Ever felt like you were told to learn or study something that you considered “busy work” and felt as if it were a waste of your time? Gone are the days where teachers supply endless amounts of reading or “busy work” in the hopes that learners gain knowledge through a variety of repetitive educational activities. With technology at our fingertips, textbooks are no longer the main source of information; information is only a click away. Learners can now browse the internet looking for whatever information they need with just a few clicks.
As a result, modern learners tend to have a shorter attention span than older generations. Fortunately, microlearning has emerged as an effective way to cater to the needs of modern learners who crave convenient, personalized, and skill-oriented content.
In both traditional classroom and workplace learning settings, instructors and training managers find they need to innovate in order to continually provide the optimal educational experience as learner needs and preferences change. Read on to learn more about microlearning, how micro-lessons and micro-video can empower your organization to deliver better learning content, and how you can effectively create and manage microlearning content.
What Is Microlearning?
Microlearning is an approach to training and education that uses small, focused training assets to help the learner accomplish a specific need. Where conventional lessons may emphasize theory and a long-term curriculum, micro-lessons are focused on actionable skills and knowledge that can be applied quickly after the lesson is complete. These are some characteristics of effective microlearning lessons:
- Timely: One of the most important advantages of this type of education is the opportunity for learners to engage in lessons at the exact time they need them. In other words, it is just-in-time learning. This facilitates the transfer of knowledge into real-world action.
- Targeted: A conventional lesson may cover a topic comprehensively including background, theory and other relevant information. Conversely, a micro-lesson is highly targeted and focuses only on what the learning needs to know in the moment.
- Self-Driven: The best platforms for micro-lesson delivery are self-driven. This enhances the timeliness and targeting of the educational content. Learners are empowered to access a variety of lessons when they need them.
- Responsive: For any lesson to be effective, it needs to provide useful feedback to learners in a timely manner. In a micro-setting, this is even more important. Therefore, the best micro-lessons are responsive to learning needs.
Well-managed micro-lessons can produce excellent, measurable results. The immediacy of the content makes it easier to apply compared to more conventional training.
What Are the Benefits of Microlearning Videos?
A micro-lesson can be delivered in any medium. However, video is the most popular way of delivering this type of training. Combined with the right learning management system (LMS), video can offer all the above advantages and more. These are some of the benefits of video:
- Fast-Paced: Learners can get through videos relatively quickly, especially when they are short and focused. Audio-visual content is typically easier to digest in a short timespan than textual or graphical content. This is ideal for training on the micro-scale.
- Easily Created: Video can be easily created. Compared to writing out an effective lesson, it is often easier for instructors to record themselves talking. This is especially true for the simple, succinct videos that are popular in the micro-setting.
- Deeper Than Text: Video can be used to convey more information than text. It combines visual and audio content. In addition to being more information-dense, this combination also helps participants with different learning styles.
- Interactive: Video, especially when combined with LMS tools, can be more interactive than text and images. It gives users more ways to control what they are seeing and when. Additionally, some enhanced video platforms let instructors include quizzes and other interactive components in videos.
- Trackable: With textual and graphical training content, it is difficult to know what learners have interacted with. However, video is much simpler. It is simple to track data on which videos have been watched and for how long. This provides valuable information to educators or training managers.
These benefits make video ideal for the micro-lesson environment. Whether in a corporate or classroom setting, micro-video can be a powerful education tool.
How Can You Create and Manage Microlearning Content?
When incorporating microlearning content into your digital learning program, you need to primarily look at the way you deliver information as the expectation of the learner has changed. Instructors must be aware of how they are compiling their course content to reach new types of learners. Microlearning was established out of necessity to help bridge the gap between traditional and the more modern method of learning and to deliver content in compact, veritable bursts. During microlearning, learners are not guided in the same way as in traditional learning, as they are the ones in control of what they learn and when they learn it.
Turning content into microlearning isn’t as simple as breaking it into smaller chunks and expecting success. Creating content that is considered microlearning takes organization and deliberate action. There are essential things to consider when creating such content:
You first need to remember that there is only one learning objective associated with each activity. This way, the learner can focus on what is necessary and not become bogged down with too many learning objectives which completely defeats the purpose of microlearning.
Quality over Quantity
Next, how do you present smaller amounts of content? Since microlearning lends itself more to the mediated environments, consider using technology. We live in a world where most individuals have access to devices and many watch videos daily, so media is an excellent way to present content. Online learning has created opportunities for people to learn at their own pace when it is convenient for them. Microlearning helps by providing short presentations that an individual can learn when it fits their schedule.
Be mindful though that the quality of your presentation is key. Because of the advancements in technology, people expect a good quality presentation. If the quality is subpar, then the learner is less likely to be engaged. Spend some time ensuring that what you created and presented is worth their time because, in the end, it is the learner that you are serving.
Another item to keep in mind is the timing of your presentation. Since this is microlearning, presentations should be kept short so as to not lose the attention of the learner. You want them to stay focused which aids in the retention of information. Keep videos under 10 minutes. With that said, don’t include non-pertinent information that simply adds more time to your presentation. Keep the information “short and sweet” only delivering information that is truly necessary in order to meet that particular learning objective. If you find your presentation is becoming too long, consider breaking it down into multiple lessons.
Evaluating and Measuring Success
Lastly, include assessments and evaluations of microlearning in order to evaluate what the student has learned. You must show that learning has actually taken place, but instead of a quiz why not have them do something more to demonstrate what they’ve learned using tools that they already have in place? Usingtheir personal devices to give a small video or audio podcast, create infographics, or engage in topic–based simulations or gaming in order to earn badges are just a few ways that mastery of content can be shown from your learners.
If you’ve not thought about microlearning for your own course, maybe it is time. Microlearning offers learners a dynamic and engaging way to easily digest courses and trainings. Additionally, the open-source Moodle and Totara learning platforms allow learning professionals to integrate microlearning content into your learning strategy using a streamlined workflow that can be managed from a single interface. This makes it easy to create impactful learning experiences where instructors and subject-matter experts can quickly create or access short-form training courses and content and deploy it within the LMS.
To learn more about creating microlearning videos in your LMS, check out our educational webinar, Easily Create Microlearning Videos in Moodle and Totara. Or, schedule an individual demonstration to speak with one of our eLearning experts.