Every classroom has learners or students who appear bored and detached, who don’t complete courses, or who, if questioned, don’t know or have not understood the concept. Learning suffers when students are bored, disinterested and demotivated. It has been observed that engaged learners are happier, more productive, and more committed.
Microlearning is one of the most effective ways to transform disengaged students into engaged learners. Microlearning is a way of teaching and delivering content to learners in small, very specific bursts, with the learners having control of what and when they are learning. The approach involves short-term focused strategies, usually specially designed for skills-based learning/education. Generally, the microlearning process can span from a few seconds to 15 minutes or more. Additionally, this approach to learning is usually cheaper to build, quicker to deploy, and can be used as a standalone asset or as a multiple micro-course. Although it is short, it is designed to meet a specific learning outcome.
Microlearning refers to learning through byte-sized content. In microlearning, the entire course topics are broken into smaller pieces of either video, audio, texts, or infographic content. Video and audio sessions are generally 5-10 minutes in duration. Typically designed in rich media formats, it is a learner-centric approach that provides just-in-time training that is available on multiple devices (extending to Tablets and Smartphones besides Desktops and Laptops). All these aspects ensure that it can be easily accessed, quickly completed, and applied by the learners.
So let’s take a look at how microlearning improves learning outcomes:
Improves Learner Participation/Better Engagement
With the use of microlearning, the students are better engaged with the content; it makes use of small quizzes which pops out after every single sub-topic. This helps the student to understand the concept and the gaps in learning.
Increased Retention/Effective Absorption
Microlearning makes use of engaging content designed in the form of infographic/flashcharts, byte sized animated videos, interesting theory and more, which attracts attention of students and leads to better retention of contents.
Easy to update Content
In the microlearning based E-Learning system, the content is broken up into small length sub-topics which helps in updating content. An update in a sub-topic does not effects other topics, also it saves time and effort invested in updating content.
Diversified Learning through Single Objective
Microlearning makes use of diversified type of contents like infographics, attractive theory, byte sized animated video etc. It makes learning effective as all these diversified contents are designed to focus on a single objective.
Optimal Utilisation of Time
Microlearning divides the learning process into small intervals of time of 5-15 minutes each which helps the student to utilise even the smallest amount of time.
Microlearning is designed to divide the syllabus and topics into smaller sub-topics and understand those topics in short period of time intervals. The shorter time intervals of study increases the learning efficiency of students and the outcomes of learning automatically improve.
Faster & Sequential Access
The access to study material is quiet easy due to extreme modularisation. The syllabus is divided into topics and sub-topics with buttons like doubts, revision, bookmarks etc which leads to faster access of contents.
In microlearning, emphasis is always given to personalisation as this technology ensures every click and tick is recorded. This personalisation helps the student to understand the gaps and differences in learning and mastering concepts.
Humans have lesser attention span than a goldfish, according to a Microsoft study conducted in 2015 which shows that a goldfish can stay interested in something for nine seconds while humans, on an average, clock in at 8 seconds – down from 12 seconds in 2000 and is getting shorter all the time. Microlearning has been found to be most effective at no more than 5 minutes using less than 500 words with interaction and assessment built into that time frame. If a learner is asked to do something, they must be paying attention and the attention clock resets.
Microlearning addresses the needs, the motivation, and the learning style of the learner. If someone is a morning person, they will be far less attentive if the instruction is given at night. If someone needs to know something at a particular point in time, they will be very attentive and motivated.
Another noteworthy feature of microlearning is that all the modules are available for review later. If a concept is fuzzy and needs clarification, it will be easy to go back and view it again. Keeping all of this mobile-compatible is critical, since people don’t walk around with their computers, but everyone has a smartphone. At the same time, microlearning empowers the learner by making a learner autonomous and instills a sense of being trusted to learn the concepts without a teacher or classroom.
There are innumerable examples where Microlearning has paved the path for success. To cite an example, recently a student preparing for NEET living in a remote location opted for a microlearning package. The student was good in other subjects but he was somewhat weak in Physics. While studying with the microlearning study package, he discovered he wasn’t actually weak in Physics but he was weak in basic mathematical concepts like bodmas, integration, differentiation, approximation etc. Microlearning technology helped him to figure out his weaknesses and helped him to improve upon them, which resulted in his selection in NEET 2018 with AIR 28. Cheers to Microlearning Technology.
The rise of microlearning can be attributed to the growing millennial workforce. This generation is extremely comfortable using technology and is more inclined to use resources that make life easier and more convenient. Research suggests that though the millennial generation is advanced in its use of technology, they are limited by short attention spans. For them consuming long and exhaustive training material is not only difficult, but also less likely to weld positive learning outcomes. Hence, microlearning which uses multimedia elements such as gamification, game-based learning, videos, audio elements, etc. to present precise, short, and consumable content is more likely to bear positive learning results.
The author is Persainjit Singh,CEO, Selfstudy – an innovative learning platform that promotes self study by curating best educational content with adaptive assessments and personalised feedback.