I recently joined 1600 education specialists from around the globe for the 2016 Learning Solutions Conference in Orlando, Florida. Here are some of my main takeaways from the conference and how we will apply them to our work in WDI’s Education Initiative.
(1) We’re in an age of bite-sized learning
The trend is to structure learning in shorter chunks, hence the moniker “bite-sized learning.” These chunks are typically in the range of 2-12 minutes. The total length of the course or training remains the same; it is simply being delivered in more units over a longer period of time.
Several forces are driving this: a) the popularity of short YouTube videos which serve as a model for how educators can grab attention; b) the perception that attention spans are shrinking (see point 2 below); c) the flexibility of short chunks allow users to squeeze in some learning during short spans of free time during the day; d) a growing appreciation of the fact that learners can only absorb so much information at a time (to continue the food analogy, “bite-sized” pieces are easier to digest); e) the recognition that shorter chunks make review of content more efficient, as learners can review exactly the concepts they want. Nick Floro, President of Sealworks Interactive Studios, advised conference participants to tag all bite-sized chunks with search-engine friendly titles so that learners can quickly find what they need.