Being an Instructional Designer, one of my key skills is effective content chunking. In this blog, I will explain what content chunking is, why it is done, and will share some easy steps for content chunking.
What is content chunking?
Content chunking is a method of presenting information by splitting it into small pieces or “chunks”. A chunk of information is one that is self-contained and can be understood without further explanation. (Source: Chunking)
Why is content chunked?
In eLearning, computer screens and other electronic devices limit the view of long documents. There is a need for concise chunks of information to deliver effective learning in precise time. Chunking is done to:
- Make reading and understanding faster and easier
- Help learners easily assimilate new information
- Help learners form mind maps and improve recall
- Give bite-sized information to learners
- Make learning easy and manageable
How is content chunked?
Chunking is done at two levels.
- Course level chunking results in a course outline, which is done based on the learning objectives of the course.
- Screen level chunking is done to make the screen content easy for learning. This is done by breaking the paragraphs in a screen into simple sentences which are easy to learn and recall.
Steps for content chunking
Chunking can be effective and easy when you follow these simple steps.
Step 1: Chunk based on learning objectives
During course level chunking, you need to determine the proper flow of the content.
- Write the learning objectives for the course
- Chunk the content so that each learning objective is addressed by each lesson of the course
Step 2: Chunk to deliver one learning point/unit per screen
Chunk the lessons into screens, based on the key point that each screen must explain one ‘learning point or unit’.
- A ‘learning point’ or ‘learning unit’ is one chunk of learning that can’t be broken any further
- If the learning points are very small, you can explain more than one ‘learning point’ in a screen, but limit to 3-5 ‘learning points’ per screen.
Step 3: Identify need to know and nice to know information
You must also prioritize the information in the inputs and identify the ‘need to know’ and ‘nice to know’ information in every topic.
- ‘Need to know’ information is essential for the learners to achieve the learning objectives
- ‘Nice to know’ information will help learners deepen their understanding of the concept
- Place ‘need to know’ points on screen, and ‘nice to know’ information can be given in resources
Step 4: Use bullet points, key words, tables, etc.
Chunking at screen level is done to present the information in a way to make learning easy and effective. Screen level chunking can be done in many ways and it usually contains:
- Bulleted lists
- Short subheadings
- Short and crisp sentences
- Short paragraphs (even one-sentence paragraphs)
- Easily scannable text (with key phrase in bold font)
- Images (to support visualization)
Step 5: Miller’s principle linked to chunking
Miller’s law states that on an average our working memory can effectively process only 7 plus or minus 2 points at a time.
- While chunking, limit the number of points that you teach in each screen to not more than 9 (7+2 points)
- There are some exceptions, where you may have more than the suggested number of points, all of which are ‘need to know’
Follow these steps to reduce the cognitive load on your learners and make the eLeanring courses more learner-centric.
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Information security problems are on the rise affecting all organizations. Organizations are losing millions of dollars every year. According to a survey conducted by PwC on data-security breaches, 450k to 850k pounds is the average cost to a large organization of its worst security breach of the year.
But why do you think this is happening? Ponemon Institute, a research firm, in 2013, pointed out that 35% of data breaches have occurred due to human factors, such as employees not handling sensitive information appropriately and lack of awareness.
So, what should be done? Well, the employees need to be trained. There are various areas on which your employees need to be trained, such as:
- Degree of security needed for a particular type of information/data
- Responsibility of users in protecting their organization’s information/data
- Construction of strong passwords
- Consequences of information leakage
- Identification of information to be shared on social media
- Differentiation of confidential and non-sensitive information
For more information on the topics, you can take a look at this presentation.
It is very important to have proper policies in place and conduct awareness training programs, so that employees don’t make costly errors. But the question here is – how to effectively train them?
Well, the online medium is the simplest and most economical and convenient means to complement your other training mediums. The content can be presented using visual aids, scenarios, case studies and videos that can help in reinforcing messages. The courses can be made learner-centric, and they can be presented very effectively using interactivities like click on tabs, rollovers etc. Also, quizzes can be used to assess learners on what they have learnt and help them identify the areas in which they need to improve. Moreover, it is easy to update online training content.
