Performance load 2: Chunking.
The word ‘chunking’ in the information sense means to break information down into smaller parts so it’s easier to learn (Melamed, 2009). When George A. Miller founded the chunking concept in 1956, he said the brain could only hold 7 (give or take 2) chunks of information at one time. It is now thought to be closer to four or five. Cognitive researchers have also found out it depends on the information and the abilities of the person (Melamed, 2009). A learner’s brain is already full of information, so a big task for a course designer is coming up with information a student can easily remember (Melamed, 2009).
When planning a class, there are four simple steps which can make chunking easier. Step one: Start at the highest level. Start with a module with more information.
Step two: Modules into lessons into topics. Break down the modules into lessons, which can then be broken down into topics. This makes it easier for the students to take it in.
Step three: Chunk at the screen level. Once you have your modules, lessons and topics, you want to organise your screen so there is one topic per page. You don’t want to introduce new topics while talking about a different one.
Step four: Do a working memory check. Throughout the process, make sure you need all the content and test it against a working memory. If you don’t need all the content, get rid of some. Of course, the visual and text content in multimedia courses can lessen demands (Melamed, 2009).
Malamed, C. (2009). Chunking Information for Instructional Design. Theelearningcoach.com. Retrieved 2 November 2014, from http://theelearningcoach.com/elearning_design/chunking-information/