Learning Portfolio 3

Question 2: Chunking

Chunking or chunks is a unit of information in short-term memory. Chunking allows you to remember big information by formatting the information into chunks so it will be easily remembered though there is a limit on how much your short term memory can process the amounts of chunks, the maximum is four, plus or minus one. For example, most people can remember a list of five words in 30 seconds but only a few can remember 10 words in 30 seconds. By turning the 10 words into chunks, two groups of three words, and one group of four words, the remembrance is essentially equivalent to the single list of five words (Lidwell, Holden, Butler, 2003).

Another example to present a good presentation you would need to have a pace for the presentation, so the audience can process the information. In conditions where the audience has to read the on-screen text and where their switching attention back and forth on screen text and pictorial elements, under a time limit, these processes may result in a high cognitive load. Whereas if it was a learner-paced presentation, the audience can review the material at their own pace and process it more clearly. So in a timed presentation, it’s good to put the information in small chunks easily to remember and process, going at a reasonable pace so the audience can process the information (Sweller, Ayres, Kalyuga, 2011).

Chunking information is often a general technique to simplify designs/loads. Only chunk information when necessary, to recall and retain information, or when information is used for problem-solving and don’t chunk information that is to be scanned or searched. (Lidwell, Holden, Butler, 2003).

Lidwell, W., Holden, K., & Butler, J. (2003). Chunking. In Universal Principles of Design (pp.  40-41). Massachusetts: Rockport.

Sweller, J., Ayres, P. L., Kalyuga, S., & Ebook Library. (2011). Cognitive load theory (1st ed.). New York: Springer.

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