Taking a look at the books of Stanislas Dehaene* (Reading in the Brain, The Number Sense), I picked up on his mention of rapid sequential visual presentation (RSVP) which uses the ability of a computer screen to display reading material at a single point of visual fixation, thus saving the eye muscles from having to shift fixation (saccade), allowing for dramatic improvements in word-per-minute reading speeds (from 300 wpm to over 500 wpm).
Give it a try at Spreeder.com.
In my own experience, the presentation of some MOOC course lectures on YouTube allowed for use of the HTML5 video player with variable speeds. Add this extension to Chrome and press D a few times to have your YouTube video play faster. Try at least 1.4X, then move up to 2X. You can probably still follow the presentation -- and get through your video lectures in half the time.
This raises questions about just how fast material can be presented as text, audio and video and still be understood. Here's a paper, CinemaGrazer: a System for Watching Videos at Very High Speed, which involved such experiments:
From this, it looks like video can sustain "subjective understanding" at much higher playback speeds (over 5.5X) than speech (1X) or subtitles (3X).
Does an ability to understand high speed video have implications for the format of Global Learning XPRIZE app content? Or is it more important to find an appropriate speed for the most appropriate type of content as a learner's skills increase?
* member of the Manzalab team