Microlearning is a concept that has been well recognized in the training and IT fields, but has yet to become a highly adopted practice in education. That said, microlearning has been steadily gaining attention in higher education due to the number of benefits it offers learners. In fact, one research study found that the use of microlearning objects increased learning and retention of course material by 18% (Mohammed, Wakil, Nawroly, 2018).
What is it?
Microlearning is the concept of providing bite-sized explanations to support and enhance student learning. This can occur in a variety of ways. For example, an instructor may choose to create a 1-2 minute screen recording explaining how to solve an equation, they might create an infographic to help students visualize a complex idea, or perhaps they might record a video to demonstrate the steps in a complex process. Regardless of the approach, the main idea is to provide information in the most concise, efficient, and meaningful way. Now let’s take a look at 5 key benefits of using microlearning in higher ed.
Reason 1: Provide On-Demand Learning
Microlearning objects allow you to provide resources to your students that can support their learning exactly when they need it. Let’s say you give a lecture in class on a complicated topic. If students miss the class or don’t completely understand the information, they won’t be able to successfully complete any assigned homework. But, if you offer a short video explanation of the concept, students can access the video and review it as many times as they need. This offers greater flexibility for the students and more personalized learning support.
Reason 2: Deepen the Learning Process
With increased access and the ability to review instructional materials multiple times, the learning process can become deeper and richer for students. The concept known as spaced repetition, which is the practice of reviewing information at several times and at various intervals, increases the brain’s ability to store that information in the long term memory.
Reason 3: Increased access to information
Microlearning is a more flexible option for delivering content to learners through various formats. Because of the concise nature of the learning objects, they can be formatted for delivery on a number of devices. This allows learners to access information anytime, anywhere. For example, students can watch short videos uploaded to YouTube while riding the bus, standing in line, or simply anytime they find themselves waiting. Time that would have been spent on Instagram or Facebook can now be used as valuable learning time.
Reason 4: Can Support Struggling Students
Not every student engages in a course with the same baseline of knowledge for a given topic or has the necessary skills to successfully complete an assignment. Microlearning can be offered as a way to support struggling students by helping them to acquire the skills or knowledge they need. It can also ensure students are receiving consistent information if the course happens to be very large and has multiple TAs offering guidance.
Reason 5: The Focus is Simple
Lastly, microcredentials are intended to be concise and focused. Because of this, the content needs to be well thought out and designed to be delivered in the most simplistic form possible. This ensures the information is easy to follow and explanations are to the point. Because unnecessary information is removed, students are able to follow the points more easily.
If you’re interested in incorporating microlearning in your face-to-face, hybrid, or online courses, contact Stevie Rocco, Director of Learning Design at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Mohammed, G.S., Wakil, K., & Nawroly, S.S. (2018). The effectiveness of microlearning to improve students’ learning ability. International Journal of Educational Research Review , 3(3), 32-38. DOI: 10.24331/ijere.415824