remember more | Graham Shaw | TEDxVienna


Translator: Oksana Molodoria
Reviewer: Marìa Antonella Grassi I wonder if you can relate to this. Have you ever had trouble remembering
information? Lines of writing like this? When I was at school,
one way I used to learn was this: I used to read. And reading’s
a great way to learn, isn’t it? But you know, sometimes my expression
would be a bit like this. Because what I used to find was that
sometimes I’d be reading all these lines and they just weren’t going in.
Is this familiar to you? And I’d sometimes turn the paper over
and try to remember it and my mind had just gone blank
and I couldn’t remember anything. And then I’d start to get really worried. I’d start to sweat and fret and get all anxious, especially if it got near
to the examination. And I thought to myself,
“I’m never gonna remember any of this!” And I also thought to myself, “There
must be an easier way, mustn’t there?” And there is. Because if we take that information and
we turn it into a picture with a drawing, we remember it. Because when we draw,
we remember more! But you know the only trouble with that? People say, “That’s a great idea
but I can’t draw.” But I believe everybody can draw certainly
well enough to make learning memorable. And today I’d like to show you
how to do that. We’re gonna start building up our
visual tool kit with, firstly, a circle. So get your paper ready. Let’s have a go. Have your paper this way around
like the flip chart. And we are gonna start
by simply drawing a circle like that. Next, what I’d like you to do is
draw two more circles and make them into eyes. Then a nose. And then a nice smile. And now over here let’s try another one. Some more eyes,
this time looking in this way and a nose. And this time let’s do
a different expression a circle which we can shade in
and we’ve got a shocked expression. Let’s try one more just down here. Another circle! And this time
draw the eyes, but looking upward, and then a nose. And now watch carefully,
if you blink, you might miss it. (Laughter) A thoughtful expression. So that’s our first shape
in our visual tool kit, a circle. And everything we’re going to do
is gonna be as easy as that. So just turn your page over and we’re gonna build
our visual tool kit up. This time again have your page
in portrait style and we’re gonna begin over here. And the first shape we’re going to do
is a diamond. So just draw that. Then we think,
“What could we make it into?” Put a triangle on the end. Now I’m gonna put
a little eye there and a smile. Got a little fish! Perhaps some bubbles. There we are. In the centre draw a circle. Now connect the circle
with a line to the fish. We’ll call that number one. Now draw a line up here. We’ll call that number two. We’re gonna do a circle again. Just watch. Here it goes. And next a couple of eyes
looking that way. And now a nose and a smile. Something different.
Two triangles on the top and next, three lines this way,
three lines that way and we’ve got a cat! Let’s go over this way. Number three. Let’s draw a circle at the top. Now let’s draw a line down and then another line here to make a leg. Next, we’re gonna draw a line at that way and now an arm to the side and the other one up like that. So we’ve got a figure. And if we put two little lines there could be a dancer. Let’s draw number four. That’s gonna be a triangle. And let’s see what shape
we could make that into and what picture we could make it into. It looks like a boat with another
triangle and a little line underneath. We could even put a flag on top and a bit of water there. Next, come down here. Number five. We’re gonna draw a rectangle. Just watch. Just like that. And let’s put some circles here
for wheels. We could make a little bus
out of that rectangle. A horizontal line, two lines vertically for windows, and some people who are inside the bus. Next, let’s draw a vertical line. Number six. A totally different shape this time. Let’s go with a shape
that looks a bit like a cloud. But two vertical lines below and we can make it into a tree. Finally, number seven down here. We haven’t done a square yet. Let’s do a square and we can put a triangle on top, so we
combine the shapes in our visual tool kit. A little door and a couple of windows. So there we are. We’ve used the shapes in our
visual tool kit to create pictures and of course we could create many more different pictures with that. So… But the wonderful thing is the amazing power of your mind
to see pictures when they are not there. Because as you look at the picture now by just taking a mental picture,
it kinda going ‘click!’ in your mind. You can actually remember
not only the pictures but exactly where they are
located on the page. So just turn your paper over
so you can’t see and let’s do a little experiment here
and just have a look. What I’m gonna ask you to do now: I’m gonna point to different places
on the flip chart and only when I point to the fish,
do I want you to put your hand up. So do you think the fish is up here? No. Is the fish over here? Is the fish here? Thank goodness for that. (Laughter) What about the bus? Is the bus up here? Is the bus down here? You’ve got it, haven’t you? So, in fact you could remember
any of them that I’d asked. And even if I’d made it more complicated, you probably could remember
most of those drawings. So drawing is a good way of remembering and there’s some
terrific research around this. A particular study was done
at the University of Waterloo in Canada. And what they did was they asked people
to remember 30 words and they gave them
40 seconds per word. And they could either write the words
for 40 seconds and list them. So say a word like ‘balloon’. They were all simple words like that. They wrote them. Or the other task they were asked to do
was draw a simple picture of it. So there’s my balloon. Then they were given
a sort of distraction task like a kind of filler task that was to do
with music, so completely different, and then a surprise memory test. What did they find? What they found was that people typically
remembered twice as many pictures when they’d drawn them
