Microlearning is a modern learning concept, often associated with mobile learning apps. However, at its core, this learning strategy refers to any way of studying in which the courses are broken down into bite-sized lessons. In a non-digital world, micro lessons can take any shape from flashcards to mini quizzes and much more. However, when it is applied in a mobile-friendly environment, micro-learning is enriched with numerous benefits, and it can be applied to almost any topic. Nonetheless, this is not a one-size-fits-all learning strategy, so you need to properly understand its benefits, its applications and its shortcomings before you decide whether or not it is the right learning strategy for you.
This learning strategy has become incredibly popular in the last few years, and many people are under the impression that the reason for this popularity is our decreasing attention span. However, as you are about to discover, this learning method has numerous benefits and it has little to do with our limited attention span.
1. Faster Retention
Recent studies have shown that our brains are simply wired to retain information better and faster when it is available in smaller amounts. In any given study session, we start out with a high volume of concentration, which decreases in time as our brain gets tired. So, it makes sense to just break out courses in smaller lessons, and give our brain time to recharge in-between learning sessions.
2. Brevity and Granularity
To make the most of each tiny lesson, learning apps strip courses of all the unnecessary information, leaving in only the things that matter. Apps can also use images, audio files or videos to add context to the information and make the learning session more engaging. Moreover, microlearning sessions tend to be highly granular, to allow users to go as deep into the topic as they need to.
3. Learner-centric Approach
Micro-learning puts the student in control of its training, allowing them to learn in their own time, and to find all the relevant data that they need to complete real tasks. This personalized learning experience is quite motivational, and it makes learners more eager to apply their newly learned skills to new situations.
4. Flexible Authoring
The previous benefits were explained from the learner’s point of view, but the truth is that micro-learning has numerous benefits for teachers as well. Any piece of content can be broken down in any way that an author sees fit, for the course to satisfy specific tasks. There are even some apps that feature intuitive authoring tools, to allow anyone to write a course, without any coding skills. Such is the case of EdApp, a mobile learning platform based on the principles of micro-learning. If you visit EdApp’s Microlearning Page, you will see exactly how this app can help you use micro lessons to design any course.
As we already mentioned, this learning strategy can be applied in almost any scenario, whether you want to use it for personal or professional development. It has proved to be particularly effective in a few key scenarios:
- For learning a new language
- For employee compliance training
- As a supplement to formal employee training
- As an educational tool in schools
- For personal development (soft skills)
Ideally, you should ask yourself a few important questions before you opt for a micro-learning strategy. As a learner, you need to establish your specific goals and see if the micro-learning app that you plan to use will help you achieve those particular goals. As a teacher/trainer, you need to ask yourself how you plan to make the content available and whether or not your audience will be comfortable with those channels.
Since this is not a one-size-fits-all learning strategy, there are a few situations in which micro lessons might not be that efficient.
- When courses are not correctly connected – since micro lessons are stripped of unnecessary information, if the classes are not properly connected, students may feel like they are missing the big picture.
- When it is used as formal training – there are specific environments that require substantial chunks of information to be studied and understood in detail. As efficient as they may be, micro lessons could never replace a formal medical or engineering education.