Why does a class last an hour? Why does a TED talk last 18 minutes? Why does an MBA take two years?
Could it be that the default lesson length has something to do with the cost of switching rooms, which makes it inefficient to have really short lessons? Or the high cost of physical space, which makes it expensive to have really long ones… Perhaps length is a function of switching costs and bureaucracy structure…
One side effect of the low switching costs and high availability of choice on the web is that people are discovering things in 600-second bursts.
What would happen if we started to do this on purpose? Learn a math lesson, understand a social history movement, learn something about human nature, five minutes have gone by…
Or what if we chose to dive in really deep, deeper than the real world would ordinarily tolerate. Five hours on a topic that might only get three minutes on a typical curriculum… or a month-long interactive seminar designed to teach something that's almost never taught.
I don't think learning is defined by a building or a certificate. It's defined by a posture, a mindset and actions taken.
It's still early days in figuring out the best way to transfer knowledge. The length of a class ought not to be set in stone. (For the very same reason that meetings at work should never last an hour).