compared with when they’d written them. So double the number of words
were remembered when they’d been drawn. I thought that was terrific, of course. And the other thing I thought
was really fascinating about it was: the quality of the drawings
didn’t appear to matter. In other words, people didn’t need
to be artistically brilliant in order to create a drawing
that stuck in their mind. And they even looked at other ways
of remembering to compare with drawing. For example, they got people
to visualize words, they got people to write
descriptions of words, and they got people to look
at pictures of words. In every single case
drawing always came out on top. So drawing was a great way
to remember that list of words. And in my experience, drawing can help us
to remember much more than lists. We can remember facts, we can remember abstract concept,
even whole topics with drawing. And I’d like to show you
how we can do that. One of the keys is
to link a picture and a meaning. So let me give you an example. Here we go. We’ve seen this before. We’ve got our tree. We could ask ourselves,
“What does the tree mean?” It could mean lots of things, couldn’t it? It might mean ‘LIFE’. It could mean ‘GROWTH’. It could mean ‘STABILITY’. And you could think of
lots of other meanings. And incidentally that’s a fantastic thing
about our drawing tool kit, because once we can draw
something like that tree we can link it to many,
many different concepts and ideas. So it’s useful to be able
to use our visual tool kit in this way. But of course, when we’re trying
to remember information, we don’t get the picture first. We’ve got the information first
or the concept and then we have to think of a picture. So we have to start getting used
to thinking in pictures. So, for example, if I said to you a
concept such as ‘innovation’, you might think,
“What picture comes to mind?” When I’m thinking of a spark,
or I’m thinking of a light bulb, we could think of many more. So it’s about thinking in pictures. So let’s get a bit of practice at thinking in pictures. Now, I could take any topic
and I’m gonna pick a topic from biology. And incidentally I am not a biologist, but one of the things
that I’m lead to believe is that white blood cells one of the things they are very good for
is defending us against germs. In fact, apparently they engulf bacteria
and they render them totally harmless. So really good to have white blood cells. Let’s think of what picture comes to mind. You could think
of lot’s of things and, of course, what’s important is that the picture
that you think of makes sense to you. We’re all individual. But I was thinking of using my visual
tool kit to create a little character. That’s a white blood cell. There it is. And why is he looking so happy? Well, he’s looking
particularly happy because he’s got a shield same shape as the fish and it’s got ‘STOP’ written on it. And, there we are, he’s holding it up. And the reason he’s holding it up is
because he’s defending us. And he’s defending us against… See this shape?
A little bit like the tree. But this time I’m gonna
make it into a germ. There he is. Give him some legs. And he’s looking particularly unhappy in fact, he’s completely fed up because he’s got his arms in the air, because he’s surrendering. He’s been completely defeated
by the white blood cell. So once we’ve got a picture like that we’ll remember it. And we could do things like
add colour to pictures which is great because
the brain does love colour. So let’s take an example
of an abstract concept. Here’s one. ‘TRUST’. We might think: “How could we possibly
remember that or illustrate that?” And people often say,
“You need to draw a handshake.” Some of you might be thinking,
“That’s tricky to draw.” A little tip from me:
there’s always an easier picture. And I’m gonna show you a picture
that somebody came up with on a workshop that I was running. And it went like this. Have you ever had the experience
of someone else coming up with an idea that you’d wished
you’d thought up yourself? (Laughter) Because as he started drawing this,
I thought, “This is so simple!” You can see
where I’m going with it, can’t you? A little figure on the top, there we are. Helping us to remember ‘TRUST’. Ok. And here we go. I wonder how well you can remember those
seven pictures that we had earlier on. I’d like you to take
a blank piece of paper and make sure you hide the original. We’ll do a little experiment here. And I want you to just to draw the circle
and the seven lines on that paper and have about a minute to just start
drawing in all the pictures you can remember. So I’ll give you some time
just starting from now. Now, you may or may not
get all of them, that’s fine. If you get stuck on one,
just look at the flip chart and pretend they’re all there. Just see if you can see them in your mind. You may want to put the numbers on. There’s a lot of concentrating going on. Can help each other
act a little bit there. Just quick sketches are fine. I can see a lot of activity down there. Ok, so you’ve had about a minute, just wherever you got to, that’s fine. You may have got some
or you may have got all. Sometimes people draw in a bit more
detail, it takes a bit longer. That’s absolutely fine. So here we go. What I’d like you to do now is altogether
just hold your pictures up facing me. Hold them up! All up! Fantastic! And I’m looking down here and wow! I can see… We’ve got all on most
I can see down the front here. You can compare them
with the flip chart here. So… Ok.
So there we are! (Laughter) Alright. So, we can actually…
A bit of excitement about, isn’t there? (Laughter)
We can actually all get used to drawing and making information
memorable with pictures. And the great thing is what I’d invite
you to do is to start using these skills for yourself and for others. You might have children,
friends or colleagues. And you could help them to use drawings
to make learning memorable because after all,
we’re all life-long learners and the ability to draw can really
expand our learning potential. So I invite you to get your drawings
out there and spread the word that when we draw, we remember more! Thank you! (Applause)

