Differences in Learning among individuals


Differencesin Learning among individuals

Differencein Learning

Individuallearning differs on various ways based on personality, intelligenceand memory as well as on other physical and psychological dimensions.In this context, focus is on individual differences in learning andhow the memory process differs from one individual to another. Eachindividual is unique and have different cognitive development,ability, social maturity, aspiration, learning styles and needs.Individuals differ in memory capacity some individuals haveattention memory, others short-term memory whiles others havelong-term store capacity. Individuals’ capacity to retrieve, encodeand remember particular information stored in the memory on based onone’s kevel of cognitive capacity. Memory variation and ability tocognitively process information varies from one person to the otherespecially in the ability to process and recall certain information.However, other factors such as age, intelligence, motivation,demographic, gender and culture affects how different people recallinformation. The bottom line is that there are variations incognitive process among individuals and this subsequently affectsability to learn and recall information. This essay looks into howindividual learning capacity varies especially in aspects such aslanguage learning or recalling information from a social gathering.

Memoryin the context of psychology refers to the process through whichinformation isreceived,stored and retrieved from the human brain. Receivinginformation involves aspecialprocess called encoding that involvesputting the information in the correct format for storage.Information stored can be retrieved for use in decision making or anyother purpose for which it was intended for.

Learningcontext of interest: studying for an exam

Oneof the learning contexts that will be focused on in this case isstudying for the exam. Toassess the extent of progress of one’s academic level,exams are administered to test what a student can remember from thememory. Often, students prepare for an exam by revising for that examand to some extent cram so that it is easier to remember what wastaught.However, many a times, students forget what they weretaughtduring exam learning program. Thatis a big challenge, and it shows some weakness on the student’smemory ability since we wait until the exams are close so that onecan start start to revise (Ormrod, &amp Davis, 2004).

Typesof memory and learning involved while studying for an exam

Thereare various types of memory involved while studying for an exam.These memories range from short-term, long-term, procedural andworking memory. However, all information encoded into our brain isstoredfor use in the future in the memory system. Some of this informationis likely to be used within a short period while another type ofinformation may take ages before it is used. Some information mayeven never be used in our lifetime once it isencodedin our brains. Therefore, the human brain has a differentorganization of memory, and it is apparently determined by theexpected duration of the information stored (Hollingshead, 2010).

Inthe context of studying for an exam, there are two types of memoryused to store information. The first type of memory is called theshort-term memory which in some cases it is referred to as workingmemory. This is the kind of memory that store temporary informationfor either immediate use or information awaiting transfer to theother memory (long-term memory). This memory can becomparedto the random access memory (RAM) in a computer. While studying foran exam, the short term memory maintains information temporary in thebrain and as individuals read the same concepts in the studymaterials, information stored in the short-term memory becomes moreprocedural and thus reaches the long-term memory. The underlyingaspect is that as learners rehearse more with exam materials theinformation becomes easier to ‘encode and decode’ as it registersin the long-term memory.

Thelong-termmemory is the other type of memory involved in studying for an examand is also known as the procedural memory. This is the brain memorysystem that encodes, sore and also retrieves information. Implicit,explicit and autobiography memory are some of the types of long-termmemory (Gordon, 2007). As individuals rehearse more with learningmaterials the information becomes easier to decode from the memorythis is as a result of repeated or rehearsed reading of the exammaterials.

Problemsassociated with memory while studying for an exam

Memoryfaces abigproblem in term of forgetting. For instance, the human brain canstore data equivalent of hundreds of supercomputers but what isastonishing is the fact that we can rarely remember. Human memorydoes not hold information for a long time and continue to store freshinformation daily, hence, easily forgetful. Activating the schematarequires a clue to the information so that a rough idea of what hadtranspired can bedrawnI the mind of an individual (Chun, &amp Jiang, 2008).

Peer-reviewedresearch articles

Ina study conducted by Paul, Peterman and Lepach (2013) found thatthere is a significant difference in memory and learning betweengenders. Paul, Peterman and Lepach (2013) study used an experimentalapproach to study memory variation between male and females ofvarying ages and found that women had better memory than men despiteage difference. A study by Chiao (2009) found significant variationin culture and memory some cultures focus more on contextual detailsand hence more memory. Chiao (2009) used a meta-analytic study onvarious studies conducted on memory and culture and found thatcultural variation affects memory and learning among individuals.Brickman and Stern (2009) also found significant influence of age andmemory as one age progresses one’s memory capacity deteriorates.Brickman and Stern (2009) used a meta-analysis study on past studiesto assess the effect of aging on one’s memory. These studiescontribute insightful details in the following case study.


Peopleunderstand, learn and remember things differently. In this case, acase study is discussed that involved two students reading the samepassage twice. However, the two students’ age and gender variedone student was male black primary school student while the other wasa white female high school student. The passage was a story in anewspaper extract. After reading the passage, the two students wereasked to write down on paper what they could remember from thepassage extract. The two students wrote two different accounts ofwhat was read in the passage. Moreover, the sequence of events, asread in the passage, was different from what the student had written.The students also had a different narrative from each other. In thiscase, the white female high school student wrote a more comprehensivenarrative of the passage compared to the primary school black malestudent.

Memoryand learning process is affected by many factors includingintelligence, social background, and age (Brickman and Stern, 2009:Pauls, Peterman and Lepach, 2013). Age, intelligence and socialbackground explains the difference in memory between the white highschool female and the black student. In this context, age, gender andculture could have significantly affected the memory capacity of thetwo students (Chiao, 2009). Young people arenot occupiedby so much in their mind and remember quite easily.


Individualdifferences in learning vary from one person to the other based ondifferences in memory capacity. Past and current studies indicatesthat individuals memory is affected by various factors suchintelligence, age, culture, gender and level of motivation amongother factors. The analysis made by this study found that learningvaries from one person to the other based on level of memoryshort-term or long-term. Individuals’ memory and ability to recallinformation is subject to various factors that in turn affect theencoding and decoding of information. Increased age is attributed tolow memory among adults some cultural aspects influence one’smemory while women tend to have more memory than men.


ChiaoJ.Y. (2009). Cultural influences on memory. Department of Psychology,Progress in Brain Research, Vol. 178. Brandeis University, Waltham,MA, USA

Chun,M. M., &amp Jiang, Y. (2008).Contextualcueing: Implicit learning and memory of visual context guides spatialattention.Cognitivepsychology,36(1),28-71.

Brickmanand Stern (2009). Aging and Memory in Humans. New York.Encyclopedia of Neuroscience (2009),vol. 1, pp. 175-180

Gordon,B. (2007). Preservedlearning of novel information in amnesia: Evidence for multiplememory systems.Brainand cognition,7(3),257-282.

Hollingshead,A. B. (2010). Communication,learning, and retrieval in transactive memory systems.Journalof experimental social psychology,34(5),423-442.

Pauls,Peterman and Lepach (2013). Gender differences episodic memory andvisual working memory including the effects og age.201321(7):857-74. Accessed athttp://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23383629