To not only grab your learners’ attention and keep them focused, is crucial for successful PowerPoint to Flash courses. Online learners typically complete courses in bite-size pieces and in multiple chunks of time. To really engage learners every step of the way, structure the content in a way that adapts to their learning styles and the way they retain information. Just as the learning material itself is very important, so too is the way that it is structured.
Breaking down an e-Learning course into “bite-size chunks,” or sections, makes it much easier to digest, easier to understand and easier to remember. According to George Miller’s Information Processing Theory, also known as “chunking,” short-term memory and the attention span are limited to processing and retaining information in chunks or sections.
Janet Symmons, B. Ed, offers advice for chunking in her blog, “E-learning Curriculum Design – Learning Chunks” that support this theory:
“Good curriculum designers create an outline of the topic and then break the topic into bricks. These bricks consist of many learning chunks. Each learning chunk must have reinforced a specific point and each learning chunk should build on previous learning chunks.”
Splitting up sections into bite-size pieces creates structure and eliminates monotony. Symmons suggests ending each chunk with a variety of interactive components to continuously engage learners. If learners apply the knowledge they are presented through activities such as videos, group discussions, quizzes, etc., they are not only more engaged, but more likely to retain the information long-term.
Below are 10 ideas to help deliver your rapid e-Learning courses in bite-size chunks that will draw learners in and keep them interested:
- Videos – YouTube videos and videos created by companies and organizations provide a clear view into your learning material and set a scene for understanding that goes beyond just text and images. With Snap! by Lectora®, you can instantly add a YouTube video with the click of a button.
- Podcasts and Screencasts – These video and audio recordings are great tools to demonstrate detailed processes such as navigating a new software or technological platform.
- Group discussions – Nothing beats an opportunity to post questions, provide answers and share knowledge with peers and experts. This human interaction creates a real-life atmosphere to engage learners in the content and help them learn material along the way.
- Games – Toss in a little fun along the way for your learners. A little friendly competition can really liven up an online course. Check out the Snap! Empower™ games for a very quick way to create fun, simple games for your learners: Snap! Empower Flash games.
- Quizzes – Of course quizzes and tests assess learner understanding, but they also encourage them to find the correct answers if they do not know them by digging deeper into the materials. Chose from a variety of dynamic quizzes in both Snap! by Lectora and Snap! Empower.
- Infographics– The rise of the infographic gives us a very cool way to display data, detailed processes and complex information in a fun, unique way.
- Outside resources – Provide links to outside resources like scholarly articles, blogs, forums and organization resources to provide more in-depth information for those who would like to expand their knowledge on a topic. In Snap! by Lectora, you can either include a link, or simply attach any information you want to include right in the course.
- Questions for exploration – Pose questions to motivate learners to explore outside resources to discover the correct answer to your question and maybe find some extra helpful information along the way.
- Real-world examples – Include links to content that contain real, accurate examples of the concepts conveyed in your material for a great way to link information to things that are familiar to learners.
- Avatars – These virtual characters are a great way to interact with your learners. You can incorporate avatars in many ways, including as a “voice” to your learners, directing them to some of the ideas in the previous tips.
In addition to these tips, keep in mind that it is still critical to design an instructionally sound course aligned with your overall goals and objectives. Outline the plan for your overall structure before you begin and use bullets and numbering to keep things clear and simple – you’ll have a successful rapid e-Learning course in no time!
Do you have fantastic chunking tips or successful examples of your own? Share them with us in the comments below!