The Science Behind Phone Numbers


Do you know why phone numbers are written like the Brainier office phone number 800-487-3393, with the breaks in the numbers?  Research released in 1956 by Dr. George Miller shows the human brain remembers information better when it is presented in small pieces. The strategy of breaking down information into bite-sized pieces so the brain can better digest new information is called “chunking”.  The reason the brain needs this assistance is because of working memory, which is the equivalent of being mentally online, holds a limited amount of information at one time.  Simply put, taking in too much information at one time leads to information overload.

The strategy of chunking is hitting the learning field now, and there are a number of different names for it:

Ø  Chunked learning

Ø  Bite-sized learning

Ø  Microlearning

Ø  Learning niblets

They all mean the same thing and refer to breaking down learning long learning courses into small, bite-sized learning courses.

In an article, “In Learning, Size Matters” published by the CLO Magazine, author Malcolm Poulin comments that chunked learning “satisfies immediate knowledge needs to enable performance,” “It facilitates learning acquisition and is just enough.”

A poll of roughly 200 learning and development practitioners in February showed that more than 90 percent agreed that they will be looking to create smaller learning experiences in 2014.

One way to do this is to offer your learners courses that only have one learning objective or one learning topic per course.  Your learners will learn more, will retain the learning and be able to apply the learning on the job.  All of Vado’s courses are chunked learning, covering just one learning topic per course.


By Cindy Pascale, Vado, Inc., CEO