Encoding is the mental process of grouping intellectual information by relationships. Survival encoding means to mentally group information that pertains to personal survival; not walking in a busy street, not jumping off high places without a net, being careful around fires and wild animals, etc.
Memory, the prime function of human learning, is brought about by encoding of all information - encoding is considered the first step in the memory process. All information taken in is initially classified by the brain into information clusters (grouped into categories with other similar information) such as edible and inedible items, safe and unsafe activities, types of objects, etc. Information that is considered 'important' enough by the brain eventually moves from short-term memory storage into long-term memory.