Differences Between Memorizing and Learning

Memory and meaningful learning go hand in hand when it comes to studying. In this article, discover the differences between memorizing and learning.
Differences Between Memorizing and Learning

Last update: 22 November, 2019

Although it may not seem like it, it’s important to explain to your children the differences between memorizing and learning. Most young people think that memorizing their class material is enough, since it ensures that they’ll get good grades and consolidate skills. However, this is a serious mistake because this method doesn’t lead to meaningful learning.

In this regard, the teaching method used in many schools is based on accumulating information instead of comprehensive learning. This method is designed for children to memorize content and neglects reasoning and logic.

That’s why most young children memorize classes, since it’s the easiest way to pass exams regardless of whether they really learned the content or not. Teachers design evaluations in a practical way, where the student only has to literally write the content explained in class. Thus, it limits confrontation and critical analysis.

Memorizing and learning

To understand the differences between memorizing and learning, it’s necessary to take into account the importance of both options and remember that they’re both involved in the learning process your children will face at all educational levels. Thus, we should take a look at their characteristics:


This means superficially storing a series of content or data. When you memorize, you don’t need to analyze, understand, or relate the content to other subjects. It’s enough to store information for a short period of time and then write it all down in an exam.

Differences Between Memorizing and Learning

After some time, that information will be forgotten. Therefore, although the students don’t really learn, they probably still get a good grade. Nevertheless, this is the most popular study method children resort to nowadays.

You can say that human memory is like a huge warehouse with a great capacity to accumulate data that allows you to access said information in a simple way.

Two main types of memory work together to help us store information:

  1. Long-term memory is responsible for storing a lot of information for an indefinite period of time, only to be used when necessary. Therefore, it allows you to remember anecdotes, people, names, and numbers, among other things.
  2. Working or short-term memory, however, only stores information for a short period of time because you’ll need it soon. In most cases, this information is later discarded. Therefore, the student is left with a memory void that can be used to store other information.


This process consists of internalizing and reasoning the content a teacher explains. Thus, it ensures that the information will be stored in memory for a long time. Therefore, humans learn through methods such as critical reading and analysis, which favor information understanding.

Thought is another mental process that helps channel all the received information to establish meaningful learning. This allows content to be stored in long-term memory so that you reason before giving an answer.

Differences Between Memorizing and Learning

Differences between memorizing and learning

If you know the differences between memorizing and learning and you explain them to your children, it’ll be easier for them to choose the most convenient method when it comes to processing certain information. We’ll explain these differences to you below:


  • The topics covered in classes aren’t understood.
  • It makes it impossible to relate topics.
  • The information is stored sequentially rather than randomly.
  • The information is forgotten quickly.


  • It makes it easier to understand the topics covered in class.
  • It allows you to understand explained information.
  • You never forget what you learn.
  • It allows you to relate and compare information with other topics.

In conclusion, although we can list many other differences between memorizing and learning, it’s a known fact that one goes hand in hand with the other. But the important thing is for students to work with both to help them not only get good grades, but also learn content that will be of use to them in the future.

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This text is provided for informational purposes only and does not replace consultation with a professional. If in doubt, consult your specialist.