The role of meaning-making in establishing links between new concepts and existing knowledge.
Furst proposes a simplified lifecycle model of a "piece of knowledge" in long-term-memory as:
Based on engram-theory and ideas of neuroplasticity it is proposed that environmental sensations and perceptions interact with, and reshape, neuronal representations that encode memories. Reshaped representations can influence behaviour and thus future memory. page
The term Consolidation describes the biological process of creating new associations. Furst identifies the following three elements that must be active in the brain simultaneously for effective learning:
- the new concept
- the existing knowledge to be associated with the new concept
- meaningful associations between 1 and 2
Initial Consolidation is insufficient, rather retrieval-practice is considered essential to connect concepts into new networks. The more access pathways there are to a concept the more accessible and useful it is in different contexts.
Furst adopts / adapts george-lakoff's definition of usefulness from The Neural Theory of Metaphor pdf / youtube as "we can use the new concept to interact with the environment or to simulate such an interaction"
Meaning can be changed, or reinforced, by the process of reconsolidation during retrieval.