How we learn …

How we learn …

— Doc Eifgrig

Cognitive psychologists have named the way we learn “chunking”.
When you want to internalize and understand a new concept with multiple moving parts you break it into pieces, or “chunks.”

Most research shows we can handle about four or five chunks.

In your head, you juggle these concepts around while you think about a problem. Eventually those chunks fuse into a single idea that you understand. Now you can layer that singular “chunk” with others to form a deeper and more rewarding concept.

Now you can act in a way that feels like you’re not even thinking about it, even though you may be applying a complicated thought process.

Here’s an example that resonates with me. When you’re first learning to drive, you have to run through a checklist to back your car out of the driveway:
• Start the car.
• Put on your seatbelt.
• Check the rearview.
• Put the car in reverse.
• Start slowly.
• Turn the wheel.
And so on.

For your first few times, you think about every one of those steps. You keep the radio off or pause your conversation with your passenger while you focus on the task at hand.

Eventually though, this all becomes one thought to you: The six-step checklist blurs into a single concept: “Pull out of the driveway.” You can perform this multistep task, process multiple sensory inputs, and pilot a 3,000-pound vehicle out onto the road. Even if you’re in an unfamiliar place or in a hurry, it all happens automatically.”

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