You must have heard the story of blind men, touching different parts of an elephant, and concluding different things.
Well, this doesn't hold true in the case of complete learning.
“ If the same person touched all the parts in a bid to know in entirety, variably knowing that the context is an animal, the person would have reached the right conclusion that it is an elephant.”
Microlearning evolved from the theories of learning and depends on the two basic propositions of learning:
(a) Every small chunk of learning has a context of its own.
(b) The learner would be self-motivated to seek out and complete the learning they need.
Microlearning basically intends to
- deal more of the less
- drive out proper chunks of information, having a micro-context of its own
- motivate the learners to complete their learning
These short bursts of bite-sized learnings have proved to be more effective in knowledge retention, engagement, often creating levels of curiosity, that complete learnings cant afford. It is especially helpful when the learner needs to do something specific in the entire process. Microlearning helps overcome cognitive overload and improves retention.
What is Microlearning?
According to Mosel (2005), microlearning deals with relatively small learning units and short-term learning activities. Microlearning ideally will require microcontent, for example, in the form of e-learning media as well as weblog postings. Comparing macro and microlearning, the former focus on the big picture and a complete learning series, while the latter is very short and there is a specific focus or skill that needs to be learned in a precise moment of need (Gutierrez 2017). The main principle of microlearning is to divide huge complex information into many small pieces and try to make them as easy as possible. The content consists of only the main and necessary parts with good examples of the things to be learned. This makes work very easy. Students learn a small part of the information in a few seconds (e.g., in mobile learning) to 15 minutes (e.g., learning objects sent as e-mails) and then practice it. By using this method, students learn step by step until all the vital knowledge is transferred. This is the way the brain acquires knowledge. When a student knows enough about a certain topic, the lecturer can deals with more complex things, knowing the students already grab the basic knowledge. (Aitchanov, 2012) Microlearning is enjoying rapid growth and importance among the changing management and learning professionals. It is the most suitable method for the latest learning system. The search for the right technology has been the core concept of microlearning.
Source: “The paradigm shift to microlearning and its design principles” disediakan oleh asni nor rizwan abdul rani p89276 muhammad zahid bin ali siddik p89407.
Further in the paper, it says...
According to Petrone (2017), there are six main benefits of microlearning. Firstly, it’s the most common way people learn and people learn as needed. When they have some pressing situation but not so complex matter like how to for example how to share a Facebook post, microlearning fits in perfectly. We do need to attend a physical class for the simple task when a three-minute video will suffice.
Secondly, it meets the learner expectations. People today are accustomed to searching for something and quickly finding an answer. And the average attention span has dropped drastically over the years, meaning people want that answer quickly. That is where microlearning fits it. it meets that expectation, which increases learner satisfaction.
Thirdly, the on-demand nature of microlearning empowers learners to learn at any time. For microlearning to be successful, it has to be on-demand. For example, if a person wants to know how to say “how are you ?” in Malay, he can use the online google translator, complete with voice.
Fourthly, microlearning ensures people are getting good information. A designated microlearning content is more reliable than by using the open information from Google search, whereas if unfortunate, the content may be 6 questionable. Having strong, microlearning content means the intended target learners are always getting the right information.
The fifth advantage is it is cost-effective. Offering microlearning content to the intended learners is obviously much cheaper than sending them to a course every time they have an issue. Since developing a microsite and initiating the microlearning is relatively cheap, the return of investment (ROI) may far outweigh the cost of having microlearning content and learning.
Finally, the sixth advantage is it is easy to promote learning content to the mass. Once uploaded, a microcontent will be available around the e-world very fast. A person can make do with a PowerPoint presentation but how far can it reached the mass by this offline method. With the right promotion, an online microcontent will be much more assessable to the world.
Now, when you are designing a topic or office module for microlearning, there are ratified design principles along with certain essentials that you need to take care of.
Choose the topic to be made into micro-modules and frame the context for each micro-module in a way that one module points to the learning of the other module. Choose your content wisely and don't condense all the content available for a topic in one module. Incorporate one idea, concept, process, or theme per module. Use graphics, animations, powerpoints, infographics, and visual cues to elaborate each idea in the module in detail. You need to categorize content based on the complexity, the depth of information to be provided, and the ideas, concepts, principles, or themes along with the learning abilities ( generally accessed through psychometric tests and initials tests of knowledge) of the test group. Keep well-defined takeaways from each module.
Microlearning can be best exemplified in corporate training where learning is seemingly not a separate task, but a part of everyday work. The learning is seamlessly integrated into the work. Moreover, learning becomes not a task but an activity to update oneself in the process. Microlearning is a facilitator for all kinds of instructional design modules, cutting down the complexities and the weight of learning. The microcontent designed for each module of microlearning has a separate learning outcome as compared to the whole topic. These micro nuggets of information can stand on its own.
Microlearning modules can be imparted in several interactive ways.
- Short interactive video
- Interactive PDFs.
- Flipbooks and more.
While working on Microlearning at LexiConn, I learned that the axiomatic position that one needs to hold while creating microlearning modules is that ‘less is more’. The content aptly fits the digital medium and is generally designed to be below 10 minutes of learning. It is generally effective in the present-day world, where we are constantly bombarded with distractions, and grabbing attention span is a difficulty.
Now, as a trainer for an organization, you want to create microlearning modules. How to do it?
Every process has some basic workable knowledge and based on that higher advanced knowledge of the process.
For example; If you are a trainer of third party collections, the workable basic knowledge is that which the collection guy uses every day like
- Recording the details of the payments made in a particular style on the company sheets.
- Communicating to customers about the payment overdue and the process through which they can make the payments
- And many more…….
Now, the advanced or higher level of knowledge is devising out a specific payment collection module based on the customer profile, different collection modules being employed in the organization, and the task force environment of the organization affecting the collections.
So, once if you identify the hierarchy of the knowledge of the process, segmenting for training purposes becomes easy.
Now, when you are dealing with topics, certain portions or certain concepts require much more visualization and explanation owing to their complexity. These portions of the topics need to be made into a separate module with audio-visual sessions, quizzes, charts, practice sessions, and so on.
Now, the third one comes straight from the working process of the organization. Even after training, certain areas of the process are there where a large section of employees falters. These sections need to be created into a separate module with complete elaboration. Well, these were my observations and conclusions during a short stint with iQOR, as an employee in the collection process.
Well, these are three basic ones but there can be multiple more based on the learning need of your audience.