Why bite-sized elearning is important (3 reasons)

Bite sized learning steps

Bite-sized elearning modules are small, self-contained information nuggets. They typically range in duration from 1 to 15 minutes and are usually focused on one or two tightly defined learning objectives. Here are a few examples. In contrast, more conventional elearning modules can take between 30 and 60 minutes (or longer) to consume and have a wider range of objectives. 

Bite-sized elearning is gaining popularity. Our analysis of over 65,000 pieces of digital learning in Elucidat reveals an average session time of 15 minutes, which is actually a relatively long time, given these modern averages: 

Bite sized learning steps

In addition to general learner preference for bite-sized learning, here are three good reasons to consider adopting it.

1. It takes less time to consume and is more flexible

Employers are increasingly squeezing training into gaps in employees’ schedules, rather than allocating extended blocks of study time. Elearning pieces that are designed to be meaningful in a short session (10-15 minutes) fit more easily into this model.

A great example of this is the Johnson & Johnson Vision Care (JJVC) Eye Care Practitioners course, built using Elucidat’s elearning authoring tool. This course contains a number of accredited 10-minute nuggets, with each one allowing time-strapped eye care professionals to accumulate Continuing Education and Training (CET) points necessary for their ongoing professional registration.


Available just-in-time

Bite-sized nuggets also tend to be better than larger modules for just-in-time support. For example, if an employee needs a refresher on a seldom-used software feature, they probably want it immediately. In this case it’s more meaningful and convenient for the employee to watch a simple 2-minute video on that particular feature, rather than wading through a 60-minute module that covers all of the software features.

Use flexibly

Bite-sized nuggets can be combined and consumed in flexible ways. For example, one learner can access nuggets A, C and D, and another can access C, B and A, depending on their preferences and immediate needs. Learners only have to work through the topics (nuggets) that are meaningful to them, and access them in an order that meets their needs.

Related: See lots of examples of bite-sized learning on our Showcase

2. Shorter sessions suit modern learners

learn anywhere anytime

Our profile of a modern learner reports that modern workplace learners are keen to consume content that’s highly relevant and personalized to them, which can be taken on their choice of device when they want it. More often than not, this is on the fly – 56% of modern learners learn at a point of need, and 28% on their commute to and from work.

But reports from Bersin at Deloitte state that the biggest barrier to learning at work is time.

Whilst we know that true learning takes effort, energy and dedication, many learners struggle to find those windows of concentration. Learning broken into short, bite-sized chunks at least has a higher chance of being used.

Interesting work by Dr. Paul Kelley has shown that intense 20-minute bursts of study, separated by 10-minute breaks, can yield better long-term memory retention than longer, continuous periods of study. This mirrors the evidence found by Peter Brown and Co in Make it Stick.

Related: Profile of a Modern Learner

3. Demand for mobile learning is growing

We know that mobile learning is becoming more important as devices become more powerful and more pervasive in the workplace.

turns to their phones

Imagine the difficulty of concentrating on a mobile-based lesson for 40 minutes whilst being jostled on the morning commuter train. The obvious solution is to break modules into smaller, more meaningful chunks.

But that doesn’t mean the nuggets can’t tackle sophisticated issues or be absorbing. To Lie or Not To Lie is an excellent example of an Open University bite-sized nugget that tackles a deep subject in an engaging way. This would only take a learner around 15 minutes to complete, and it is responsive — that is, it adapts and renders well on desktop, tablet and smartphone screens.

lto lie Open University bite-sized nugget

Related: Mobile learning design strategy: Why it matters and how to get the best results for your learners

In conclusion

The three arguments for bite-sized learning presented here are very compelling from a learner’s point of view. But as a training provider, the good news is that learning nuggets are also quicker to produce and easier to maintain than larger modules! For some best practice tips see our webpage and free guide.

Find out how Elucidat can help you produce effective bite-sized elearning to work with your microlearning or general learning strategy.

Bitesize learning