Monday, December 14, 2009
According to John Cone, former VP of Dell University (and someone I've worked with on an advisory board so I know he knows a lot on the subject), in an article for Fast Company..."the ideal learning event has a class size of one, lasts five to ten minutes and takes place within ten minutes of need."
A survey conducted by Bloomsburg University of pharmaceutical sales representatives indicated that they desired to have information presented in 15 minute intervals.
According to Chris Bennett, Founder and CEO of Ah Ha! Media, “30 minutes is about the maximum and less than 15 minutes is too short. The exact number of minutes between 15 and 30 should be dictated by depth and number of Objectives in the learning module.” He goes on to say in the article titled “How long should an e-learning course be?” from elearningmag.org that, “In a one-hour course, its absolutely fine to have two 18-minute modules and one 24 –minute module…and consider this, most television programs are under 30 minutes sans commercial.”
So where does this short timeframe originate?
A guess is it seems to originate from the 1956 paper titled "The Magical Number Seven, Plus or Minus Two: Some Limits on Our Capacity for Processing Information" by George Miller." (this is an updated version of the article.)
Miller, from Princeton University’s Department of Psychology, reported that human short term memory is able to hold approximately 5 to 7 items in memory at a time. If you expand on a topic list of 5 to 7 items in an educational piece for 3 to 4 minutes, the timeframe works to be approximately 15 to 28 minutes which fits into the anecdotal evidence leading to the desire of having a course length (or segment of a course) to be approximately 15-30 minutes.
Does this seem right or are the lengths of time way off?
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