Our physical therapy continuing education has a great deal of comprehensive continuing education material in each course. In my last blog, Three-Steps to Master New Physical Therapy and Occupational Therapy Skills with Online Continuing Education. I described three steps to use when engaging in online learning. How about learning a technique to build a mental framework to retain more of that comprehensive information and recall it faster?

Beyond just the use of the imagery, animations, and film in our physical therapy online continuing education courses, try this technique to improve your memory and increase your retention of the material.
The ancient Greeks used this technique.

I will use information from our new stroke course, Stroke – Understanding Etiology and Developing Evidence-Based Pathways to Achieve Functional Outcomes to demonstrate this memory technique. Let’s get started!

In five hours, take an imaginary walk through your home to these three locations and see if you can identify the type of ischemic stroke from that location and associated imagery.

The three basic types of strokes

  1. Build a memory framework. Close your eyes and imagine your house or where you live. Visualize your home and how it looks and feels inside. We are going to use this comfortable and familiar space to build our “memory framework.” At this point, this has NOTHING to do with learning about stroke rehab.
  2. OK, Let’s learn about the three types of strokes. Close your eyes, visualize your house’s mailbox, open the mailbox, pull out a pipe, look in the pipe, and see that it is blocked. The clogged pipe represents a thrombotic stroke. This type of stroke is where you have a clot or a piece of debris that blocks the blood’s blood flow, and typically this is occurring because of bad vessels. For example, many plaque buildups from atherosclerosis or think about your long-term diabetics where their vessels collapse onto each other block the blood flow. Those tend to be what we see mostly from a thrombotic standpoint. We have associated the thrombotic stroke with the blocked pipe in the mailbox. A thrombotic stroke is an ischemic stroke.
  3. Move into your house and find that second location with your home. Let’s say that it is a table by your front door. On that table, image a piece of broken cement, like the type you might see at a construction site, just a part of broken cement. It may look like a solid rock or just a bit of cement debris. Embolic strokes occur when you have an amount of debris dislodged from another part of the body and then moves through the bloodstream up to the brain and blocks a vessel there. Typically, this occurs because of issues related to the heart. We have associated the piece of cement debris with the am embolic stroke. Embolic strokes are ischemic strokes.
  4. Imagine you enter the kitchen, and the faucet is running and overflowing onto the floor. The other type of big classification of stroke is a hemorrhagic stroke, and this is indicative of any tear in a vessel that causes a rupture and results in bleeding into the brain. The issue here is that when blood comes in contact with brain tissue, there is immediate death of those cells. We have associated the bleeding of an artery in the brain with the overflowing faucet in the kitchen.
Three types of ischemic strokes

Rehearse, using your imagination, go to the three areas of your house, and at each location, visualize the item at that location. It takes work, but it’s a mnemonic strategy to enhance your ability to learn, recall, and apply information. We can add more info about stroke by adding more images from your house and associating it with stroke rehabilitation information.

Don’t believe that this mnemonics strategy can work? In five hours, take an imaginary walk through your home to these three locations and see if you can identify the type of ischemic stroke from that location and associated mental imagery.

Do you want to learn more about stroke rehabilitation? Check out our new stroke courses for physical therapy online continuing education and occupational therapy continuing education.