Attention span of learners is dropping as the technology is advancing. This leads to digital skills gap costing the U.S. economy $1.3 trillion in lost productivity (equivalent to a loss of $10,000 per employee) per year. Therefore, there’s an ever-growing need for novel and better ways to teach, learn, and train the 21st century workforce – and microlearning is a solution.
Microlearning is a new form of learning enhanced by technology, where a learner goes through a small chunk of learning content at a time.
Microlearning has consistently achieved higher rates of improvement in performance, value, and return on investment over traditional methods of training. And on top of that, the bite-size approach is significantly faster, easier, and cheaper to produce. The benefits to both the learner and trainer are numerous, including offering science-backed methods to shrink the digital skills gap in today’s workplace. As per Miller, human brain can store 7 +/- 2 items in short-term memory. That is, we can retrieve small chunks of information quicker than the complete details of it. Hence, microlearning puts less cognitive overload on the learners.
We are getting used to microlearning without being aware of it. Learning can be fun and less tiresome through microlearning. This method of learning is well applied when one improves vocabulary using flash cards or learning a musical instrument using musical notations. Some more examples of microlearning are:
- Flash cards to memorize the properties of an object
- Multiple choice questions sent to mobile phones as SMS with an option to reply the answer
- Screensavers that prompt a small topic to think about or pose a trivial/serious question
- A simple update or assignment tweeted to the students
Some Sample use cases on Microlearning
This is an inspiring case study about a company called NexLearn, which successfully used “Micro-Learning Objects” — a subscription-based learning nuggets program — to reinforce previously-encountered learning objectives on stroke prevention and atrial fibrillation to board-certified family physicians after an in-class learning experience.
This contains seven interesting case studies that demonstrate how participants at Training Magazine Events applied micro-learning ideas to produce measurable business results.
This is a brief video created as a part of the 6th International Micro Learning Conference in which Luvai F Motiwalla (Professor of Management, University of Massachusetts, USA) shares his vision about micro learning.
This is the video recording of a panel discussion (conducted by La Salle University College of Professional and Continuing Studies) that explores the pros and cons of micro learning. Though lengthy, the discussion touches upon some interesting aspects of this learning approach.
Coursmos is the world’s first learning platform that supports micro learning. It hosts several hundreds of micro-courses – online courses that are broken down into smaller, more manageable chunks. These courses are characterized by minutes-long lessons that can be taken while on the move.
Cognibloom is a social micro learning tool that empowers people to share their expertise by helping them create social quizzes.
Yammer is a popular enterprise micro learning tool that helps employees collaborate across departments and locations within organizations.