Here’s one key point all conference organizers and speakers should know and implement:
Chunk Content In 10 Min Sections
Bite-size learning as well as bite-size instruction improves an attendee’s psychological engagement. It prevents cognitive overload and mental burnout. It also encourages us to process information and consider its application.
It is impossible for us to focus on any one thing for an extended period of time. Our natural rhythm of energy and motivation ebbs and flows through out the day. Chunking content in smaller segments follows that natural rhythm.
Dr. John Medina recommends chunking content into 10-minute sections.
10 Minutes Plus Activity Increases Retention And Learning
Instruction specialist Abreena Tompkins has developed a brain-friendly course model based on more than 300 research articles. It works for both classroom and online instruction.
Her model recommends that attendees focus for approximately 10 to 20 minutes, such as through a mini-lecture, followed by a two- to three-minute break such as discussion, reflection or other type of engagement. Of course the break can be longer to increase engagement.
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, and it takes two to three minutes for those neurons to be completely recovered and back to the total alert state. ~ Abreena Tompkins
So mix up the instruction with attendee activity. 10-20 minutes instruction followed by two-ten minutes of activity. They lather, rinse and repeat.
Don’t Omit The Audience Interactions
TED-style presentations, Ignite, Pecha Kucha and other short presentations follow the limits of our working memory. These presentation methods work at reducing cognitive overload. However, they all three omit the importance of attendee interaction and engagement.
Remember, as Dr. John Medina says, your attendees can’t focus on listening and focus on thinking at the same time. It’s one or the other.
They need to think to learn. And if they can’t think, they can’t connect it to their own situation. Nor can they recall that information to apply it later because they didn’t learn it.
Snack learning plus attendee activity with that content is the key to memory retention and learning. Go all the way with bite-size learning plus attendee interaction or you’re just cramming information via smaller chunks!
Read more from Shift eLearning Blog.
Why does most conference bite size learning applications still focus on one-way transfer of information while omitting the attendee engagement piece? What tips do you have about implementing “snack learning” for conferences?