17 AWESOME RESOURCES ON MICRO LEARNING

THE QUOTE: “I am always ready to learn although I do not always like being taught.

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THE QUOTE:

I am always ready to learn although I do not always like being taught.”- Winston Churchill

THE JOURNEY:

We, at Learnnovators, have been fascinated about micro learning or bite-sized learning. We have been doodling about the possibilities this learning technique offers while developing cost effective and powerful mobile performance support solutions.

Today, while contemplating on the design for a mobile-based bite-sized learning solution (made up of quick, short instructional videos accompanied by Quick Reference Guides) for one of our clients, we set out on a journey to explore and learn more about this wonderful approach.

Below are the questions we had in mind when we embarked on our journey:

  • What is micro learning? What is its significance in today’s learning scenario? What are the possibilities this technique offers to make learning effective and powerful?
  • How is this technique being (or, could be) used in workplaces around the world? What are some of the interesting stories of organizations who have already explored or even implemented this approach successfully for enabling more contextualized and effective ‘learning’?
  • What are some of the useful resources available on this subject that could benefit learning professionals?

THE GREAT FINDS:

According to Wikipedia, micro learning deals with relatively small learning units and short-term learning activities. …the term “micro-learning” refers to micro-perspectives in the context of learning, education and training. …used in the domain of e-learning and related fields in the sense of a new paradigmatic perspective on learning processes in mediated environments.

Here’s a quick look at the basics of micro learning:

  • Micro learning is learning in small steps (contrary to the traditional approach of learning through hour-long courses). It is made possible with the aid of small, well planned, bite-sized chunks of units or activities (also called learning nuggets) that are short-term, digestible, and easily manageable.
  • Micro learning suits the constraints of the human brain with respect to its attention span. This approach aligns with research that proves we learn better when engaged in short, focused sessions, than hour-long sessions that cause information overload. In this approach, the learning content is offered in short durations of 3 to 7 minutes at the most to match the human attention span.
  • Micro learning is not a newly invented approach but rather a realization of how the human brain is wired to learn. It is considered to be one of the best instructional approaches for new age learners.
  • Micro learning is suited for the just-in-time performance-based learning requirements of today’s workforce. It correlates well with instructional strategies such as spaced repetition and distributed practice that refer to learning using small, repeated, and increasing steps.
  • Some of the highly successful examples of micro learning include Coursmos and TED Talk.

Below are some of the interesting resources (from a big list we examined in this exploratory journey) on this subject that we would like to share with you.

Use Cases

We’ll start with a few interesting use cases of micro learning:

  • Micro-Learning Simulation Cases to Augment Classroom Learning: This is an inspiring case study about a company called NexLearn which successfully used “Micro-Learning Objects” — a subscription-based learning nuggets program — to reinforce previously-encountered learning objectives on stroke prevention and atrial fibrillation to board-certified family physicians after an in-class learning experience.
  • Micro-Learning Impacts: This contains seven interesting case studies that demonstrate how participants at Training Magazine Events applied micro-learning ideas to produce measurable business results.

Videos

  • A Vision for Micro Learning: This is a brief video produced as part of the 6th International Micro Learning Conference in which Luvai F Motiwalla (Professor of Management, University of Massachusetts, USA) shares his vision about micro learning.
  • Is There Value in Micro Learning?: This is the video recording of a panel discussion (conducted by La Salle University College of Professional and Continuing Studies) that explores the pros and cons of micro learning. Though lengthy, the discussion touches upon some interesting aspects of this learning approach.

Articles/Posts

  • 7 Micro-eLearning Techniques to Improve Performance: In this article by Christopher Pappas you will find an in-depth look at how you can integrate Micro-eLearning techniques into your eLearning course, in order to improve performance and provide your students or employees with the most beneficial eLearning course design.
  • Is There Macro Value in Micro Learning: Here is a brilliant article (by Deanna Hartley) that contains many interesting examples and use cases from industry experts such as Jay Cross and Harold Jarche.

e-Book/Whitepaper

  • Micro Learning as a challenge for Instructional Design: This paper by Michael Kerres (Professor of educational sciences at the University of Duisburg – Essen, Germany, and head of Duisburg Learning Lab.), discusses the challenges that micro learning poses for traditional instructional design, and the revised role of instructional design in developing effective e-learning solutions in the new scenario.

Tools/Platforms

  • Coursmos: Coursmos is the world’s first learning platform that supports micro learning. It hosts several hundreds of micro-courses – online courses that are broken down into smaller, more manageable chunks. These courses are characterized by minutes-long lessons that can be taken while on the move.
  • Cognibloom: Cognibloom is a social micro learning tool that empowers people to share their expertise by helping them create social quizzes.
  • Twitter: Twitter is the most popular micro learning tool that helps create and share information with people, thereby building relationships.
  • Yammer: Yammer is the most popular enterprise micro learning tool that helps employees collaborate across departments and locations within organizations.

Associations/Events/Meet-ups

  • Global Micro Learning Association: Global Micro Learning Association is a meet-up that was started with a goal to create a platform for micro learning professionals to share their knowledge, expertise, and ideas to build better learning experiences.
  • Micro Learning Conference 8.0: This is an invitational conference scheduled to be held from October 1-3, 2014 at Krems, Austria. It is the first conference world-wide that focuses on micro content and learning as a singular area of technology enhanced learning.

OUR LEARNINGS:

As we came to end of our search, we had the following learnings as ‘take-aways’ from our little journey:

  • Micro learning is more effective and powerful than the traditional approach of hour-long and day-long courses. It helps integrate learning into the daily workflow of employees, thereby encouraging ‘continuous learning’.
  • Micro learning, combined with the power of emerging technologies, has the potential to make learning more powerful and natural. And micro learning, blended with mobile technologies, can enhance learning effectiveness by making learning contextual and personalized. Micro learning powered by gamification can boost learner motivation to a great extent, and hence ensure higher learner engagement. Micro learning powered by today’s technologies is device, time, and location agnostic.
  • Micro learning is going to be the future of learning. It is all set to transform how we learn both for our personal as well as our professional needs. We foresee micro learning tools evolving into an essential component of any enterprise learning toolbox.
  • The role of L&D in a micro learning scenario will be to help employees leverage the micro learning tools and formats to locate and share information.

What are your thoughts and experiences on micro learning? What resources would you like to share on this subject? Look forward to hearing from you…

Written by Santhosh Kumar

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