I’ve talked before about how important it is to give students choices in their learning, especially adult learners. Microlearning can help you personalize student learning.
Adult learners will only learn what they feel they need to learn. They also want to be considered as partners in learning, so choice is a really good way to do that.
When you’re developing your course, you know that all your learners will not be in the same place. They won’t all know the same things already. You have to give some foundational information to make sure that everyone has the basics before you move on.
But you run the risk of boring the learners who do have the foundation. And maybe they’ll leave without ever finishing your course. How do you design for this possibility?
How do you personalize your course so that every learner gets what they need?
Microlearning is breaking larger topics into very small chunks, maybe a 2-3-minute video, an infographic, or a page of text. Personalization is when learners are able to move through the material as they see fit. The two together are powerful partners in learning.
Creating micro-lessons and letting students choose what they need to learn is a win-win. It allows adult learners to learn only what they feel they need to learn and makes them feel like equal partners in the learning process. Bam!
How Does Microlearning Work?
Microlearning can take the form of a video, a piece of text, an image, an infographic, an audio recording, pretty much anything. But it’s short. Hence the prefix micro-.
Keep your videos or other content short and well-titled. Stay focused on one small topic and make sure the title is very clear. Students will use those titles to decide if they need to learn that topic.
If students choose to skip a micro lesson and do poorly on a quiz because of it, the quiz feedback can send them directly to the correct content to review. We’ll talk more about quiz feedback in a later post.
Short, clear micro lessons also allow you and students to be very specific on the discussion board with questions about material or when helping each other review.
Microlearning needs to be paired with other learning activities. Since microlearning is by definition short, it likely won’t be enough to just watch the short video to learn it well. Build in ways for students to recall or use the information from the microlearning.
When Microlearning Shines
Microlearning works well in courses that have a lot of steps. Allowing students to skip over the steps they already know gives them a sense of control over their learning.
It also works well when you have dense material to cover. Students can stop when they need to at the end of a shorter video and have no trouble finding their place again when they continue. This type of freedom allows your students to work around their schedule and busy lives.
Make sure that you circle back to touch on the microlearning information later in the content. This will help solidify the learning.
Your audience demographics play a part in this. To learn more about generational differences in learning, check out Learning & development: Across the generations or read a few articles under the search term “generational differences in learning.” It’s interesting stuff.
Think about a specific topic in your course. How small can you break down the pieces of that content? Break your topic down into the smallest possible pieces and label how you might best convey that piece. Will you use a video, an infographic, etc?
You’re not creating microlearning here. You are just exploring what microlearning might look like in your content.
In the comments of the Ep 10 Choose Learning as Needed video, let us know whether microlearning might work for some or all of your content. Join the conversation by responding to other comments. I look forward to reading your contribution.
Download my free ebook, Online Course Creation Made Easy: 25 Activities to Engage Your Online Learner
Other posts you might be interested in are:
- How To Design For Student Learning Preferences In An Online Course
- How Adult Learning Principles Apply To Your Online Course
- The Value Of Stories In Online Courses
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