Chunking in Learning
A Strategy to Help you Remember
How do you remember a string of 10 random numbers?
8 6 0 7 2 5 1 8 5 3
The same way you remember a phone number – Chunking.
Chunking is a great way to remember a lengthy strings of information a little easier. Chunking involves taking long strings of information like numbers, letters, words, and grouping them into smaller, more manageable bits of information. For example, with the phone number, you do not need to remember 10 individual numbers, instead you just need to remember three sets of numbers.
Chunking can also be used to help you remember groups of items such as a list, process or event.
What is Chunking?
Chunking refers to an approach for making information easier to process, understand, and remember by grouping information. Chunking breaks up long strings of information into units or chunks. The resulting chunks are easier to commit to memory than a longer uninterrupted string of information.
The chunking process may involve grouping similar or related items. The resulting chunks are easier to recall at a later time because of the connection between the items. For example, if you create a shopping list, you may want to group the frozen items together. This way when you are at the store, you may be easier recall the frozen items.
Why use Chunking Strategy?
Chunking facilitates comprehension as well as the retrieval of information. Chunking reduces the cognitive load as you processes information. It helps in the learning process by breaking long strings of information and grouping them into small manageable units making the information easier to process.
Chunking a process or events is similar to chapters of a book. If books were not divided into chapters, it would be difficult for readers to remember certain points in the story and follow the story from beginning to end. Readers could easily get confused or forget what has happened already because the book was not organized into logical chunks.
Examples of grouping information in chunks:
- vocabulary words by grouping them by parts of speech
- historical events by time periods
- Countries by location
- Artwork or by time periods
- musicians by type of music
Recall and retrieval of the information
Chunking not only helps process of understand information, but it also facilitates easy retrieval of the information. Since you group information and memorize the chunks instead of the individual pieces of information, it is easier to recall. The reason is that the chunks act as cues, allowing for easy recollection of information.