If you are in the process of developing, or are auditing your existing course, we have 3 'just right' pieces of advice when building your online learning experience.
Did you know that the human mind enjoys thinking in patterns? An article written by IQ Doodle expresses that 'we naturally look for and create patterns everyday, in everything we do'. The reason why we enjoy items in 3's is in part to the fact that it is the smallest number our brain can form to create a pattern. When an event occurs, we consider the first to be instance, the second to be a coincidence and the third to be a pattern.
Going a step further into psychology, our memory is broken into 3 stages: encoding, storage and retrieval. Lumen Learning goes technically in-depth on these stages; but to simplify below breaks down how we process information:
Receiving, processing and combining the information together; understanding it.
Creating a permanent record of the encoded information; either sensory, short-term or long-term memory.
Calling back the stored information from a cue; such as a process, activity or keyword.
For centuries the rule of 3's has been used through language (phrases: ready, set go), storytelling (a beginning, middle and end), song writing (a chorus is often sung 3x) since it is the best way to reach an audience and have them actively understand, participate and repeat the information.
When developing your online course, consider breaking down your teachings into 3 digestible pieces (either topics, points or sections). It will engage your user and make the whole learning experience much more enjoyable.
We all process and retain information differently, in other words, we all have different learning styles. By understanding how individuals learn means you have a greater opportunity to ensure they understand and retain the information you are teaching them. Below explains a simple understanding on the 3 types of learners and how you can accommodate them into your teaching style.
A visual learner is a person who requires visuals to best absorb the information being presented.
A auditory learner takes in information best through listening and verbal repetition, plus discussion.
A tactile learner grasps the knowledge by physically participating and being involved in the process.
It's always exciting to share and talk about what you're passionate about, so much so that you may have the tendency to convey everything in a single breath or slide. However, we strongly urge you too instead pace yourself. In alignment with 'the rule of 3's' it important to break things down so they are more digestible to your viewer.
If there is too much content seen at once, and in conjunction with words being spoken, it will make it challenging for any learner to understand and encode the information. If there is one piece of advice we could provide, it would be: don't be afraid to use visuals and less is more.
Just as you would take a breath when talking, take a breather with your text is shown on screen (trim it back) and supply visuals. It will please visual learners, but will also aid in emphasizing the key points a user should take away from the lesson. Treat your slides like you would if you are highlighting a textbook or notes; only highlight the keyword(s) or small phrase(s) to act as a retrieval cue for your user.