Content chunking is an important step in the process of developing an eLearning course. As an instructional designer, it’s important to break long strings of information into understandable chunks and delete extraneous data. When the content is divided into small chunks, learners find it easy to understand. Content chunking also helps improve their working memory. It helps the learners retain longer and recall it effectively.
Let us now see 5 examples of efficient content chunking.
This content can be chunked as shown below. First, we need to identify the key sentence that is the learning point or need to know information and nice to know information which “supports” the key point.
In the screenshot shown below, the sentence written in green is the MAIN POINT of the paragraph, and the sentences in black are MAJOR SUPPORTING DETAILS. The italicized sentences, written in orange, are MINOR SUPPORTING DETAILS. In an eLearning course, we can add images and show the main points and major supporting details on the screen and minor supporting details as nice to know information in a pop-up. This makes it easy to understand the content.
Shown above is an example of text. This can be chunked in the form of bulleted lists and numbered points. It helps organize and categorize information for the learner. In eLearning, consistency plays a key role in how you present similar content throughout the course. So, ensure that all the points maintain parallelism, and use bullets of the same type and color. You also need to define a pattern for sub-bullets and stick to it throughout the course.
Use bulleted lists when you have content that is closely related and the order doesn’t really matter. You can use numbered lists when to explain a procedure or a process, as the order in which the steps appear is critical.
The text in the above screenshot can be chunked, by using short sub-headings. In eLearning, headings are slide titles or topics that are displayed at the top of the screen. Heading is the main topic and is usually not longer than 5 words. Sub-headings can be little explanatory and can go up to 8 words. The sub-heading gives more details about the heading and explains the main topic.
Use sub-headings to visually emphasize and give a clue to the learner about what is being explained in the content. By reading the sub-headings, readers must get the essence of the entire topic.
The above text can be chunked and presented in the form of tables. Tables are used to organize and present data in the form of rows and columns, with headings that have more impact on the learner. Tables facilitate easy comprehension of any kind of data (numeric and textual). They depict the relationship between columns and rows, and make comparison easy. Often, comparing a list of features or numbers with another becomes easy, when the content is presented in a table instead of a paragraph.
In general, tables should have minimal text and must be easy to understand without explanation.
The content in the above screenshot can be chunked in the following way. Short sentences are easier to read and understand. Long sentences are hard to read, as the learners need to move their eyes from left to right. This may result in loss of focus, and the learners may have to read the sentence again.
Use short sentences to reduce ambiguity. Keep the points simple and straight. Avoid words that do not add value to the meaning of the sentence. Avoid redundancy in the sentences.
I hope you find this blog useful. We will see some more examples of content chunking in my next blog. Please stay tuned.