The concept of MicroLearning was brought up in 1963, but its digital journey started in the mid-1990s along with the internet's revolution. This digital form of education has made an incredible breakthrough since the invention of computers, smartphones and tablets. But what exactly is MicroLearning, and why do so many experts believe it's one of the most powerful teaching methods?
Experts in the field have discussed the exact definition of MicroLearning for a long time. Simply put, you split a course into bits that are less time-consuming, easier to grasp, and can be repeated when required. MicroLearning, unlike traditional classroom courses and e-learnings, does not need to be scheduled as a longer interruption of the working day. Instead, it functions as a simple and efficient tool that can be scheduled during working hours.
How short is MicroLearning supposed to be?
Here is where the experts differ. For a long time, 20 minutes has been the maximum limit for how long it should take to process the content for it to be called MicroLearning. Many people now believe that 10 to 13 minutes is a more reasonable time limit since humans general tempo is so much faster and attention span is shorter.
Even though time has long defined MicroLearning, most experts now agree that it is not the most important factor. Instead, the emphasis is on creating relevant content for users in a timely and efficient manner. It is beneficial to produce concise content for efficiency, but the 10-minute timeframe should be considered a guideline instead of a requirement.
What could MicroLearning contain?
MicroLearning typically includes instructional videos that show how something is to be performed, but it can also include various knowledge and blog articles, infographics, podcasts, and much more. It is common with some aspects of "Gamification", in which elements from video games are used to create an interactive form of education. What type of media MicroLearning should contain is best based on what the subject is. Have the purpose of the course in mind when determining the media.
What is possibly the most important aspect of MicroLearnings content is that you divide it into smaller pieces. Instead of combining multiple subjects or elements in the same course, as most traditional courses do, you should limit each part to a single field. By splitting up the course in this manner, the risk of overloading the user decreases. It also becomes easier for the user to go back to a specific part of the course when in need of repetition while performing their work assignments. The time and brain capacity that the user would have used to search for the right part can instead be put on solving the problem or question at hand.
MicroLearning is supposed to focus on what the user needs to know rather than what's good to know. Therefore, it is recommended to compress the material as much as possible so that the content can be easily absorbed by the user and doesn't contain information that is directly relevant to achieve the goal of the course.
So, why MicroLearning?
Because learning should be fun! Since we no longer have the same amount of time to spare, MicroLearning is a powerful tool for many businesses since a short video or article is much easier to process and requires less of your work time than a scheduled course. By making this knowledge both available and measurable, we can work together to create a culture that offers knowledge in smaller pieces, preventing it from being forgotten.