“The most important single factor influencing learning is what the learner already knows. Ascertain this and teach him accordingly.”
(Ausubel, 1968 in Wiliam, 2016)
The memory of a chess master is both astonishing and limited. Masters can take in and remember game situations at a glance; novices remember the positions of just a handful of pieces. Yet masters’ memories are no better than those of novices when chess pieces are placed at random. Simon and Chase (1973) suggest that as a chess player examines a game, they either encounter a known pattern, or they add an unfamiliar pattern to their memory. During a decade of study, experts learn up to 50,000 ‘chunks’: each chunk being the positions of several pieces. Skill in chess is the development of increasingly complicated mental models, or schema, comprising thousands of positions.
Learning – in chess or any other domain – is the addition of…
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