The trend is clear. Increasingly more learning programs are occurring in small chunks. Technological delivery improvements and more challenging schedules seem to make the move inevitable as online learning lends itself to brief, modular, learning. On the scheduling side, with a combination of travel, remote work, and general overwhelm, getting buy-in for dedicated, intensive programs is hard. For better or worse, learning budgets reflect this understanding, and we all know that trends follow the money.
ASTD’s 2013 State of the Industry report shows that 39 percent of formal training is occurring via technology, with signs pointing toward an upward trend. And there seems to be little institutional support for holding onto old ways of conducting learning.
A 2008 CEB report reveals that 56 percent of managers believed they would see better performance, or at least no worse, if learning and development were to go away. The good news is a trend toward smaller, modular chunks can have benefits for making learning last. Two lessons from neuroscience suggest how to chunk learning most effectively: working with attention, and addressing the time between sessions and building across them.