Bite-size learning is an approach that offers small learning units with just the necessary amount of information to help learners achieve a goal. Activities can include short-term lessons, coursework and project work that are broken down into ‘bits’ of information rather than trying to deliver a broad subject all at once. Some of the key advantages include:
- When bite-size learning content is easily and readily accessible, learners can take it at their own pace, wherever they are.
- Learners need only to digest small chunks of information. This makes comprehension easier without spending too much effort.
- Allows learners to multi-task between assignments.
- Single concept learning – learning one new skill or behaviour at a time.
- Contextual relevance – interweaving content into the subject matter so that students are immediately able to apply what they have learnt.
Critically, bite-size learning meets the needs of modern learners who demand content, which is customised to their needs, is on-demand and informal as part of any place, any time learning.
Some helpful tips
Aim to create your bite-size course content to be engaging, on-demand and media-rich. Try to engage the audience from the start and keep them engaged until the end of the session. When delivering bite-size content, you can do away with the history, background and theories. This facilitates delivering the “how-to” right away.
Research has shown that the human brain is not able to maintain focus for hours on end. Learning and focus can be greatly improved when the content is delivered in short bursts to help cement learning.
So, when is the best time to use bite-size learning? Typically, short bite-size exercises are used when students are going to need the information, or when they are going to be most receptive to receiving that information. For example, watching a video to simplify a complex theory or a quiz to establish the level of comprehension and understanding of a topic.
You can read more about using video for bite-size learning and how to create online quizzes here:
There is not a widely accepted criterion for the establishment of the most appropriate duration of bite-size sessions, however, it is thought that they should not exceed 15 minutes in order to keep audience attention.
Below is a table showing some examples of bite-size assets and how each can be used as part of your curriculum design:
|Bite-size assets||What they can be used for|
|Infographics||Infographics offer information at-a-glance, and can also be used to draw comparisons, organise similarities and differences by visually creating parallels that complement the information being presented.|
|Interactive PDFs||PDFs can be one of the simplest and easiest ways to present online course content on mobile devices. They can be a compilation of text, images and graphics. PDFs are an excellent way of creating ‘off-line’ content which can be downloaded to a mobile device, PC or laptop and opened at a later date.|
|Videos||Videos can be used to explain abstract ideas or provide step-by-step procedures for visual learners. They can also help underpin complex theory into a visual/auditory format and remove the need for large amounts of textual information.|
|Quizzes||To determine the need for reinforcement learning where there are gaps in knowledge and comprehension.|
|Podcasts||Podcasts can be used to provide snippets of information. They are a good alternative to videos for auditory learners and act as good reference tools especially when learners are commuting or travelling.|
|Game-based nuggets||Games offer a high level of interactivity and keep learners engaged. Game-based nuggets could include topic-related challenges that are transformed into a game, each nugget focuses on one challenge or learning objective.|
|Simulations||Simulations are a powerful tool to get students to perform a task in a safe environment. In some simulations, the learner receives points for each decision s/he makes, helping them understand the effectiveness of their decisions.|
|Branching scenarios||Mini scenario-based modules resemble the real-world environment and workplace challenges learners face at work.|
|Animations||Animations may bring out our inner child, but they also have the power to improve knowledge retention, engage online learners, and simplify complex concepts. Learners are able to play, pause, and re-watch the animation whenever they like, even if that happens to be when they are making their daily commute or sitting in the break room. The use of animations can make learning much more easily digestible.|
|Scenario-, simulation-, and game-based assessments||These bite-sized assessments foster performance-based learning. They use real-world scenarios and challenges as well as task learners to use their critical thinking skills and execute performance-enhancing tasks.|
Creating bite-size content – best practices
Brevity in terms of size and time are signature characteristics of bite-sized content. The rest is all about making it engaging, relevant, and fun. Set clear learning objectives and trim the ‘frills’. Get creative with multimedia and assess progress every step of the way. Add fun elements, such as quizzes and/or gamification. Engage with infographics and real-life examples and include simulations/interactive demonstrations if applicable.
If you require any further assistance, please contact eLearning@tees.ac.uk