This must have been a regular experience of every teacher to notice children gazing outside the classroom window while an important lesson is in progress.
And every student must have heard teachers saying things like: “I am here, not outside your window!” or “You are just physically present here but your mind is in some dream world.” Yes, these familiar words take us back to our schooldays and bring a smile to our faces. But, in the original context, they were definitely not meant to be compliments. They point to a serious concern the teachers have been battling with since ages that of students’ fleeting attention and lack of interest in class.
Bite-sized Learning: Engaging Students’ Interest And Attention
As the name suggests, bite-sized learning is an approach where students learn the concepts steadily and gradually through short modules, instead of being presented with the entire palate of learning at one go. So, if the students are being introduced to electricity, instead of discussing the concepts and principles underlying the phenomenon all at once, bite-sized learning approach breaks up all the information into short learning modules. One of the modules may deal with the basic introduction to electricity; another with the cause; a third with electrical circuit and so on.
Consideration of a learner’s attention span is the most important principle, which drives this approach. In today’s digital age, the attention span of learners have decreased, the general consensus being that students can concentrate on something for an average time of 20 minutes.
Beyond this, they tend to get distracted and therefore the urge to look outside the classroom window or be lost in a dream world.
Educationists had come up with the idea of audiovisuals as a way of resolving this concern. However, audiovisual lessons of the same duration as that of the typical classroom lectures defeats the entire purpose as that also requires students to be glued to the screen and be alert. Bite-sized learning with its emphasis on a paced learning process where lessons are broken down into small morsels achieves the desired purpose.
Factors That Have Prompted Growth Of Bite-sized Learning
The short attention span of the millennials, who are the current generation of learners, is the most important reason for the preference of knowledge nuggets offered by bite-sized learning approach. Furthermore, as the demand for mobile learning continues to surge, there is an increasing need for short and concise learning modules which would offer a better learning experience and be convenient to run on a mobile device. Coupled with these are the benefits of such learning modules being time- and cost-effective.
Factors Required For The Success Of This Approach:
Short And Quality Modules- When preparing a learning module, every bit of information might seem relevant to the lesson being taught; it is quite easy to lose sight of the ’bite-sized’ aspect of the approach. Therefore, it is important that the necessity of every bit is carefully weighed before being included in the module so that they do not become counter-productive.
Visuals And Animations- To accentuate the benefits obtained from this mode of learning, bullet points, flowcharts, images or animations can be used instead of making the modules text-heavy. Deploying visuals and animations can contribute to students’ heightened interest and consequently better performance.
Spacing The Modules- It could be a good idea to space the information provided in the modules with prompts for discussions, a quick exercise, an interactive quiz or even a concept-based game. While these keep the learners hooked to the learning process in progress, it also helps them to practice as they learn, thus assessing the effectiveness of the study session and promoting better concept retention.
Personal, Real-world Contexts- The entire purpose of this effective learning approach could be lost if the contexts and examples drawn upon are too abstract or remote to the learner’s environment. Hence, to enable learners to make the most of the innovative learning approach, the lessons should be set in relatable contexts and scenarios.
Evolution is a continuous phenomenon and applies to all facets of life. To enable the students of today to remain up-to-date and be ready to face challenges that come their way, we need to embrace the changes that accompany the evolution of education. By implementing the bite-sized learning approach, we at Next Education express our openness for these newer changes that have the potential to shape the future of our students.