Reasons To Adopt Microlearning
Humans are bound to be explorative and experimental in every circumstance. We have been reinventing the wheel so rigorously that the inventions we made in recent years were looked down on as outdated ones. Let’s take the example of the stone wheel, the finest invention of the stone age. Then came the potter’s wheel, later transforming into the crucial element for human transportation systems: the wheel. The time taken for the transformation from the stone wheel to the potter’s wheel might have been a few tens of thousands of years. However, a similar evolution from the potter’s wheel to the initial design of the transportation wheel was merely a few hundred. As previously mentioned, our continuous efforts in perfecting aspects of our products led to the invention of its better version, leaving behind trails of the recent versions as obsolete.
This same evolution hasn’t left any domain untouched. It has impacted all fields, and entertainment and education are no exception. Blogging, which started with blog posts and articles by contributors, has transformed into microblogging (Twitter). Similarly, video streaming (on YouTube and Vimeo) has evolved into micro-videos (on TikTok and YouTube shorts). Speaking of the education and training realm, this evolution has shattered several stereotypes:
- Relying on content-stuffed courses
- Prioritizing content rather than the cognitive load aspect
- Compelling course completion, which tends to increase the cognitive load on the learners
This evolution has transformed the existing content-specific, cognitive load negligent, completion-compelling course into an outcome-based, cognitive-focused, flexible microlearning course. It is seen as a boon for the learners, who are struggling with the training and job timelines running simultaneously.
Reasons To Consider Microlearning A Boon
1. Outcome-Based Courses
The evolved eLearning courses are outcome-based (i.e., relying on the course outcome rather than the course content). To ensure that the eLearning courses are outcome-based, the Instructional Designer (ID) first drafts the learning objectives (LOs) that focus on the course expectations and ties the content to these drafted LOs. For drafting the LOs , the ID relies on Bloom’s taxonomy for appropriate action verbs.
Most of the traditional eLearning courses focus on the content rather than the cognitive load on the learners, which leads to learners being tired out resulting in a reduced rate of knowledge retention. The possibilities for concentrating on the unwanted content and ignoring the crucial part of the content becomes inevitable. However, microlearning courses are an efficient way of training learners without any of these hindrances and unavoidable situations. Moreover, these miniature courses require less time to design and develop.
Large conventional courses demand the learner’s attention throughout the course, which seems reasonable. However, these never-ending courses span for a time length of more than 30 minutes, which becomes a nightmare for the learners. To relieve the learners from such burdens, the miniature courses or microlearning courses are designed in such a way that they do not go on for more than five to seven minutes (depending on the topic).
Misconceptions About Microlearning
Though the microlearning concept seems to be beneficial, there are a few misconceptions that create a dilemma among the Subject Matter Experts (SMEs), inhibiting them from implementing or adopting it. A few such are:
- Microlearning courses are too short to be used for training
Well, the size doesn’t matter when its impact is considered. Though they seem small, the content and key points that a learner should be trained on aren’t neglected and ignored.
- There might not be a continuity between the microlearning courses
Microlearning courses are quite similar to the episodes of a Netflix/Prime series. If an entire series can be divided into shorter episodes without losing its continuity, so too can microlearning courses.
- How will learners be assessed if the course is divided into miniatures?
In general, while developing microlearning courses, the Instructional Designer adds a knowledge check (either an activity or an MCQ) at the end of each microlearning course to assess the learner’s understanding of the topic/concept. At the end of the entire course (after completing all the microlearning courses), the ID creates a Q&A section, picking questions from each miniature course. So the learner will be assessed based on each topic and the entire course as well.
As we discussed at the beginning of this article, every invention/concept becomes obsolete when people work on improving it. Conventional eLearning is the older concept and microlearning is the current trend. This concept became a trend, not just because it is a newer approach, but because it is a better approach.