Understanding cannot be transmitted; the connections have to be made by the learner. Some ways of doing this are outlined and illustrated. Their limitations and their consequences are described.
Constructing a Mental Representation
Analogies can be useful when it comes to thinking about how the mind works. At one time, it was common to draw parallels with a telephone exchange. More recently, the computer has provided a popular analogy and a source of terminology. For instance, the organization of the mind is often referred to as its architecture (Figure 4.1). Paralleling the RAM (Random Access Memory) of a computer is the concept of working memory, where processing can take place. Information can be stored for long periods on the computer’s hard disk, and this is paralleled by the long-term store. Neither the computer nor the mind can process incoming information unless it is in a form which suits its way of working. The encoder ‘translates’ information into a form the mind can operate on (Bruer, 1994; Cohn et al., 1995).