Updated: Aug 15
Did you know that students only remember 21% of what is taught to them – just after a month? In an age and time where the attention span of an average human being is lesser than that of a goldfish, this statistic doesn’t surprise us at all!
Remember when Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) first came into existence? Who knew such bite-sized and easily digestible learning modules would become a trend in the online education industry. The term MOOC was coined in 2008.
It has been almost a decade since this phenomenon by storm – giving people from all age groups and educational backgrounds a chance to learn something new, and not necessarily about academics or college-level courses. This point brings us to microlearning.
What is microlearning exactly?
It is a method of learning via short, bite-sized modules through the digital mediums. It helps in faster consumption and increased retention of information as large chunks of complex data are broken down into manageable pieces of information.
Three major characteristics of micro-learning are as follows:
Brevity: Micro-learning sessions are short, but with no defined duration.
Granularity: It focuses on one topic, concept or idea.
Variety: It can be in the form of a game, presentation, quiz, video, etc.
How important is microlearning in formal education?
We would say – very! The underlying premise of this concept that every human being learns differently – which means every student has a different way of consuming information. It is the versatility of microlearning that draws the learning community comprising students, teachers, corporate employees, etc. to it.
And since everything is so digitized around us, we are always being exposed to micro-content. In simple words, we are consuming information continuously, no matter where we are. If used in the right way, the education sector can benefit greatly from microlearning. Here’s how:
1. Short attention span? No problem.
A 2003 NCBI study indicates that we can typically tolerate just 4-8 minutes of factual lecture before we start to seek other forms of stimuli. 14 years later, the situation hasn’t changed even a bit. Luckily, this short span of time is long enough to consume a micro-learning module in any digital format properly.
2. Microlearning literally beats time
Since they are bite-sized, it is not just easy to consume them but also producing them is a quick process. With the turnaround time of a typical textbook is 5 years, there are chances of redundancy by the time it goes for print. But with microlearning, it is possible to absorb data in real-time!
3. Digital content can be accessed from anywhere
Microlearning and digital media go hand-in-hand. This means you can learn and assess yourself from anywhere – while on-the-go. It takes off the pressure of sitting at one place to study!
4. Learn at your own pace
Since every student has a different pace of learning, microlearning enables everyone to learn at a speed they are most comfortable with. The students can watch, read or listen the module as many times as they want. There’s no hurry. There’s no competition.
Three methods of applying microlearning in the classroom
It is a presentation method that relies more on visuals than on written text. It typically consists of 20 images/slides and the presenter takes about 1 minute to explain each image/slide. It is a good fit for microlearning because it focuses on a specific timescale and can accommodate condensed content – which makes it easier to consume.
This mobile platform provides unparalleled distribution, and with the advent of machine learning and artificial intelligence, offers an opportunity to highly personalize the learning content for every individual. Oust makes learning fast, fun, and exciting by using sports, movies, and local languages to engage learners from all backgrounds.
They offer a perfect representation of photos, statistics text and design – all the elements which make them so appealing! An infographic typically has tons of information, designed beautifully and condensed, much to the learner’s delight!
Dos and dont’s of implementing microlearning in the classroom
While the concept of microlearning seems to be interesting, it is important to keep a few guidelines in mind for it to be a successful endeavour:
1. It has to be interactive
If it is not, then there’s no difference between microlearning and traditional forms of learning. If a student finds the microlearning module boring, then the purpose is lost.
2. It won’t click instantly
It will take a while to choose the right device and the right size of the microlearning module. Microlearning is a customized educational solution and it is effective only when the student has found the right type.
3. Don’t lose sight of the goal
Since there is so much data out there, it can get difficult to keep track of the things a student actually wants to learn. Hence, it is advised to never lose sight of the goal.
4. Set an objective
The reason it is important to set an objective for every module is to make sure the learner doesn’t try to push 30 minutes’ worth of information into just 5 minutes or less.
The main aim of microlearning is to enable the students to learn in a healthier and smarter fashion. It is a definite “yes” in the world of formal education.