20 Feb How much do you remember? 4 steps to creating memorable eLearning experiences
I remember having to memorize my very first international phone number – 0113309606262. It was overwhelming when I first saw it. It only became manageable when I learned that 011 could be replaced with “+” and each of the other numbers were really just pairs. Once I chunked the number this way, I was able to memorize it with just a few repetitions.
Why is it that 0113309606262 is so much harder to remember than + 33 0 9 60 62 62?
How our Memory Works
The answer lies in how human memory works. Specifically, in how much information we can hold in our “short-term” or “working” memory.
Short-term memory is where we temporarily record what happens around us. It is where we can register a face that we see in the street, or a telephone number that we overhear someone giving out, but whatever the information, it is quickly lost unless we make a conscious effort to retain it.
Short-term memory can only hold about seven items for no more than 20 or 30 seconds at a time. So when I tried to memorize my new phone number by changing the number of digits from 13 (0,1,1,3,3,0,9,6,0,6,2,6,2) to 5 (+, 0, 9, 60, 62, 62), I was able to hold all the objects in my memory at once for long enough to repeat them over and over. This repetition let me transfer the whole phone number to my “long-term” memory fairly quickly.
Long-term memory is a place with unlimited space and the ability to retain information for days, months, years or even an entire lifetime!
Of course, in an eLearning course, we can’t rely on repetition alone, but there are a few things we can do to make our material more memorable and increase the learner’s ability to transfer information from short-term to long-term memory.
4 Steps to Memorable eLearning Experiences
Follow these 4 steps to make your content unforgettable!
- Curate the Content
Take all the information that is not immediately relevant to your learning objectives and remove it! This will help your learner’s short-term memory better process the information and pass it on to long-term memory.
- Chunk the Content
Break complex information into “bite-sized” pieces. Just like when I changed 6262 to 62 62 it became easier for my mind to process, so will any information be easier to process when chunked out. Dividing information allows the learner to process one part fully before moving on, which improves knowledge transfer to long-term memory.
- Create Different Experiences
Present the information in different ways, using audio, video, infographics, etc. This way the learner is able to experience and process the information differently without overtaxing their short-term memory.
- Cut the Bling
As important as it is for your eLearning courses to look good, decorative images and complicated navigation paradigms increase the effort your learner needs to make in order to access essential information. This kind of design risks overloading your learner’s working memory and preventing key points from being transferred into their long-term memory. Images and interactions should always enhance the learning, not decorate it.
If you need to create a memorable learning experience that your learners can apply learning immediately and retain permanently, ask us how Applied Learning with the Flint 100 Ecosystem can guarantee your return on expectations.