November 3, 2014

Chunking and Being a Minimalist Can Help You Design Effective Lessons

Chunking training materials. Being a minimalist. The two ideas almost sound contradictory... but they are not.

Our School / woodleywonderworks / CC BY 2.0

Whether we are preparing instructional materials for face-to-face instruction or for elearning we need to decide how much content to put in each lesson. What order should be used for introducing new ideas? How should we organize our materials? The reason for each of these decisions is so that our teaching is effective in helping our students to learn.

Jeffrey Dalto at Convergence Training explains what chunking is, why it's important, how our memory works, and how to use this information to help us prepare effective lessons.

Clutter / spykster / CC BY 2.0

So, what is minimalism? This concept is often described as eliminating the clutter in our lives so that we can focus on what is important to achieving the goals in our lives. Rob Nightingale shares How to be an Effective Minimalist in your Daily Life on the Make Use Of website.

Clutter shows up in many areas. We might see it in our wardrobes, possessions, paperwork, computer desktop and applications. Cutting back in any of these areas can mean less money and time spent initially and in maintenance. As educators we often hear that less is more. Our students can benefit if we keep clutter out of our lessons... and that's where chunking and being a minimalist connect.

Chunking is not a new idea in instructional design. Minimalism is frequently discussed as a component of one's lifestyle. Chunking and minimalism are complementary when we think about creating lessons that will help our students learn.

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