Recently, it was found that only 20% of the content on the web page gets read by users these days.
To be effective and have huge impact, you need to find a way to get your message across to those 20% people who scan your pages.
One of the easiest to do that is content chunking.
Did you know that to improve the learning potential, online instructors are asked to divide/chunk content into manageable units of information?
What is Chunking?
According to this presentation, Chunking is basically breaking up large content into bit-sized pieces so that they are easier to remember.
Our brain has a working memory – the place where we manipulate information – that can hold only limited amount of information at any given time.
Why We Need to Chunk Content
George Miller was the first to discuss the concept of chunking in 1956.
He proved that working memory has limited capacity.
Miller stated that the working memory could hold up to seven (plus or minus) chunks of information at a time.
Today that number is actually less than the George Miller’s number 7.Actually, it’s around 4 to 6.
Without chunking items together, your working memory is always limited.
If your working memory is full, the excess information you get will simply drop out. This imposes a big challenge to a blogger.
It means that if you are trying to explain something complex, and the reader or the learner must hold several concepts in mind to understand it, you will have to chunk information into bit-sized pieces.
By chunking items together, you can surpass the limitation of your working memory in regards to storing information. If, for example, 4 is your capacity, then you will find how 4 groups of 4 items expand capacity.
7 “Easy Steps” To Chunk Content into Readable Pages
Now that we know our working memory is like sieves, let us implement few strategies to overcome this.
Step #1: Break Your Content into Easily Digestible Sections
If you have a large piece of content, break them into easily digestible sections.
Make no more than two points. If possible, just stick to one point per section.
Include each of these section with a descriptive sub-header.
Step #2: Keep Your Paragraphs Short
Keep your paragraphs short by covering only one topic.
Make it short and descriptive – stick to no more than 100 words per paragraph.
Offer important points early in the paragraph, but save something good for the end too. People often scan the first and last sentences, and skip what is in between.
Also, keep your sentences short and simple.
Step #3: Use Numbers to Chunk Content
If you are writing a list article – for example, ‘10 Ways to Write Great Blog Post’ – then number your sub-headings.
If you do not have a number in your blog post title, use numbered lists to chunk your content.
Step #4: Use Images
Images are quite helpful for social sharing, but they also help break down your content.
Include an image caption.
Or, you can even include text into your images to help your readers pick out only the information they require.
Step #5: Use Quotes
Quotes add expert support to your content. This is because you are not the only one saying it. They can also be used as a graphic to break up your content.
Step #6: Use Bullet Points
Just like numbers and sub-headers, bullet points helps our working memory pick out only the important information we want.
Step #7: Read Your Content Aloud
Sit down and read your content yourself. It will sound it flows naturally to you – even if it does not to others.
Once you have chunked your content, read out loud and pretend that you are explaining it to a friend in a bar.
Does it still sound natural? If not, go back to the boardroom.
These are simple strategies you can follow to quickly and easily chunk your content, making sure your readers can fully absorb what you have written.
Over to You
What are your most effective strategies for chunking? Please comment below!
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