5 reasons why you should develop bite-sized learning courses

John Shannon

It is well known that e-learning has been evolving and changing the education and business landscape in terms of learning and training students and employees. With the evolution of the digital age, learners are more easily distracted than ever, feeling the pressure to constantly upskill and learn new skill sets in their jobs and the classroom to keep up with the changes.

E-learning has been the solution for the changes, allowing flexibility in terms of when and where students can learn, and trainers are able to create e-learning courses seamlessly and monitor and track their progress.

With the different types of content out there, both in length and format, how can course creators ensure that their learners are retaining as much information as possible and not being overwhelmed? Bite-sized learning is a great strategy that helps ensure this.

It is important to offer your audience content that is short, yet substantial. This allows them to take in the information and helps them achieve their learning goals easier. Bite-sized learning inside of e-learning platforms helps suit newly fast-paced learning and work environment. Course creators can create content that fits any screen, where learners can watch and learn from any device, mobile phone or desktop.

Bite-sized content will allow them to swiftly swap from one to the other, and retain more information along the way. If the material was longer and laid out in a more complex way, the flexibility of learning on the go simply would not be possible.

Archy Learning is an e-learning platform and the team has put together the top 5 reasons why they are effective, and why you as a trainer should structure your course in bite-sized pieces.

1. Improved psychological engagement
2. Bite-sized chunks of content hack the limits of our working memory
3. Creates a “higher sense of achievement” 
4. More economical/cost-efficient
5. Allows for “on the go”  learning 

1) Improved psychological engagement

The attention span of today’s learners has shortened due to social media and fast-paced technology. Learning content has also always been known to be longer and a bit dull, so teachers have been looking for ways to refresh and keep content exciting, even using strategies like gamification. The goal here is to keep the attention of the learner and ensure engagement as well, otherwise, you’ll notice an increase in drop-off rates.

Bite-sized learning, along with gamification is the most effective way to help learners successfully achieve their course goals. It decreases boredom while increasing their psychological engagement with the course content. If a course is minimised, from over an hour down to about 30 minutes, your learners will breeze through content, complete it, and feel more motivated to continue.

Having shorter course content allows for less mental burnout as well. It helps students process the information, and decreases information overload.

2) Bite-sized chunks of content hack the limits of our working memory

There are many studies around humans’ brain attention span, and how we process information. The reality of those studies shows that the amount of allotted time or length towards a specific task directly affects the aftermath and knowledge retention rates of the learner. Asking humans to focus on a specific task for an extended period of time is nearly impossible.

After roughly 60 minutes, our engagement and alertness begin to decrease. We begin to drift off mentally and start to think about other things, and then pause the lesson in general.

Successful learners break down the study content into manageable chunks, and practice rest in between, to allow the brain to successfully process the information into long-term memory. This recurrent pattern, partnered with bite-sized learning, can lead to successful results. Using bullet points and quick informative videos and mini-games allows for learners to process the information and remember it during test time later.

A successful study has shown that our brain neurons are alert for no more than 20 minutes. At the end of this, they go from being totally alert to collapsed and it takes a few minutes to go back to an alert state.

Trainers, keep this in mind as you build out your successful e-learning course.

3) Creates a higher sense of achievement

The challenge of keeping your students or employees motivated or engaged in their e-learning course is one of the most important yet difficult goals. Students can easily become overwhelmed with the amount of course content and requirements, skim through the readings, or just simply drop off completely and never finish. Instructors and course creators should be monitoring drop-off rates via their e-learning platform or LMS (learning management systems), and observing where the students are struggling to finish, and change accordingly.

When implementing bite-sized learning objectives, students feel a sense of accomplishment when completing the videos, quizzes, or mini-games, and continue on to the next piece of learning content. This helps them have positive experiences and is sure to keep them coming back to learn, so feel free to add gamification into your learning pathway.

4) More economical/cost-efficient 

Training and upskilling your employees is a necessary cost, one that cannot be overlooked. There are, however, ways around how to make it more budget-friendly for your decision-makers, and take less of the employee’s company time for a corporate training session. Bite-sized learning allows your employees to fit in the course content either at the start of their day, after work in the evenings, or even at weekends.

This means no more weeklong training programs out of the office, and employees can create their own schedule. This will help your business reduce costs and the time overall for your employees to upskill with the content necessary.

5) Allows for “on the go” learning 

Many learners are surrounded by information from all sides. Learning through traditional course content can be another addition to the overwhelming amount of data being thrown at them, and has been proven to be ineffective. Trainers and managers need to be aware of this and learn how to skim content down to the bare minimum.

Bite-size learning fits perfectly into a student’s information and tech-heavy days. It allows them to process the chunks of information and they are able to access it at any time, from any device, making it easily accessible. There aren’t strict schedules required, they can speed up video content and rewind based on their needs, allowing them to learn in their spare time, and at their own pace.

Conclusion

E-learning is currently the most effective way to train and upskill our students and employees. With so much content currently available at our fingertips, we need to curate and build out effective course content that is sure to keep our students engaged and not overwhelmed.

Bite-sized e-learning content is the best way to help break down complex content into smaller chunks, allowing for breaks for students to process and retain the information, more effectively storing it into long-term memory. For more content, check out our blogs and free course content on Archy Learning, or began creating your own online course for free, today!

John Shannon

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