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Utilizing Technology for Microlearning

Using Technology for Microlearning - TeacherCast Guest Blog

Microlearning is all the rage these days when it comes to employee training. Companies are moving from long training sessions (that take time out of the workday) to microlearning which provides information in short bursts through digital media that can be accessed from any device at any time. As schools get more and more tech savvy, they can implement these useful tools as well. Modern learners, young and old, have short attention spans and tend to become less alert after long periods of learning. Microlearning works with the natural ebb and flow of energy and caters to the limited ability of the short-term memory. Presenting the information in small chunks keeps the learner's attention and gives them a chance to understand and retain the material.


MOOCs, or Massive Open Online Courses, are an ideal platform for microlearning in the business world, as well as the classroom. Instead of sitting through a lecture, students can learn the material quickly online in a way that holds their attention better. MOOCs provide short videos, mini-activities, and collaboration through social media. They can also be updated with new content at any time. Companies prefer MOOCs because they allow employees to learn on the go and keep them in their work environment, as opposed to sticking them in a classroom for x amount of hours. If an employee stumbles on a problem, they can access the MOOC much like they would Google to find the answer. It may not function in the exact same way in schools because, for the most part, students need to attend class, but MOOCs can certainly help with their short attention spans and possibly allow time for more hands-on activities during class time.

Assign One Learning Objective Per Asset

At the beginning of a microlearning segment, you want to set a goal for the learner that clearly explains what they are supposed to get from the lesson. If the learner understands the objective, they are more likely to stay on track, retain the information given, and succeed. It's a good idea to work on one point at a time, as too much information can overwhelm a student and hinder them from learning. If you try to include too many objectives, your content will become longer and you may lose your audience.

Use Video

Learners these days have a 90-second attention span. 90 seconds! That's how long you have to convey a point. Because 70 percent of millennials visit Youtube monthly and prefer videos over other mediums, microlearning through video is a good way to keep their attention, as long as it's under 4 minutes. That may seem like a short amount of time when you are used to hour-long sessions, but you're essentially breaking up that hour into small segments, each highlighting a different point. You could make a great quality video with just your smartphone camera and good lighting – a little extra effort will ensure better reception of the content.

Scenario-based Learning

Most people, in general, learn better by doing, and microlearning makes a great platform for scenario-based learning. While videos work well for explaining the content in short bursts, little challenges can help the student put the content into practice. Instead of piling on the theory, students can be given a scenario in which they have to do the problem-solving. This works especially well with employee training programs, helping new hires tackle workplace problems. But it could also be a great method for young learners to see theory in action – for example, after watching a video on how to do a mathematical equation, the student could then be given a scenario in which the equation must be used to solve a real-world problem.

Prove Learning Took Place Through Gamification

Showing learners their progress in a tangible way keeps them motivated. A good way to do this is through gamification, a learning method that uses game-playing elements such as points or badges to show a student has moved up in the course. Scenario-based challenges, as well as quizzes and small projects test a student's knowledge, and rewarding them for good results encourages them to keep it up. It also creates competition among students, which drives them to participate, move forward, and succeed.

Sarah Daren has been a consultant for startups in multiple industries including health and wellness, wearable technology, nursing, and education. When she's not watching the New York Yankees play, Sarah enjoys practicing yoga and reading a good book on the beach.

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