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How Do I Chunk Content to Increase Learning?

Dividing your course content into manageable chunks helps students learn more effectively (Ambrose et al., 2013; Felder & Brent, 2016). It can also help you be more nimble if you need to make sudden changes to your course design. On this page, we will provide some guidance on how you can chunk content so students can effectively process your course concepts and learn more.


Chunk, Chunk It Up

First chunk out foundational concepts, then chunk out more complex concepts. For example, in Geology students must be able to characterize different types of magmas before learning to identify volcanic eruptions, because the magma characteristics dictate the type of eruption. If students learn about magmas first and fully, they will be much more successful at using that knowledge to identify eruptions. In general, you can encourage students to work on their comprehension of foundational concepts though activities such as focused reading notes or a background knowledge probe.  

Create a cycle of learning that introduces chunks of knowledge and gives students opportunities to engage actively with the chunks. You might create a cycle that requires students to encounter new ideas (lecture, video, or readings), and then practice engaging with those ideas (through low-stakes assignments, group interaction, or online discussions) in a “Learn, Explore, Do” format (Stachowiak, 2020). To “Learn” about linear regression, students encounter the topic using things such as guided notes and videos. For the “Explore” phase, they visit a specific website, find a linear graph, make a dataset to match it, post their graphs in an online discussion board, and other students apply statistical concepts to the examples. For the “Do” phase, students complete problem sets on their own.

Give Students Time to Think and Process

For complex topics, encourage students to explore a problem before they receive instruction. Before you introduce a new topic, ask students to guess at what the topic might include. Ask them to review the headings throughout a chapter without reading the text. What is this chapter about? How might it relate to what they already know? This helps them apply their prior knowledge and structures of understanding, which can reduce cognitive load and allow them to process new information more efficiently (Lizarov, 2019).

Slow down and space out more complex material. Spend less time explaining easier concepts (or provide resources for learning outside of class such as videos, handouts, or brief texts), and have students spend more time working actively on harder concepts (Felder & Brent, 2016). Instead of using one slide to explain something complicated, show a process over several slides, images, or, better yet, activities. For example, this slide on mitosis is full of important information but is overwhelming to process. Instead, divide this into multiple slides that allow you to point out key changes from one phase to the next.

Check Yourself

Actively assess whether your chunks are the right size. If it takes students more than a few minutes to complete a new formula, consider breaking the formula into smaller parts (Felder & Brent, 2016). Also, be sure to use regular formative assessment strategies such as the Critical Incident Questionnaire or the “muddiest point activity” (“What was the muddiest point in this week’s course?”) to see if students are keeping pace with your delivery of content.

Keep your videos short. Some sources say lecture videos for classes should be no longer than 6 minutes, some say no longer than 15 minutes (Burch; Lovell & Ostendorf, 2020). The precise length should depend on the complexity of the topic and what you want students to be able to do with the information. But if you’re looking for a broad recommendation, keep them around 10 minutes long.

Please contact the CTL with any questions or for more details about the examples shared at [email protected].



Ambrose, S. A. (2010). How learning works: Seven research-based principles for smart teaching. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.

Barkley, E. F. (2013). Student engagement techniques: A handbook for college faculty. San Francisco, Calif: Jossey-Bass.v

Burch, B. (n.d.). Video length in online courses: What the research says. Quality matters.

Felder, R. M., Brent, R., & Oakley, B. A. (2016). Teaching and learning STEM: A practical guide. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.

Lizarov, A. (2019, September 10). The role of chunking and cognitive load theory in the post-industrial world. EdLab, Teachers College Columbia University.

Lovell, K. and Ostendorf, A. (2020, March 27). What is chunking and why is it important? Miami University. https://www.

Malamed, C. Chunking information for instructional design. Retrieved from

Stachiowiak, B. (2020, July 2). Designing for the uncertain fall . Teaching in Higher Ed. Retrieved from

Image by Ketut Subiyanto from Pexels.

