You've hit the nail on the head. This is an incredibly astute post.
When trying how to explain how to accomplish a particular computer based task where I work, someone always gets out a note book and starts to write : Step 1, Step 2 etc. You can bet that when they hit a problem, even a simple one they won't have the first clue what to do. I always try and say "don't memorise what I am doing, try and understand it...."
my seven year old uses Linux in the House and XP (shudder) at school. She moves back and forth between them without comment, because she understands what she is trying to do.