Chunking Safety Training Materials

chunking-safetyNot so long ago, we wrote an extended blog post that explained the benefits of “chunking” your training materials and gave tips about how to do it.

In short, the need for chunking begins with the realization that human brains can “take in” only a limited amount of information at one time. As a result, trainers and instructional designers have learned it’s best to present information in a limited number of small, “bite-sized” pieces referred to as chunks.

You can click here to read the extended article on chunking and training.

Otherwise, if you’d like a high-level overview of chunking and then would like to how chunking safety training can make the safety training at your workplace more effective, read on. We’ll give you all the basics and show you how we applied that information when creating our Arc Flash Safety course. You can then use those same tips when creating your own safety training.

The Bird’s Eye View on Chunking Training Materials

  1. Chunking refers to taking training material (during the design phase), breaking them up into little “bite-sized” parts, and then organizing them in a way that makes the material easier for your employees to learn.
  2. Chunking is helpful because of how our brains work-in particular, the limits on our working memory to hold only about four bits of information at a time.
  3. Although learners who are novices or experts in a given topic can each only remember about four chunks at a time, experts can remember bigger chunks.
  4. You should arrange chunks within training materials in a way that makes it easier for your employees to understand and remember them. Some organizational methods include job sequence, dependent learning, cause and effect, and whole to parts, but there are more.
  5. Chunking training materials begins at a high level–the entire curriculum, for example–and then works its way down through modules, lessons, courses, and screens (or similar sub-divisions of your training materials).

An Example of Chunking Safety Training Materials

At Convergence Training, we use chunking techniques when we design and create our e-learning modules. And that pays off for our customers because their employees learn the materials more quickly, readily, and effectively.

For example, we’ll look at our Arc Flash Safety e-learning course. There’s a short video sample of it below. Let’s consider how the various aspects of chunking will make it easier for your employees to understand this critical aspect of job safety.

When you create, design, and deliver safety training at your work, you can use the same principles and chunking techniques to make it easier for your employees to learn from the training, which will ultimately make them safer workers and give you a safer workplace.

EHS-training-course-library

Chunking Within Our Health & Safety Training Library

  1. The Arc Flash Safety course is just one part of our Electrical Safety series of courses.
  2. The Electrical Safety series of courses is just one part of our Health & Safety library of courses.

Chunking Within the Course

  1. The entire Arc Flash Safety course is only 24 minutes long, including the content screens, practice questions, and course-ending test.
  2. The course is composed of multiple screens, each quite short–typically 30 to 60 seconds.
  3. The course includes practice questions every few screens to allow the worker to review new material just introduced before moving on to another series of screens and more new content.

Chunking Within A Typical Screen

As we noted earlier, the course is made up of a series of screens. Content is introduced in video format, and the video on each screen is quite short (typically 30-60 seconds).

For example, the screen in the sample below runs for only 38 seconds. During that time, it introduces only three points:

  1. The normal flow of electricity through energized equipment
  2. What an arc flash is
  3. How an arc flash is similar to lightning

All of this makes it very easy for your employees to grasp and retain what an arc flash is and why they can be dangerous. When they’re fully understood and are ready for more, they can click a NEXT button to see another short video introduce another small “chunk” of information. And after a few screens like that, they’ll come to a practice test that allows them to review and practice with the information they just learned before they move on to the next section.

Conclusion: Chunking Is a Standard Testing Technique You Can Use to Make Safety Training More Effective

Hope that helped.

After reading the article, do you find that you already “chunk” your safety training? If so, what are some of your techniques?

Or, if you read the article and realized you don’t “chunk,” what are some things you might start doing differently?

While you’re here, download the free Guide to Effective EHS Training below, which is based on ANSI Z490.1. We think you’ll find a lot more helpful information about safety training there.
OEE-guide-btn

Effective EHS Training: A Step-by-Step Guide

Learn how to design, create, deliver, and evaluate effective EHS training by following these best practices with our free step-by-step guide.

Download Free Guide

OEE-guide-btn
Jeffrey Dalto

Jeffrey Dalto

Jeffrey Dalto is an Instructional Designer and the Senior Learning & Development Specialist at Convergence Training. Jeff has worked in education/training for more than twenty years and in safety training for more than ten. You can follow Jeff at LinkedIn as well.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *