Article   August 08 2023

Keep it short - less is more

When creating learning content on our NanoLearning-platform the content producer is guided by some technical features and rules based on a mix of best practice and learning research. One key challenge is to keep things short.

Man viewed from behind watching a billboard full of notes.

Image: (license free)

Based on over 15 years of Junglemap user data, we know with a 98% likelihood that a started NanoLearning lesson also is completed. The secret behind these impressive figures is actually no secret: a maximum of three minutes is short enough for anyone to complete.  

But getting there might be harder than it seems. Killing darlings and limiting the amount of text on each course-page is often a challenge when organisations want to ‘communicate everything that’s important at once’ (and often before a specific deadline as well...). 

A couple of guiding questions might be some help in finding the right direction: 

- What’s the goal of this learning effort? What do we want to achieve and how do we measure the result? This should be the starting point when creating new learning content. 

- What’s most important? Even if many things are important, something needs to be the most important thing. Identify what it is – and focus on that.  

- When does this topic stop being important? Most issues that organizations need to communicate and comply with are ongoing. Which is a good reason for distributing content over a longer period of time. 

Scrolling hampers learning

When using text-based learning on screen, there’s also a screen-related argument for keeping it short: Scrolling hampers learning. At Junglemap, we work from a strict “less is more” perspective. And there is actually scientific evidence that show that avoiding scrolling, helps learning:

In a study from 2006 researchers found that scrolling hampered comprehension and concluded that the students processed printed text more effectively, compared to digital text.

Another study from 2009 indicated that a scrolling format reduced understanding of complex topics, especially for readers with a lower working memory capacity. 

Anyone who wants to make learning accessible for target groups with a variation of memory capacity need to remember that keeping complex topics short can be crucial for some and helpful for everyone. 

Per Lagerström
Article   August 08 2023