Can microlearning improve student's engagement? Is it more advantageous compared to traditional ways of delivering content? Should microlearning be used in every single course? The article was originally published at https://elearningindustry.com/advantages-of-microlearning-really-worth-trouble
Lately, there’s been much debate regarding the differences of microlearning and "full content learning". Let’s clear something out. Both solutions demand a substantial amount of time to be developed and require skillful content creators and Instructional Designers who will also take into consideration the pedagogical aspects of learning. So the question arises. Is microlearning really worth it?
Let's first clarify what microlearning is. Let me give you an example. Have you ever opened a bag of chips? When was it that you realized that you had consumed the whole product? Well, the question most of the time is rhetorical. Only after you had consumed every single bit, you could begin understanding that you had actually eaten everything inside. It is normal since "after you pop, you can’t stop". The same applies to eLearning. Microlearning is like those chips. You can consume bits of information without recognizing the fact that you’ve been fed the whole time by the course’s material. According to Tom Kuhlmann (The Rapid E-learning Blog, 2015)
"The trend in online learning is small, digestible chunks. Some people call it YouTube learning. The trend makes sense. We’re using more and more mobile devices where quick hit training works better and chunked content is easier to process".
Thus, microlearning breaks information content into small, easy and fast to consume parts. Microlearning focuses on helping learners achieve one discrete objective, about 5-8 minutes each, making it a little different than mini-courses, which break large courses into smaller modules (What Is Micro-Learning? n.d). Microlearning content has to be presented in many different forms. For example, a combination of presentations, activities, games, forum discussions, videos, quizzes, book chapters could really enhance the whole concept (Malamed, 2015). It should also be noted that a gamification system applies better to microlearning courses since the learner can easily be awarded rewards because the activities and assignment are meant to be shorter compared to regular courses, effectively leading to higher engagement of the students.
There is a variety of benefits that are connected with microlearning:
Microlearning is considered to be the ideal solution towards both adult learners (since they have a shorter attention span) and digital natives (this term is widely debated nowadays though) who love quick videos and short games (Pandey, 2016). After all it so fast-paced that it won’t disrupt people as a full day of training or even a three-hour webinar.
Unlike old versions of Moodle courses that used to be full of text and exercises, modern courses need to be enriched with appealing media that lead to better retention of knowledge. Besides, the content has to be as interactive as possible in order to immerse the learner and cultivate into him or her a sense of ownership of the content.
Since those huge texts are not the case, it is more probable that the rich media and the content that these media represent is more likely to match the individual needs of every student (Pandey, 2016). After all the course is meant to help the learner and offer one certain skill. The tutor’s role is to provide assistance and guide the student who shouldn’t be bombarded with information.
Another benefit of effective microlearning is that it enables a person to quickly close a small knowledge gap. This way, the learner needs are taken into consideration since one can really fast locate the exact type of information required precisely at the moment of demand (Malamed, 2015).
Since the information is "chopped" into small bits, it is easier for the course designer to take those bits and insert them into new courses without having to put the initial development effort. This eventually will lead to reduced budget costs since the content has already been created in a previous stage.
Is microlearning the ideal solution though for every single field and area? The answer is no. With its emphasis on small bits of learning, it is not so great when it’s essential to have a holistic view of the training material. The flow of information in microlearning courses is not so smooth compared to bigger courses so the user may not be able to connect disparate elements into one coherent picture. Before deciding which one to use make sure to understand your audience’s previous level of expertise on the subject and adjust the creation process accordingly.
Malamed, C. (2015). Is Microlearning The Solution You Need?. Retrieved May 20, 2018, from http://theelearningcoach.com/elearning2-0/what-is-microlearning/
Pandey, A. (2016). 10 Benefits Of Microlearning-Based Training. Retrieved April 19, 2017, from https://elearningindustry.com/10-benefits-microlearning-based-training
Kuhlmann, T. (2015). The Rapid E-learning Blog. Retrieved April 25, 2018, from http://blogs.articulate.com/rapid-elearning/how-long-e-learning-course/
What Is Micro-Learning?. (n.d). Retrieved May 21, 2018, from https://community.articulate.com/articles/what-is-micro-learning?utm_source=facebook&utm_medium=social&utm_campaign=elh-101