100 thoughts on “How to draw to remember more | Graham Shaw | TEDxVienna

  1. I always kind of did that and it works. In fact we are so much visual learners that even when olny using normal annotations when I did a test I usually remembered the pages I've written the relevant information on at the same time. I think a great way to use this is to just doodle stuff along with your annotations.

  2. it is because what you draw is that you have already remembered, if you draw some characters really weird or something never see, you can not remember again

  3. so draw the 300 irregular verbs in english, and thousands of them in spanish or french, . important date in world history , yet another fad … the truth this works only for quick urgent info but if you do it in every thing, it wont work, and I draw portrait landscapes etc monuments of many cites where I spend 30 min or 20 min .. would not remeber the name of many of them, love how they keep feeding the rest new fad lol

  4. and people who enjoy reading are making pictures in their minds while reading.

  5. Imma draw all 1350 words of a song I want to learn as random things to help me remember the entire song.

  6. Amazing Graham ! I like your voice and your drawing methods, there is many ways to memorize ideas but this is one is very interesting and easy to do.

  7. That is exaclty what I do when my daughter asks for help in doing her math – draw a picture. Now I got confident in the method! 🙂

  8. I just don't see how I can apply this method in remembering foreign words 😢

  9. Either physical or abstract,
    we can draw only
    -common nouns,
    -verbs, and
    -adjectives.
    -Also prepositions and interjections…

    BUT what about
    -adverbs,
    -helping verbs,
    -Proper nouns,
    -gerunds,
    -participles ???
    .
    .
    And also,
    How to draw when someone is giving a lecture, speech or report in a Fast Speed ???

    Don't misunderstand me… I fully appreciate his tips, but I justed wanted to know more about it.
    Have a nice day dear.

  10. so im a computer science student and i cant imaging how to but equasions into pictures. ive tried but it just took me so much time and effort that i have to say that this method is kind of useless. but its quit hard learning with anki and forcing urself all this boring but relevant informations into ur head. dont know what to do.

  11. I want this kind of teacher 😢 I can understand him and full of positivity
    thank you sir 💓

  12. hello, can I translate this video into Kazakh language and put it into youtube so Kazakh speaking people understand. the video material is good

  13. Great to see the wonderful Graham Shaw in action!

  14. The crazy thing is that i used to do this when i was in primary school and only in the beginning of High school and I learned it by my self, and now in college I don’t. 🙁

  15. these gangstas at TED put autotune on his voice for 1 sec at 16:30

  16. From the comments The King of Emojis : ) Good grief Charlie Brown, 500 dislikes? I feel sorry for those folks. This is as good as it gets folks. Bravo!

  17. 💓☑💜💜💜💜💜💜💜💜☑💓
    If you want to memorise fast and you can't cram then
    Try this approach for a week and if results are fruitful then continue using it
    I.e
    🌐 Select 2 chapters
    🌐 Read those selected chapters critically for 5-7 days,(don't repeat paragraphs or lines more than once in a day) just read deeply thoughtfully once, that whole chapter e.g
    Chap A read critically ,done ,Chap B critically read done (Day 1 of 7 done) after following 7 days you will get a grounded grip of those 2 chapters in particular
    🌐 Then give a test honestly of those 2 chapters at an institution(Don't shy away from tests please)
    Followup result of such test
    Do try it for once ,especially people who can't cram
    🔊🔊🔊🔊 ‼‼‼‼
    By critically reading I mean
    💟You must know the meaning of each and every word/term
    💟You must solve all illustrations and examples on the page
    💟(optional)You must try to link the idea of paragraph or line with real life situation)

