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Bite-sized Learning is our Now and Future! by Robert Ricciardelli

Science is proving that all of our technology is beginning to morph our brains toward shorter attention spans. Gone are the days of effectual talking head lectures, whether they are live or on video. Imagine now, more engaging content that fits on any screen, where learners can work on any platform, and switch back from their mobile device to the desktop, anytime.

Linkedin purchased Lynda.com for 1.5 billion dollars in 2014. This is trending evidence of the world desiring to learn, and learn on their own time, from wherever they are in the world.

These learning snacks are easier for a learner to digest lessons step by step—something that's not possible with lengthy content. By offering your audience light, short, yet substantial content, they'll surely come back for more.

Bite sized nuggets of content that are easy to consume through short videos, graphics and mixed media, allow for ideas and concepts to be grasped quickly. By creating shared experiences or stories, a deeper meaning can be realized, essentially faster than reading an explanation of the same information.

Documentaries like "The Ivory Tower," are exposing the expensive and most often less effective public and private learning institutions. Online digital learning is projected to grow to more than $150 billion the next few years and it is here to stay.

There are many good reasons learners seek out useful information in small chunks. Here are a few of them:

Bite-sized learning improves psychological engagement.

It's no secret that one of the problems with eLearning is fighting against boredom. Once learners begin to be bored, getting their attention back is nearly impossible. This is where bite-sized learning comes in. It offers a promising antidote to boredom by primarily increasing a learner's psychological engagement. Instead of spending 90 or more minutes in one module, learners will be motivated to successfully consume short, engaging, and meaningful content.

This approach also helps prevent mental burnout, and encourages students to carefully process information rather than hastily consuming an overwhelming amount of data. This goes a long way in addressing the retention challenge in learning

Bite-sized modules take advantage of our natural energy flow.

It's impossible for learners to focus on a task for an extended period of time without pause. Normally, after 45 to 90 minutes, our alertness decreases. During this time, we're likely going to move away from the desk, or think about something else, which means, we're likely going to pause.

Learners operate on a recurrent pattern of activity and rest. That's why giving them bite-sized information while they are at the peak of their energy levels often leads to successful results. This format speaks directly to their ever-shrinking attention span. Their sharp bursts of energy are a good match for just the right amount of information. They can easily scan bullet points of quick, meaningful information, and then their response to it enhances the experience and adds stickiness to the learning.

Bite-size chunks of content are conducive to the limits of our working memory.

Bite-size content is easier to digest, understand and remember. In fact, according to George Miller's Information Process Theory, a learner's attention span and short-term memory processes information in chunks. That's why adherents of such theory suggest splitting up content into small, manageable sections, rather than simply dump never-ending chains of text. This technique makes learning more manageable and easier to integrate into long-term memory and then transfer the knowledge to their daily tasks.

Bite-sized learning leads to better learning results and business outcomes.

It's not just about the learning, as for many people and companies, bite-sized learning is also about getting benefits and results through minimal input. It's about producing short yet relevant chunks of information based on the needs of learners and of the business model. For most people and companies, the convenience and the cost savings from other methods of training are huge. With costs being reduced, the return on investment increases.

Bite-sized learning adapts to how people learn today.

Today's learners are bogged down with information overload. They're inundated with data coming from various devices, with a heavy dose of streaming social statuses. So it's not surprising that many people find traditional corporate training overwhelming and ineffective. There's too much data being dumped, in addition to long lectures they're compelled to attend. This approach makes it hard for modern learners to retain lessons, regardless of how meaningful and interesting the material is.

Bite-sized learning focuses on meeting the needs of modern learners. It perfectly suits their information-rich lifestyle, enabling them to access small chunks of information at their fingertips, anytime and anywhere. It personalizes the experience and is far more engaging than lengthy lectures. On-demand learning readily fits into everyone's schedule and time zone. People can now learn on their spare time and learn only what they're interested in.

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