For too long training and learning events have been too large, requiring learners to try (and usually fail) to remember large pieces of content. Bite sized learning provides content in smaller easily consumed chunks of content.
‘Divide each difficulty into as many parts as is feasibly possible and necessary to resolve it’ (Descarte).
Descartes must have been a fortune teller because he describes our modern lifestyle. No longer does a whole music album get purchased, rather just a song. People read articles not the whole magazine. For the modern day learner, bite size is the right size.
Brain based study has shown that “physiologically, your neurons are keen and alert for no more than 20 consecutive minutes. At the end of those 20 minutes, your neurons have gone from full-fledged alert to total collapse”. Not only is bite sized learning beneficial for your brain, it provides an opportunity to learn in a time effective manner in our busy day to day lives.
Learners and managers are demanding more effective and efficient learning times due to rapidly changing topics, on-the-job performance needs, an abundance of mobile learning tools and faster and more reliable internet connections. Bite sized learning provides the time challenged learner with a greater opportunity to access the content they need in the small spaces of time they have available.
So, why is bite size the right size and how does it achieve better training, outcomes and returns?
- Bite sized training is easier to remember, reducing the cognitive load on participants
- More effective use of time, focusing on smaller specific need to know pieces of content
- Time spent on learning is more compact and targeted resulting in more cost effective training
- Bite sized content is easier to update, with
- Bite sized learning objects are more mobile and transportable, able to used in different courses or learning environments
What can you do to ensure your training is bite sized and the right size?
- Make sure new concepts can be presented in segments so natural breaks can be inserted
- When designing new training, consider how the training would look if presented in different modalities and easily recreated
- Ensure it is very easy for participants to get the concept really quickly with relevant visuals and aesthetic considerations
- Build your courses from your key facts
- Make feedback about your course length a priority