Ever take a course or read something where you had to really make an effort to understand the content? Did you tackle it by breaking it into smaller sections in order to understand it? It would have been nice for the creator/writer to take care of this chunking for you; Chunking is breaking information that will be delivered through e-learning into smaller units or modules.
In “Universal Principles of Design” by Lidwell, Holden and Butler, it is stated that the maximum number of chunks that can be processed by short term memory is 4 +/- 1. This will help learners being able to absorb and take in the information by having set modules/lessons to address one topic. It will also make it easy to understand and the user will be able to grasp concepts being introduced to them and not be overwhelmed by trying to process too much information being provided at once.
A designer, writer or e-learning instructor is a tour guide shaping the experience of the user or reader by how the information is presented. Using this design principle of Chunking will reduce the amount of time a user needs to spend on processing, interpreting and comprehension. If you try to accomplish too much in one lesson, the objective may not be met and you could end up leaving the learner feeling confused or frustrated. Addressing one subject or objective will help create a focused learning experience which can be accessed, recalled, and applied as the course progresses resulting in a happy e-learning experience from the learner’s perspective.
Chunking is not only isolated to an e-learning environment, it is a great approach to use when marketing, event planning and creating job search documents.
Here is a good outline to reference to assist with chucking and presenting information.