    ⚠ However
    if the content on a page in your subject book has step wise procedures,well then you have to cram its headings only…ofcourse you can cram headings in contrast to cramming explanations..Good luck 🎓

  18. I would imagine this is why the ancient world used hieroglyphs to record their history

  19. Now I’m drawing it’s interesting !! I wasn’t expected that one day I will.!

  20. soooo he is just saying to connect ideas to ideograms and mapping them together with other ideas (and maybe creating a story to aid this mapping)

  21. We can draw pictures, or we can do what people in the past did, which is train our minds to actually work as they should. There was a time when people had no choice about training their minds. Many people had to memorize a hundred facts a day, or entire scrolls, legers, etc.. But they did it easily because they trained their minds.

    Very few even try to train their minds now, or try to remember anything. Why bother when you can make a list on your smart phone, or just look up anything on the internet? The reason to bother is because if it isn't in your mind then you don't know it, and reading it off your phone or the internet means you still don't know it. You're just a parrot, not a thinking, reasoning, knowing person.

    This is why high school and even college graduates often can barely read, or do simple math, and know nothing at all about history.

    Yes, pictures help, which is why MacDonald's puts pictures on their registers now. Pictures help when people are so uneducated, so untrained, so lacking in basic thinking skills that they need pictures to do things they should have been able to do easily as children.

    Yers, pictures help, which is why so many watch YouTube instead of reading. Pictures help. They help keep people from training their minds, from being educated, from real thinking at all.

  22. I don't get it. I had an exam last week and for the answers I put down a cat, fish, house, tree, buss, boat, and person. This stuff doesn't work because I just got an F on my math test!!!

  23. I always use this technique when want to keep informaiton in my mind and I read a book about it 🙂 great!

  24. being able to draw is entirely different to a genuine artist.

  25. That is how the original alphabet was formed. Drawings of things in the world that represented an abstract set of ideas associated with the nature of the objects. It is a useful way to try to start understanding something that is foreign to you (as is the case for all forms of art), but language has developed to the current point for the sake of articulating more precise meaning from our experiences in life. Language itself is a form of mythology in that way. A set of condensed abstractions that are refined over long periods of time for the sake of understanding the fundamental basis and processes of reality. We utter words that we feel correctly match the impulses that compel us to speech and then we seek to define the words with other utterances that are more familiar and clear to us through experience. A picture or an action can help convey the things that are unspeakably unknown to us, and once the image exists an analysis can take place to make the unknown known.

  26. YouTube- 16m video, me- naw 8m video at 2x speed. I got things to do.

  27. I dont mean any offense, but just because you can copy lines off a paper, doesn't make you an artist. but it's a fun little project.
    before people get mad. Why I say this is because it takes away from actual artists who have spent most of their lives dedicated to it.

  28. فالمغرب عندنا كنسميو هادشي قلة ما يدار

  29. Its true drawing makes us remember more but d issue is if m studying for 10hrs a day how to find time for this. These things takes time. I follow a different path, just making pictures in my mind nd try making a relationship wd thm👀

  30. La traducción con subtitulo, poniéndola es muy buena, tremendo, habilidades de nuestra mente que no conocíamos, y que harán mas fácil nuestra vida,- imaginación – , añadirle algo a casi todo y se nota.

  31. Thanks for your ted talk, it's very helpful to me to get more english vocabs stuck in my mind.

  32. This is great! I did not fully realize the value of drawings. I will definitely continue to draw when teaching!

  33. 14:58 / Oh come on , you don't need to draw them again just write their names .

  34. So we all thought the ancient writings were primitive and that we are now sophisticated with our alphabet, but in reality the ancient people were much smarter than us, and knew little symbols allowed for communication in writing but also in memorization.

  35. I actually knew all of this because of Biology 😂 I can't remember anything if I don't do a drawing or a graphic

  36. Oh!👀pen🚀
    P o w e r💥
    Amazing 🙏work🌈
    🐰Thank you🎵Good day

  37. I can't wait to begin doing this activity for the residents I work with.

  38. I remembered only 4 pictures and even not in the right places :/

  39. … wäre vielleicht interessant, wenn man ein Wort verstehen würde!
    Deutscher Titel, deutsche Beschreibung, englisches Video – was soll das???

  40. To learn the French word for 'donner' to give, I photoshopped Donna Summer giving Donna Summer a donner Kebab, worked a treat.

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