Chunking: A proven way to improve learning

Alice Crady
7 min readJul 31, 2017

Have you ever felt frustrated when you were trying to learn something new? If so, you’re probably just processing information the same way you were taught in schools: memorize for the test.

If you’ve ever considered yourself to be math or science phobic, don’t give up hope. Recent neuroscience discoveries have revealed better ways to optimize your brains natural thinking and problem-solving patterns.

What is Chunking?

Chunking is a form of pattern recognition. Think of it like a rhythm in your mind. It’s how we process information for efficient future use. We divide or parse long sequences into “chunks.”

Chunking is how we expand the capacity of our working memory. It’s a cognitive compression mechanism that allows us to process complex information through simplification.

How to use Chunking

Remember the last time you typed in someone’s phone number? There are ten digits, and you can’t input them all at once. You have to type out one. number. at. a. time. Then you can type out little bursts of three-digit chunks. That’s information chunking.

Steve Jobs once said, “Creativity is just connecting things.”

When you break it down, chunking is just about building on your understanding to get to the next level. First you understand how one system works and then you connect the dots.

In a nutshell, here’s how the process happens:

1. Search for the chunks

2. Notice and memorize the chunks

3. Use chunks we’ve already built up

When to use Chunking

Any time you’re learning a skill or concept, chunking comes into play. It’s a type of meta-learning that allows you to move forward one step at a time. First you master one chunk of information or skill until it becomes automated. There’s little brain energy needed to access and use this chunk. Then you can move onto the next one.

Here are a few more examples when this meta-learning has clear application:

· Learning math or science

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Alice Crady

🦋 I inspire transformation journeys -- with personal insights, research, and empathetic advice ❤️🕯 Covering #spirituality #self #relationships