The Fine (eLearning) Art of Distillation

Pop quiz!

How long are you willing to sit watching a video on the Internet?
a) 1 minute
b) 10 minutes
c) 15 minutes
d) 20 minutes

This quiz was a trick because the correct answer is “None of the above.”

According to Visible Measure, among typical Internet users who are browsing for entertainment:
• 20% will click away from a video in the first 10 seconds or less
• 33% will move on within 30 seconds
• 44% will stay for 1 full minute
• 60% will stay up to 2 minutes

Yes, the Internet has turned us all into fast-clicking video critics.
It bears mentioning that these statistics relate to people browsing the Internet for amusement, not your employees who are required to watch 1.5 hours of self-paced training next week. However, we would be remiss if we did not consider these statistics in view of training development.

The Internet is not a classroom where attention is thought to stray around the 20-minute mark. On the Internet, we need to recognize that our audience’s tolerance for “getting to the point” is minimal. Those who spend one hour just “introducing” a course had better distribute toothpicks to prop open the eyes of viewers.

This is why online material needs to be “distilled.” The instructional designer’s tool kit is meant to help you do that.

We work through the content with you, using our tools to discern what learners need to know to achieve the desired results. We will ask questions like:

• What will students be able to do if this course is successful?
• What do students need to do to accomplish that?
• What stands in the way of your employees doing that?

Your answers help us to select the “must-have” content from the “nice-to-have” content.

The goal is content that is distilled to content that is almost poetry – packed with meaning in as little space as possible.

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