Skill Level Intermediate
- This week, we're talking about microlearning. So let's dive right in! Microlearning is an organizational approach to the design, creation, and delivery of instructional-based content into small, highly focused lessons delivered in short bursts of time and clustered around common concepts or skills. Now, this approach promotes random access to information, and deep learning of a subject. Let's look at one of my Camtasia essential learning courses as an example. Now, this course has nearly five hours of content on how to record, edit, and share screen-cast movies with Camtasia.
If this was one long movie, it would be difficult for anyone to sit down and work all the way through. Our brain needs time to process the information that it's taking in. Besides, who has five hours to stop everything in order to learn all the concepts and skills contained within a course like this? You need time to practice each skill, apply each concept, incorporate it into your own knowledge framework. Therefore, to make the content more approachable, break it into logical chunks.
In the case of this course, it's been broken into 13 chapters of similar concepts or skills. As a learner, you can quickly navigate to, say, the chapter on editing, and find the information that is most relevant to your current needs. But at nearly an hour of content on the basics of editing alone, even this chapter-level approach can be a lot to fully take in. We need to get even more granular in our design. That brings us down to the level of a microlearning unit, or the individual learning object.
In this example, it would be the movie level. Now each movie in this course averages out to be approximately three to four minutes of content, that is focused as much as possible on one single concept or skill. This approach gives you as the learner, much better random access to the exact concept or skill that you need in order to fill some specific knowledge gap. Need help using markers? Here you go, three minutes and 38 seconds.
How about how to edit audio levels? Three minutes and nine seconds. As the learner, you don't need to scrub through five hours of content to find what you're looking for. You jump right to it, and are instantly rewarded with that new knowledge or skill that you were seeking. And that brings us to one of the holy grails of teaching and learning: fanning the flames of an intrinsically motivated learner. As the instructor, now you have your learner's attention. Keep it focused with another quick little related and highly relevant concept or skill to take them deeper into the subject.
It's not uncommon for a learner, with only a few minutes to spare on a microlesson, to look up and realize they've spent 30 minutes or more devouring content, because they were hooked, and began binge-watching your lessons. Since each piece is short and highly focused, it's easier for them to justify a few more minutes. And with microlearning, the learners get exactly what they want when they want it, and are able to go as deeply into a subject as they need to.
It's a very learner-centered approach to instruction. Therefore, keep in mind that not every learner will need to go through all of your microlessons that you create. And it's highly unlikely that learners will follow a predetermined path through that content. Some learners may go through your cluster of microlessons from start to finish, but most will jump in and out to touch on what they need, when they need it, especially when they need to come back and review a concept or skill.
Well, that's all for this week's episode. If you have a topic that you'd like me to cover, then reach out to me on Twitter @csmattia, or here on LinkedIn. Now, go out and create some great content for your learners, and I'll see you again next week.
Q: Why can't I earn a Certificate of Completion for this course?
A: We publish a new tutorial or tutorials for this course on a regular basis. We are unable to offer a Certificate of Completion because it is an ever-evolving course that is not designed to be completed. Check back often for new movies.