Chunking refers to an approach for making more efficient use of short-term memory by grouping information. It 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.
Chunking is a strategy used to reduce the cognitive load as the learner processes information. The learner groups content into small manageable units making the information easier to process. Essentially, it helps in the learning process by breaking long strings of information into bit size chunks that are easier to remember.
Chunking is used most commonly to organize or classify large amounts of information, even when there are no obvious patterns. Uses of it as a memory device can be seen in the way information is grouped in our daily life. For example, phone numbers are not typically seen or remembered as a long string of numbers like 8605554589, but rather 860-555-4589. Birthdates are typically not recalled by 11261995, but rather 11/26/1995. The breaking down of the numbers into chunks makes the number easier to remember.
Letters can also be broken down into chunks helping to remember easier. For example, “XLETHIPSOXWHYMIX” is difficult to remember as a long sting of letters, however if the letters are grouped or chunked, remembering them is easier. The breaking down of the letters into more “logical” chunks also makes it easier to remember.
X LET HIP SOX WHY MIX
Chunking can also work for lists. For example, a shopping list can be segmented into categories.
|Un-chunked List||Chunked List|
|Frozen foodsIce cream
Fruits and Vegetables
- Facilitates comprehension and retrieval of information
- Group information into manageable units
- Break larger amounts of information into smaller units