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Turn Courseware Chunking Into An Opportunity.

"Chunking is the popular term for taking a 20-hour classroom offering and "repurposing" it to fit a typical 2-hour online learning attention span.

Trust me, most instructional designers have no particular enthusiasm for chunking -- or for repurposing either for that matter. That's why they call it chunking and repurposing. "You want me to do WHAT to my course?!"

Instructional designers resist downsizing their courses, because they believe ardently if it's worth learning, it's worth learning well. This can be a real problem if they're in cahoots with a SME (subject matter expert) who belongs to the brain drain school of content determination.

The result is bloated courseware, much more of a problem in my estimation than bloated software. Because unlike computer RAM a learner's memory is not expandable.

So why not make the most of the chunking process -- and make some of the courseware editing decisions that should have been made in the first place.

Begin by assigning someone other than the original course designer to convert the classroom course to online learning. Why? For the same reason movie makers don't let directors make the final cut and newspapers don't let reporters do their own editing.

A fresh player will be better able to make the difficult decisions around what must be left out, what must be reduced to sidebar or reference status, and where a robust learning structure must absolutely be preserved.

Looking for help on what to prune and what to preserve? Look no further than your public course instructors -- chances are they're already streamlining your courseware to better suit customer needs. Or "hire" a session of public course attendees to stay after class and help you single out the course content that is most job-critical and challenging to learn.

Be up front with online learners concerning where you've chosen to abbreviate your standard classroom learning content, offering them an alternate route for filling in any gaps. This is especially critical if learners are seeking to pass a certification exam.

All of which is not to say that some course authors won't relish the opportunity to convert their pet course to an abbreviated online format -- and do a bang up job of it. But, if you're picking up other signals, then jump in and shuffle the deck.

Remember, if your course authors feel that online learning is something less than classroom learning, then you shouldn't be surprised when customers feel they should pay less for it!

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