Internal - Faculty & Staff

“Chunking” Material

“Chunking” is the process of breaking up information into smaller pieces that can be more easily processed by students. When planning content delivery for your course, chunking material should be a primary consideration.

Face-to-Face LessonOnline Lesson
intro intro
lecturelecture part 1
discussion checkpoint questions
lecture part 2
checkpoint questions
lecture part 3

Think about the type of content you view online. Do you ever sit down and watch a youtube video that is half an hour long? Probably not. If you need to deliver a 30-minute lecture online, break it down into four or five chunks that are 5 to 7 minutes in length. Do the same with written content: break it down and make it easier to digest on the go.

It’s likely that you’re already chunking content in face-to-face classes. Many faculty organize content into weekly units or content areas that will be covered over a set time period during the course.  It’s helpful to limit the number of new concepts that are introduced to students at one time. Student feedback often includes complaints about “information overload,” which occurs when too much new information is presented to them at once.  Limiting content to 3-5 “chunks” of new material gives students a better chance of understanding and assimilating information and concepts.

Example of “Chunking” Material

Gertrude is transforming her face-to-face lecture on soil to an online module. Here is how she converted her face-to-face lesson plan into “chunked” online material:

Face-to-Face Lesson Plan “Chunked” Online Material
  1. Powerpoint Lecture
    (25 to 30 minutes)
    1. Soil Formation
    2. General Composition
    3. Physical Properties
    4. Chemical Properties
    5. Classification
    6. The Soil Environment
    7. Biological Properties
    8. Plant Essential Nutrients
  2. Discussion on Soil and Societal Issues
  3. Sorting and classification activity – in pairs
    (10 to 15 minutes)
  4. Summary (5 minutes)
  1. Video Lecture 1: Soil Formation and Composition (5 to 7 minutes)
    1. Soil Formation
    2. General Composition
  2. Video Lecture 2: Soil Properties (8 to 10 minutes)
    1. Physical Properties
    2. Chemical Properties
    3. Biological Properties
  3. Video Lecture 3: Classification & Environment (4 to 6 minutes)
    1. Classification
    2. The Soil Environment
  4. Video Lecture 4: Plan Essential Nutrients (2 to 3 minutes)
    1. Plant Essential Nutrients
  5. Ungraded Quiz: Sorting and Classification (15 to 20 minutes)
  6. Discussion Board: Soil and Societal Issues (throughout week)
  7. Summary Page on Moodle