Information is continuous. As we go about our day-to-day lives, information flows through streams of knowledge sources at an astounding rate, we are of course, living within the information era. The human brain, although it stores a great amount of knowledge, is unable to handle everything at the same time. In other words, it could undergo an information overload. This is the reason why instead of feeding it information in huge chunks, educators fought for a way to make it easier and thus microlearning was born.
So What is Microlearning?
Microlearning is a way of teaching and delivering content to learners in small, bite-size chunks. By creating short, informative and focused videos, people are able to retain and understand information easily. Many believe that microlearning is better than traditional learning as it’s made for how our brains work. Most traditional training is overwhelmingly long, out-of-context and disconnected from on-the-job performance. Microlearning therefore solves this problem by being digestible, flexible and action-based. It removes the overwhelmingness that causes many students to procrastinate and put off studying. Microlearning uses videos as a way of delivering information as it is proven to be the most effective in this present generation of learners.
Why Microlearning is Effective
Studies have shown that microlearning is the most effective way because it doesn’t overwhelm and cuts straight to the point. Unlike traditional learning, it gives much more emphasis on the utmost points or ideas that a student needs to hear, providing concrete and direct responses is what microlearning is all about.
What’s more, one of the biggest reasons why there is a low-accumulation of learning among students these days is because of short attention spans. This is one of the things that microlearning effectively breaks.
Here’s a quick and short timeline of the attention span differences that are shown over the years based on movie industry stats:
- 1960’s – it takes 20 seconds for a viewer to recognize an image.
(Presently, it takes 2-3 seconds to do the same thing)
- In 2000 – average attention span 12 seconds
- In 2013 – average attention span 8 seconds
As the years go by, attention spans have become alarmingly shorter. More and more reach for their smartphone or device when idly waiting in line, putting toast in the bagel, sitting in traffic. What’s more, more and more learners prefer video over plain text. This is why educators took the initiative to a higher level, breaking up insights into short-length videos, in order to cater to the needs of these type of learners. As far as studies and observations have shown, there is an increase of attention span in short video-based lessons that microlearning has formulated. This is because it allows them to engage in a way that is similar to the traditional setup but in a much more effective manner since it takes a far shorter time for acquiring quality information.
While microlearning aims to be simple, the thought and time that goes into producing microlearning lessons isn’t. In order to slice away unnecessary information as well as dice it up into logical, consecutive lessons, requires thought and true insight. For instance, it doesn’t break up a 1-hour idea into a few minutes by omitting the core points. Instead, it looks for the application points and focuses on feeding the student with it. Once the learner gets to digest these application points, they are able to exercise their learning in real-life settings may it be in a career they will pursue or are already pursuing.
The Benefits of Microlearning
It Is Focused
It focuses on one learning objective at a time giving emphasis on the utmost point of the subject. It doesn’t go beat around the bush nor pay attention to the complexity of the subject. It highlights what the learner needs by being direct to the point.
Effective Teaching Method
Short video-based lesson is the cup of tea of microlearning. However, there is no set limit as to its length. It can be two minutes or 10 minutes depending on what is needed.
Lessons in microlearning are carefully structured and well thought of. Educators aim to create information-rich short lessons that will feed learners core ideas of what is taught rather than touching on shallow and not so important parts of the topic.
Assigning of tasks
Just like traditional classes, online studying that uses microlearning also applies task assignments. This enables the students to interact and engage with their professors or fellow students through forums or learning communities.
Compared to traditional learning, it is budget-friendly and much more cost-effective to take an online microlearning course than to take a course through higher education.
Ideal for busy workers
Many of those who take an online course do it because they cannot invest full-time into their education. For instance, many take an online course in order to improve their skills in their career or open up new career opportunities. Thus microlearning provides them with a flexible learning environment, where they don’t have to spend hours in lecture rooms. Instead, they can learn in manageable, bite-size chunks in their own time.
Caters to digital audiences
Young or old, our present generation is made up of digital audiences. Gone are the days when people learn from textbooks or sources that are not so engaging to visual audiences. As mentioned previously, learners have shorter attention spans anymore which makes microlearning become more effective than before.
Solution to dwindling attention spans
Microlearning puts a lot of importance on the fact that learners of today’s generation have dwindling attention spans. And that is why every video-based lesson is carefully crafted in short but “meaty” lengths in order to match it up with the amount of time learners are able to keep up with.
In conclusion, microlearning has proven itself to be an effective method of learning. It is fast-paced, easy to understand, entertaining and engaging at the same time, which fits perfectly for modern-age learners. It benefits both the student and the teacher by giving satisfactory and quality learning in a convenient way.
Christine has been working in the field of freelance for just over 7 years, specializing in copy-writing, social media and voice-overs.
Describing herself as a "social media bee 24/7", Christine has an undying passion for photography and music.