SOL for Memory Enhancement
The SOL System, represented in a deck of cards, has many applications. The 16 Vocational Archetypes represent the skills innate within all of us and essential to our survival and our actualization. The Vocational Archetypes represent "The Hero's Journey", the circular process of venturing in to mystery and discomfort in order to learn and grow. The Life Aspects represent the inherent components that compose each of our lives. The Elements in the Suits represent the 4 essential elements to our survival: Air, Water, Fire, and Earth. and The for major components of ourselves: Mind, Body, Spirit, and Community.
SOL encompasses many things. Yet, while the importance of different learning styles and project based learning is at the forefront of every introduction to SOL... The use of SOL as a mnemonic scaffolding is less frequent.
But, this post: 52 Key Learnings in 52 Weeks, by Tre Wee, does a great job of describing the mnemonic importance of The SOL System. Put very simply, Wee describes memory, life and time as a circle. A circle composed of a sequence of circles (the GIF above illustrates this quite nicely). Wee posits: "If a person retains at least one key memory from each week of a year, might they retain a better memory of their entire year because of the memories associated with each of those key memories?".
This too is the premise of SOL. With a system of 52 cards all of which are associated with a type of person, an object, and an action SOL creates an associative memory system known as a PAO. Technically, a "Person, Action, Object Method of Loci" or "Major System".
If you read Moonwalking With Einstein, by Joshua Foer, you'll become familiar with the the PAO memory technique. The practice of connecting people, objects, and actions is at its core an act of storytelling which contextualizes a memory or concept within a narrative which inherently makes it more memorable and more vivid. It is because of this ingrained bias towards stories that Wee's 52 Key Learnings, the Major System, and SOL's cards all provide a competitive advantage to wrote memorization. "Stories Optimize Learning" was, after all, the original meaning of the SOL acronym for SOL education.
The creation of story. Or rather, the complete contextualization of a concept within a functional, compelling narrative is at the core of all memory. Even for people who aren't aware of these memory techniques, it is context that makes cognition possible.
Take these letters for example. Even though I don't remember the specific association I was given as I was taught the alphabet... I know that I was told a story about that letter and its meaning... I was told "A is for Apple". I was told "A makes the sound you make when the doctor applies a tongue compressor". While the specifics of these mnemonic cues are in the dustbin of my memory, the fact remains that it were narratives involving people, actions, and objects which enabled me to memorize a 26 letter alphabet... and ultimately a vocabulary of approximately 80,000 words (mostly English, but some Spanish, Latin, and French). The same goes for all of us. And it is the potency of this associative system which makes SOL an effective scaffolding for memory enhancement.