Chunking: "the fundamental core of learning and the development of expertise"

Practice really does make perfect


Fri, Oct 3rd, 2014 11:00 by capnasty NEWS

On Nautilus, Barbara Oakley argues that instead of using an "understanding-centred" approach to teaching math and sciences, teachers should use the system the brain works best with: practice and repetition. Using these methods allows the brain to build a chunk, a single thought capable of storing a significant amount of information that can be retrieved from long-term memory really fast.

Chunking was originally conceptualized in the groundbreaking work of Herbert Simon in his analysis of chess—chunks were envisioned as the varying neural counterparts of different chess patterns. Gradually, neuroscientists came to realize that experts such as chess grand masters are experts because they have stored thousands of chunks of knowledge about their area of expertise in their long-term memory. Chess masters, for example, can recall tens of thousands of different chess patterns. Whatever the discipline, experts can call up to consciousness one or several of these well-knit-together, chunked neural subroutines to analyze and react to a new learning situation. This level of true understanding, and ability to use that understanding in new situations, comes only with the kind of rigor and familiarity that repetition, memorization, and practice can foster.



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