What is Microlearning?

What is Microlearning?

What do you think of when someone mentions learning or training courses? A mass amount of reading materials? Endless lectures? Role-playing? That can be perceived as a circle of hell for some people. What if there was a way that you can learn or train that did not involve chaining yourself to a desk? Let us introduce you to Microlearning. This in not a new style of learning – in fact, microlearning is a common strategy that is used in training and e-learning to help improve knowledge in a shorter space of time.

MACRO VS MICRO:  We are all familiar with spending years sitting in a classroom whether it be at school, college or university; and we are all familiar with feeling bored or have had moments where it felt like we were not retaining anything. Our school or university days are the perfect example of ‘macrolearning’: learning topics over several hours, usually with others, and being examined at the end. In business, macrolearning can be time consuming, due to the more complex nature of the learning; it can also be more expensive, due to the need for coaches or mentors and the increased hours. Although, microlearning does have its place – it can be particularly useful during the onboarding process for new employees. Yet, research has shown that people learn better when information is broken down into smaller chunks – you may or may not remember the advice, that it is better to revise information in shorter bursts than trying to cram everything into your brain at the one time!  Microlearning, gives people the opportunity to learn material in shorter episodes.

Microlearning is flexible, and when combined with modern technology, it can easily be done can be done at work, at home and on the move. With most learners having access to mobile devices, microlearning can take shape in a variety of methods:

  • VIDEO: This format is perfect for learning on the go, as millions, perhaps billions, of videos are downloaded and viewed daily across the globe. Videos are ideal for showing demonstrations and tutorials of course material. Research has shown that learners have a higher success rate of retaining information through visual learning, either with still or video images.
  • PODCASTS: These pre-recorded audio programmes have continued to increase in popularity since their inception, and they presented the perfect opportunity to allow people to learn in short bursts while on the go.
  • QUIZZES: Providing a quiz not only gives a fun element to learning, but it can also give the learner instant feedback on their progress – seeing where their strengths and weaknesses are.
  • GAMES: Speaking of fun – have you considered introducing games to your learning? This method is perfect for tasks that involve problem solving or critical thinking.

Although microlearning generally provides a positive learning experience, it is not always suitable. More complex materials and skills development still require the old school classroom setting due to the nature of the material. Microlearning may not be a preferred method for individual learners either – some individuals may feel that they learn better with a more formal, classroom-based setting.

Microlearning may mean that you can learn in a shorter space of time, but that does not mean that you can speed through creating the content for it.  Do not be fooled into thinking that creating microlearning is easy. Time is needed to ensure that quality learning content is produced.

It looks like microlearning is here to stay –  and if you are interested in introducing bite-sized learning to your courses, get in touch to see how we can help.

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