Microlearning

Teaching strategies

Microlearning: A guide for classroom practitioners

Microlearning – used mainly in the workplace, students access short ‘nuggets’ of information on a regular basis.

Microlearning is something of a buzzword in the e-learning and HR community. The premise behind microlearning is that people are remarkably busy and distracted – few people can sit down for weeks on end to learn something. In the workplace, it is costly and sometimes impossible to allow staff to take time off work to attend training sessions. When they do attend training sessions, the majority of the content is either not relevant, poorly presented or quickly forgotten.

The solution to these problems is microlearning. Microlearning involves providing a large number of highly targeted ‘nuggets’ that are digitally available to students for when they have time to learn. Students (usually employees) can learn what they need to learn. Each nugget is a video, game or resource that is short (2-5 minutes), very specific and useful. A short test (such as a multiple-choice quiz) is used to ensure that the student understands the microlearning content. The advantage of these ‘nuggets’ is that employees are more likely to engage in short learning activities than they would longer activities (such as watching a 2-hour lecture).i

Microlearning involves providing a large number of highly targeted ‘nuggets’ that are digitally available to students for when they have time to learn.

Microlearning:

  • usually includes video or audio content
  • often includes an easy test
  • can be created quickly and easily
  • has ultra-specific goals and content (a single message)
  • includes records of participation
  • rewards participation
  • content is accessible 24/7 via any type of device
  • includes games and fun activities
  • can simply be a collection of videos in a folder or based in an LMS
  • can be linked to performance management and professional development plans
  • can be used for revision and consolidation
  • promotes autonomy and self-directed learning by providing choices
  • allows employees to develop expertise in their areas of interest
  • can teach information that is otherwise boring and avoided (such as policies).
Traditional learning compared to Micro learning

In a traditional workplace, employees train a few times per year in blocks. In a microlearning workplace, employees learn on a regular basis – continually improving and adding to their expertise while practising what they have learnt on a weekly basis. Many workplaces combine both traditional approaches and microlearning.

Hint: a new kid on the block is micro-credentialing, which is similar to micro-learning. Micro-credentialing involves learning a short, specific skill in order to receive a micro-credential for that skill. Governments around the world have started to think about incorporating micro-credentials into their respected awards and qualifications hierarchy to keep pace with the changing face of consumer expectations and the demands of the modern learner.

Foot notes:

  1. Paul, A.M. (2016). Microlearning 101. HR Magazine, 61(4), 36

About the author

Image of the managing director of ITAC.

ADAM GREEN

Adam Green is an advisor to government, a registered teacher, an instructional designer and a #1 best selling author. He is completing a Doctor of Education and was previously head of department for one of the country’s largest SAER (students at educational risk) schools. Adam is managing director of ITAC, an accredited training provider for thousands of teacher aides every year.

Source: Teaching Skills and Strategies for the Modern Classroom: 100+ research-based strategies for both novice and experienced practitioners. Amazon #1 best seller in the category of Classroom Management.

Disclaimer: While every effort has been made to check his article for accuracy, information may be outdated, inaccurate or not relevant to you and your location/employer/contract. It is not intended as legal or professional advice. Users should seek expert advice such as by contacting the relevant education department, should make their own enquiries, and should not rely on any of the information provided.

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