However, designing an online course on information security is not so simple; you need to make sure it is effective enough to bring about a change in the behavior of your employees. Let us see how to build a successful information security training program.
Decide on the Content of the Course: The first thing to do is decide on the content to be included in the online training program. It should cover the security procedures and rules and regulations which must be strictly followed. The main goal of the training program is to provide comprehensive knowledge of your firm’s security practices to your employees.
Ensure the Online Training Material Is Easy to Use: The eLearning material should be easy to understand, so that your employees can analyze and grasp concepts easily. It can be made more interesting by using small quizzes and puzzles and scenarios based on real life situations.
Create Awareness: Your employees should understand the importance of taking up the training. Implement a information-security awareness program with the support of the management. Once the employees are aware of the importance and need for information-security training, they are more likely to attend the training with an open mind and will be receptive to the suggestions shared during the training program.
Acquire Awareness Materials: Collecting additional data from information-security training organizations is a good idea, as these firms are more experienced and can help with the right training content that can be added to the materials that are developed by in-house subject-matter experts.
Track and Report: You need to track the employees’ performance and see that the training is utilized effectively. This can be done using a Learning Management System (LMS). Open-source LMSs like Moodle can be customized in a cost-effective manner as per your requirements.
Proper training goes a long way in securing sensitive information and prevents data leakages which could result in considerable financial loss and the reputation of your organization taking a beating. Hope you find this post informative. Do share your views.
The eLearning industry is stepping into the next level with the help of advanced technologies and fluctuating trends. Moreover,now-a-days curriculumis getting more interactive and the learners are shifting in large numbers to mobile devices. As a consequence, the process of eLearning designing is changing. To suit these trends and changes, HTML5 is being used for the development of online courses.
When designing an eLearning course, we think of different strategies to make the course interesting and engaging. Even after putting all efforts, we get to know that the instructional strategy used is not appropriate, and all our hard work would go in vain.
It is an accepted truth that employees are the valued resources of any organization. Organizational success depends entirely on the performance of the employees. In order to face their competitors, organizations have to ensure efficient employees who are capable of updating themselves in the continuously changing business environment. Now, companies spend lots of money to train and educate their employees. The importance of training and developing the employees’ skills is rapidly growing.
According to a report published by Docebo, eLearning revenues from Europe are likely to touch $ 8.1 billion by 2016.
Small and mid-sized businesses are finding it easy to provide technology-enabled learning to their employees at affordable prices. Moreover, online courses can be taken anywhere, anytime, and this useful feature helps overcome barriers such as availability of time and space.
Instructional design is the most significant aspect of a good eLearning course. Being an instructional designer or a learning technology professional, you need to design the course in such a way that it should assist the learner in applying what he has learnt to his work.
As we know, every organization follows a set of rules and regulations. Employees need to be trained on those rules and regulations to have a basic knowledge of their standards toward the organization and customers. And, they have a clear understanding of what they can do and what they cannot. So, organizations may not be at risk when their employees know about their legal duties.
E-learning is a cost-effective and an easy way to train employees, when compared to the traditional methods of teaching. So, most of the organizationsare using eLearning to fulfill their training needs. The healthcare industry makes extensive use of the online training medium.
Training managers put a lot of effort while rolling out an eLearning project, as it involves many complex tasks.
As an eLearning professional, I often work with many training managers and admire their managerial skills. It involves a lot of work like training needs analysis, collecting content, dealing with Subject-matter Experts (SMEs) and developing the course for the stakeholders and learners.
Every organization needs to use their resources well to meet business goals and enhance productivity. As we know, the pharmaceutical sector is highly regulated and non-compliance to applicable laws and regulatory norms could be costly. So, you have to train your employees about rules, regulations, standards and recommended guidelines to avoid mistakes.