Schema theory states that the brain of an expert is like Velcro. New stuff sticks easily because there are lots of hooks, at least for content within the expert’s domain.
The expert’s brain looks like this (macro photo* of Velcro):
This, then, is what the novice brain looks like.
I wanted to illustrate the difference for the instructional design 101 course I’m developing. Not the highest information density of any visual ever, perhaps, but still a striking way to make the point, I hope. Fortunately, living in an era where photographers are often willing to share their work so that others can benefit, I was able to find the above image of Velcro on Wikipedia under a Creative Commons license that allowed me to use it, without permission but with attribution, and “remix” it like I did in the second picture add long as I share it back under the same license, which is what I’m doing in this post. The growing volume of works available to instructional designers under Creative Commons licenses is staggering and incredibly helpful.
* This image is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 2.0 Generic license by Flickr User Olivepixel. I edited the image to create the single hook version and hereby share it under the same license.