How does chunking help working memory?

. 2019 Jan;45(1):37-55.

doi: 10.1037/xlm0000578.

Epub 2018 Apr 26.

Mirko Thalmann 
, Alessandra S Souza 
, Klaus Oberauer 



  • 1 Department of Psychology, Cognitive Psychology Unit, University of Zurich.
  • PMID:


  • DOI:


Free article

Mirko Thalmann et al.

J Exp Psychol Learn Mem Cogn.

2019 Jan.

Free article

. 2019 Jan;45(1):37-55.

doi: 10.1037/xlm0000578.

Epub 2018 Apr 26.


Mirko Thalmann 
, Alessandra S Souza 
, Klaus Oberauer 


  • 1 Department of Psychology, Cognitive Psychology Unit, University of Zurich.
  • PMID:


  • DOI:



Chunking is the recoding of smaller units of information into larger, familiar units. Chunking is often assumed to help bypassing the limited capacity of working memory (WM). We investigate how chunks are used in WM tasks, addressing three questions: (a) Does chunking reduce the load on WM? Across four experiments chunking benefits were found not only for recall of the chunked but also of other not-chunked information concurrently held in WM, supporting the assumption that chunking reduces load. (b) Is the chunking benefit independent of chunk size? The chunking benefit was independent of chunk size only if the chunks were composed of unique elements, so that each chunk could be replaced by its first element (Experiment 1), but not when several chunks consisted of overlapping sets of elements, disabling this replacement strategy (Experiments 2 and 3). The chunk-size effect is not due to differences in rehearsal duration as it persisted when participants were required to perform articulatory suppression (Experiment 3). Hence, WM capacity is not limited to a fixed number of chunks regardless of their size. (c) Does the chunking benefit depend on the serial position of the chunk? Chunks in early list positions improved recall of other, not-chunked material, but chunks at the end of the list did not. We conclude that a chunk reduces the load on WM via retrieval of a compact chunk representation from long-term memory that replaces the representations of individual elements of the chunk. This frees up capacity for subsequently encoded material. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2018 APA, all rights reserved).

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MeSH terms

Grant support

  • Swiss National Science Foundation

Manual #29: ATTRACTIVE SECRET — Re-Self

Last year, I returned from Turkey, where I did several silent retreats in a row and published a manual on Adjusting Personal Tone here. This tool, at one time, became for me what is called game changing. As soon as I learned to twist the amplitude of my tonality, how relations with people in different planes changed before my eyes.

Now I’m watching synchronous — Turkey, several silence retreats in the same place and at the same time — and the only thing that is spinning on my fingers is again a story about relationships, this time about attractiveness secret .

We were deceived when they said that attractiveness is about appearance. Appearances in this formula from the strength of a maximum of 30%. Yes, that’s a lot too. And at the same time, it is not enough to reach a “controlling stake”. Yet the real secret of attractiveness lies elsewhere. And it, by the way, is not so difficult to master and bring into your life. Today I will try to disassemble this mechanism. And show you which settings should be tweaked to significantly increase your attractiveness in the eyes of other people.

But I’ll make a reservation right away — there is one serious problem.

The secret of attractiveness is very common . Right down to the teeth. And it sounds like this:

We like those who like us.

Show a sincere interest in another person — and if not immediately, but with a slight delay in digesting stereotypes and expectations, he will like you, and really like you. He will consider you attractive. There are exceptions to this rule. This is 10% of a frankly repulsive appearance or a disproportionately large size of cockroaches in the head of a person opposite. But all this is rather a museum rarity. In the vast majority of cases, you will be considered pleasant and even attractive if you sincerely consider the person in front of you pleasant and even attractive. And appearance will not play any serious role.


You can leave.

Secret revealed.


But for those who still understand that “if you know, but don’t do it, then you don’t know” or “if you do it, but it doesn’t work out, then there are blind spots in your knowledge”, I will continue .

