Most moms are multitaskers. For example, we can cook dinner, help our kids with their homework and check our email….until dinner burns or the kids cry because while trying to reply to an email you forgot how to perform the “new” way of division.
Sound familiar? Yeah…maybe mom multitasking is a farce. Or least overrated.
And the kids? Why can they only do one thing at a time? Isn’t it possible to pick up their shoes while on their way to the shower?
Maybe not. Maybe it’s a case of brain overload.
There is a ton of research on how the brain works and how we learn. Some educational and training professionals tout the benefits of “chunking” information into small segments while others, like learning company Rapid Learning Institute, believe focusing on one concept may be the most effective learning strategy.
In a video that was recently pitched to me, Stephen Meyer, CEO of RLI, discusses single-concept learning.
“We start small by isolating a single, compelling concept – we call it a thin slice – and we build a short module around that concept,” Meyer said.
“Thin slicing” is a psychological concept. It refers to the brain’s ability to digest thin slices of information in narrow windows of learning. By doing so, learners draw conclusions from this limited information and come away with a powerful learning experience.
Since learners have a specific learning objective, they’re less overwhelmed and therefore more enthusiastic about diving in.
Secondly, thin slicing avoids brain overload. So, remember that chaos in the kitchen I referenced above…yeah, that doesn’t happen. Meyer calls it “cognitive noise,” which sounds about right.
And finally, thin slicing only requires learners to remember just one idea – an idea that is well fleshed out, focused and specific.
“With thin slicing, learners are less likely to disengage because everything they encounter on their learning journey is directly related to one concept,” Meyer said. “So knowledge retention, which is the Holy Grail in training, is much more likely to be high as well.”
The thin-slice approach to learning can be a game-changer for managers, Meyer said. Like their pupils, managers are less likely to become overwhelmed and can focus solely on training.
So, the next time you’re planning a learning program, think about offering just a thin slice of the pie, rather than the whole pie.
Remember the Nov. 24 blog post about trimming the fat? Sounds like that theory aligns well with thin-slice learning.