Microlearning is an approach to learning that focuses on bite-sized doses of information instead of overloading yourself with knowledge. When studying, it’s extremely common to find ourselves overwhelmed by a large book or video that lasts a long time. The amount of information we get from a big source can make it difficult for us to digest any of the information. This makes it extremely challenging to make any progress in the field if we’re constantly faced with cognitive overload. Enter microlearning; an effective and practical way for both young and adult learners to quickly develop new skills. In this post, we’ll be taking a look at what microlearning is, how it works, why it works and offer some practical examples of why it’s the best option for learners.
What exactly is microlearning?Microlearning is all about getting your education in small doses that are easy to digest. There are some simple principles that define microlearning:
- There are short bursts of learning instead of long sessions.
- The topics are narrowed down or simplified.
- The content is easy to access and refer back to.
- Each microlearning session should take little effort.
Where is microlearning used?Microlearning can be used anywhere. It can be a strategy used by college and university students, you can use it for homeschooling your children and it can be scaled up to be an effective way to employees in a large company. The focus of microlearning is to reduce cognitive load and give learners an easier way to develop new skills. It makes learning more practical and accessible, offering information in small bursts instead of long and daunting sessions where you’re likely to forget crucial information or even feel fatigued.
What are the benefits of microlearning?Microlearning offers fantastic benefits for both the educator and the learner.
- Research shows that short bursts of study are more effective for learning because it gives our brains time to digest the information and process it.
- It doesn’t create cognitive overload which can strain our minds and make it difficult to digest large amounts of information.
- There’s less investment required, meaning it’s a practical learning solution for busy individuals that can’t commit to long sessions.
- Microlearning can take place in bite-sized chunks on our phones or tablets. This makes it easy for us to study on-the-go such as during a commute.
- Shorter learning sessions reduce the chances of us getting bored or being distracted. Instead, it allows us to focus on our work and study since it’s in short bursts.
- Modern forms of microlearning can incorporate different multimedia elements to make content easier to digest and understand.
- Microlearning takes advantage of proven learning techniques such as spaced repetition to help learners memorize information.
- It breaks down a complicated subject into smaller components that are easier to understand and less demanding of your time.
Using microlearning on its own or part of a larger course?Microlearning is a learning technique that can be applied to existing courses and study materials. However, it can also be used as a standalone learning technique for specific subjects as well. There are times where microlearning isn’t effective, such as studying medical techniques or legal terms. In a situation like this, regular study techniques can be more effective. However, microlearning can still be used to commit that information to memory or be used as a means of refreshing your knowledge of a subject. Either way, microlearning is a flexible technique that allows us to study in a more casual and laid-back manner. It can be an effective study technique on its own to reduce cognitive load, but it can also be integrated into existing learning strategies.
Examples of microlearningMicrolearning can be a vague concept to understand. To make things easier, here are a couple of examples of microlearning.
- Using flashcards to remember phrases, terms or words. This is commonly used when learning a new language or for early learning such as the name of countries and animals. It can also be used as a way to memorize things such as chemical elements.
- Watching short videos to explain a subject. Short and concise videos are an excellent form of microlearning because they can incorporate different kinds of media such as audio and pictures.
- Short bursts of information on a daily cycle. This is a vague example that refers to anything that offers you a short burst of information or knowledge on a regular basis. For example, you might have an app that encourages you to learn a new word every day.
- Audiobooks and podcasts. Audiobooks and podcasts tend to be split into chapters that are short and easy to digest. They’re also easy to access and can be used during activities such as a commute.