Yes, indeed, we are liked by those who sincerely like us .

«When you really like the other person» is both a secret and an answer. Without exaggeration.

But in the presence of hunger or unresolved internal conflicts, people cannot be fully interested in other people . Even if he wants to. He can comprehend this on an intellectual level “one must look for the good in a person”, he can try to introduce this principle mechanically “yes, he is not a star, but he is kind”, but the opening of the heart does not occur. And it feels good from the outside.

In the presence of internal hunger, a person cannot simply feel this very “like” in relation to another without a long list of conditions. And in case of failures in relations with himself, he is primarily occupied with his person and with an analysis of how other people treat him and evaluate him.

And the Gordian knot in this bundle is that people do not notice this about themselves . His reactions seem to him not just obvious or normal, they seem to him justified.

He does not notice that he overestimates other people, does not realize that he is too preoccupied with himself, does not understand that he is driven by fear of rejection, claims of grandiosity or an intention to avoid. The other person is for him a function , an object in the world of his requests, and not a separate subject, which he should be. But this is all a purely shadow material of the psyche, which can be tracked only by the traces that it leaves in life.

Therefore, the attractiveness formula becomes more complicated:

Solve your problems establish contact with yourself this will allow you to be sincerely interested in and be carried away by others they will begin to be interested in you and consider you quite an attractive person.

With any appearance, with character flaws (which everyone has!), Without ideality. You will become much more attractive on your own.

All this — work with appearance and visual image, adjustment of character and internal settings, personal improvement — is happening with people, sometimes because of people, not for to be with people.

I’ll tell you more, any person needs an imperfect friend, because it allows him to accept imperfections in himself, to come to terms with himself. And from this point it is already much more pleasant to solve your plugs, and sometimes acceptance is the only way at all.


At this point I will offer you a hypothesis. Not sure if this is the case, but look at your relationship dynamics (of various kinds) from this angle:

… … … … … …

Free fragment ended. Subscribe to receive the full version of the manual

The offer is valid for the next 3 days: October 22, 23 and 24.

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Don’t even think about changing — Hollies, the

Don’t even think about changing

Don’t even think about changing

When people put you down,
It’s cause they’re jealous of you.
They shouldn’t make you frown,
You know as well as I do.

It’s cause I love you
For the things you do for me.
One day they’ll realize
And wish that they were me.

One thing I know for sure,
We both get satisfaction.
That’s why they’re mad at us,
‘Cause they ain’t got what we got.

It’s cause I’m happy
For the things you do for me.
One day they’ll realize
And wish that they were me.

Don’t even think about changing,
You’ve got a life of your own.

Why don’t they understand
Our feelings are sincere?
One day they’ll be surprised,
Because we are so near

To all the things they tried
To be, when they were young.
That’s why they don’t agree,
And take it out on us.

When people put you down,
The reason is that they envy you.
No one is allowed to darken your face,
You know this as well as I do.

And I love you
For what you do for me.
One day everyone will understand this
And they will regret that they are not me.

One thing I know for sure,
We both have fun —
That’s why everyone is mad at us,
Because they don’t have what we have.

And I’m happy
What you do for me.
One day everyone will understand this
And they will regret that they are not me.

Don’t even think about changing —
You have your own life.

Why does no one understand,
That our feelings are sincere?
One day everyone will be surprised,
That we are so close

Everything they tried to achieve
When they were young.
That’s why they don’t agree
And present all this to us.

The author of the translation is cymbal
The author’s page

Like the translation?

Don’t Even Think About Changing Lyrics

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For certain because

Hollies, the

Tracklist (12)

  • What’s wrong with the way I live?
  • Pay you back with interest
  • Tell me to my face
  • Clown
  • Suspicious look in your eyes
  • It’s you
  • High classified
  • Peculiar situation
  • What went wrong?
  • Crusader
  • Don’t even think about changing
  • Stop! Stop! Stop!

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