A chunk is a meaning unit of information, such as a group of character or number (Gerrig and Zimbardo, 2010, p. 202). Thus, the process of creating a chunk on the basis of similarity (SpringReference, 2013). Acorrding to George A. Miller (Malamed, no date), he stated that working memory is limited in gaining new knowledge. Morever, cognitive researchers showed that the effectiveness of woking memory is based on the types of information which required to process and the person’s ability of creating chunk (Malamed, no date). Therefore, once the space of working memory was exhausted, incapbility of obtain new items would be occured. In this writings, we will use two pieces of evidenece to support chunking is an operative method on learning.
Firstly, according to Nagel ( How ‘Chunking’ speeds up your language learning, no date), chunking was useful when people were acquiring new language. Furthermore, he explained this method by using of learning Arabic language. For example, “mish ma3aya filus kifaya” means “I don’t have enough money”. In fact, we don’t know the meaning of this sentence. However, we can refer those words in terms of chunk and after a several times of repetition over times, we will get use to this sentence and retrieve it out efficiently when faced with certain kind of situation. Therefore, chunking can deal with the difficulties of learning new language.
Then, Steven (1981) showed that transformed verbal into meaningful units improved students’ reading ability in high school student. He provided students with two form of reading test, one was presented with the original form and the other one was chunked by drawing slash line between units. The students were required to answer the questions from these two articles. Consequently, students showed a greater marks on answering the “chunked” article rather than the original passage.
Although the above evidences showed the efficiency of chunking, there are still some limitations exist. Firstly, the subjects in Stevens’ study just focused on high school student. In other words, it can not provided a convincing result due to narrow size of participants. Moreover, the participants in Stevens’ study were males. Thus, it didn’t provide any consideration of females’ students. Lastly, learning is a wide field which is not just focus on the part of language acquisition. Therefore, chunking might not suitable in other kinds of learning, such as mathematics.
Gerrig, R.J. and Zimbardo, P.G. (2010). Psychology and Life (19th ed.). United States of America: Pearson Education
Malamed, C. (no date). Chunking Information for Instructional Design. Retrieved 5 October 2013, from http://theelearningcoach.com/elearning_design/chunking-information/
Nagel, D. (no date). How ‘Chunking’ speeds up your language learning. Retrieved 5 October 2013, http://www.mezzoguild.com/2011/09/13/chunking-and-language-learning/
SpringReference (2013). Chunking Mechanisms and Learning. Retrieved 5 October 2013, from http://www.springerreference.com/docs/html/chapterdbid/320485.html
Steven, K.C. (1981). Chunking material as an aid to reading comphrension. Journal of Reading, 25(2): 126-129.