Mastery is the ability to perform at a high level in a given area, consistently. even under changing conditions or when facing novel challenges. Experts “make it look easy.” But how exactly do they manage this, given that expertise isn’t about doing the same exact thing over and over again mechanically? The secret lies in what cognitive science calls “chunking”—the building of strong and flexible neural patterns attuned to specific kinds of challenges.
(stimulating music) … - One of the most important aspects of learning … and of modern pedagogy is one of the most neglected aspects, … and that is the idea of chunking. … When you're learning something new, … you want to create a well-practiced neural pattern … that you can easily draw to mind when you need it, … and chunking was first thought of … or explored by Nobel Prize winner Simon who found … that if you're a chess master, … that the higher your ranking in chess, … the more patterns of chess you had memorized, … so you could access more and more patterns of chess. … Research began developing … and what they found was that the better your expertise … at anything, the more solid neural patterns you have, … so for example, if you are trying to learn to back up a car, … when you first begin, it's crazy, … you're looking all around, … do you look in this mirror … or this mirror, or do you look behind you, what do you do? … It's this crazy set of information, … but after you've practiced a while, …
This course includes videos from:
Nick Offerman, writer, woodworker, and actor (Parks and Rec)
Shane Snow, science and business journalist and the cofounder of Contently
Barbara Oakley, professor of engineering at Oakland University in Rochester, MI
John Seely Brown, former director of Xerox PARC and current USC advisor
Jamie Wheal, leading expert on the neurophysiology of human performance, Flow Genome Project
Note: This course was produced by Big Think. We are pleased to host this content in our library.