The connection between the two papers we read for this week was much more clear than the week before. In Chi and Feltovich’s paper, “Categorization and Representation of Physics Problems by Experts and Novices”, they conducted four studies to determine differences in chunking and problem solving. At the end of all four studies, they found that there were significant differences in the way experts and novices approached problem solving. Experts appeared to know more in general about a topic in addition to understanding how to apply that knowledge, and novices appeared to lack the ability to take general applications and use them in other situations. In Chase and Simon’s paper, “Perception in Chess”, they performed a study to determine differences between novice and master chess players. In the end they determined that the master chess players are better at “chunking” than novices players.
The two papers focused on potential differences in problem solving strategies between expert/master and novice thinkers. The big difference between master and novice thinking that I noticed and thought was highlighted was “chunking”. Experts are able to more quickly form connections and determine relationships between a set of objects, ideas, etc. This chunking is an invaluable memory tool. It allows a person to remember larger quantities of information in less time and with less room for error. Novice thinkers do not “chunk” as well as expert thinkers do. Chi and Feltovich discuss the fact that cumulative results of the expert thinkers highlighted a few specific themes/categories, but the novice thinkers had answers that were all of over the board (one specific theme/category was highlighted and all the rest were of comparable frequency).
After reading papers, I have the tendency to immediately determine the applicability of the information. With the two papers we read for class this week, I’m left with the question of why these readings are significant to me as a science educator and how I can apply them to my future classroom. How can I work to encourage effective chunking and schemas in my students? What does it look like to try to understand where my students are on the expert/novice thinking spectrum? Those are just a few of the questions I was mulling over after reading the two papers.