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The Short and Shorter of Instructional Design

Can you communicate useful instructions in 140 characters or less?

That's the question Jane Hart asks in her blog post, "Instructional design in 140 characters #140id." Jane references the Twitter account @cookbook, where Maureen Evans shares recipes as tweets, as an example of 140 character instructional design, and wonders if that concept could be adapted to other knowledge domains.

6 Second Abs ProgramI've been wondering about very short instructional design as well. Twitter recently introduced Vine, a mobile service (currently available for iPhone and iPod touch) that lets you capture and share short (limited to six seconds) looping videos. Since I first heard about Vine, I have been wondering if it is possible to create useful instructional content in a six second video.

I searched the term "learn" on the VineRoulette website. I didn't find any actual instructions, but I did find that several educators have shared Vine videos. A search for "how to vine" on Twitter yielded some better examples like, "How to jailbreak iOS 6.1 with evasi0n in 6 seconds."

Jane Hart has offered a challenge to write "a tweet that contains the instructions for doing something – either on a work-based or personal topic?" The tweets are being grouped using the hashtag #140id.

I'd like to extend that challenge. Can you communicate useful instructions in a Vine video? Give it a try, and share your video on twitter with the hashtag #vineid. (Note to Android users: Vine is working on an Android version of their app. Keep the challenge in mind and keep your eye out for Vine on Android).

- Bob Bertsch

(Photo: "6 *SECOND* ABS Program," courtesy Seamus Walsh.)


Thanks for your comment, Jeff. I know it is hard to imagine teaching someone something in 6 seconds, but 10 years ago I worked with people who were convinced there was no way to teach anything in a 2 minute video or a 200 word blog post. The communication goal posts are moving as media saturation increases and attention span decreases. I think communicators and educators need to think about how we need to adjust.

Posted by Bob Bertsch on March 01, 2013 at 08:17 AM CST #

Can you communicate useful instructions in a Vine video?

Posted by rias on December 02, 2013 at 06:56 AM CST #

The communication goal posts are moving as media saturation increases and attention span decreases.

Posted by kantor on December 02, 2013 at 06:57 AM CST #

New generation of people with a 6 second attention span. Anyway, great article.

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