As we know, the human brain has the capability to hold a limited amount of data at a time.
Experimental psychologist George Miller found that “The Magic Number 7, plus or minus 2? Describes the number of ideas, facts, or issues that an average individual can hold in his working memory is 7 + 2. This is called the Rule of 7″.
What is content chunking?
Content chunking is presenting information by splitting it into small chunks or pieces.
Why do we need to chunk the content of an online course?
Proper chunking of content:
- Enables better understanding and retention of information
- Facilitates effective learning
- Helps convey information efficiently
What kind of content strategies should instructional designers follow to design effective courses?
Depending on the eLearning course content, there are many strategies to split the content into chunks. To implement these strategies, you need to:
- Prioritize and classify the content
- Group the content
- Organize the content
1. Prioritize and classify the content
Being an instructional designer, you need to separate wheat from chaff by analyzing the content.
A man asked an artist, “How do you make such a beautiful things from stone?”
He replied, ”Beauty is already hidden there; I just remove the extra stones….”
In the same way, an instructional designer should be able to remove information which is unnecessary, meaningless, unimportant and useless without changing the meaning of the content. Don’t put unnecessary information into your leaner’s brain as its capacity to “assimilate” information is limited.
2. Group the content
Instructional designers need to maintain logical “flow” while grouping the content. We need to divide the eLearning course content into modules, lessons, and then topics. This process is known as course level chunking. It determines the content hierarchy of an eLearning course.
It is advisable to explain only one ‘learning point or unit’ in each slide (lesson/topic). In other words, each slide must have only one chunk of related information that can’t be broken any further. This is called screen level chunking.
The main objective of grouping the content is to facilitate effective comprehension and retention of large, complex data.
Here are a few examples :
3. Organize the content
This plays an important role as it has a bearing on the look and feel of a course.
Here, content can be chunked on the basis of various factors such as audio, content types and visuals.
It is better to show short, ‘stand-alone’ sentences on the screen and provide a detailed description using audio.
Certain types of content such as processes and procedures can be taught very effectively, using interactivities (such as click on tab, click on images, click on number, slide show, hotspot, flip card etc.). And, audio can be used to describe a process in detail.
If the course needs more visuals, then more content can be chunked because visuals speak more than words. Show clear and crisp sentences on the screen. Improper chunking could lead to content redundancy.
To conclude, instructional designers need to perform these three tasks to make meaningful and effective eLearning courses. Well-chunked content is understood easily by the learner, and chunking is useful when we are dealing with large pieces of information which are difficult to read and understand. Hope you find this post useful. Do share your views.