Microlearning is one of the most effective forms of teaching students and training employees. In this article, EdApp Microlearning’s Instructional Design team – which has created an inordinate amount of micro lessons and courses – gives its advice on creating the best micro lesson plan.
A micro lesson plan is an outline of learning set in place to best prepare organizations for the creation of an effective and highly responsive training solution. It is often divided into various steps in order to cover a number of areas that are beneficial to the learning experience of employees. In this article, we will outline 4 crucial steps to create the best micro lesson plan and, further, how to expand your micro teaching ideas.
What is a micro lesson?
A micro lesson is a small lesson built around one target you’re aiming for your learners to achieve. Given the amount of content being learned, a micro lesson should take less than 15 minutes to complete. Each micro lesson lives within a course that is built around a microlearning lesson plan. Having small lessons is key to the success of a learning plan, as the bite-sized content results in higher completion and retention rates, ultimately providing better learning experiences.
What is a micro lesson plan?
A micro lesson plan is focused on one specific subject to be explored within a learning platform. It should be designed with the intention of carrying out short, succinct lessons for learners to master.
Within each lesson, there is a wide range of elements to implement that result in higher engagement rates, retention rates, and most importantly, better learning experiences overall. One of these elements includes spaced repetition or Brain Boost, where interactive lessons are automatically created based upon core, previously-learned content from the EdApp platform. This feature is backed by a highly-regarded Supermemo SM-2 interval algorithm and can be implemented for any EdApp user, aiming to instil key concepts and boost learners’ retention on any given topic.
What differs between a micro lesson and a macro lesson plan?
So what is the difference between a micro lesson plan and a macro lesson plan? Micro lesson planning focuses on brief subjects and incorporates a specific topic for learners to absorb quickly, without taking up too much time.
We know that human memory can only hold up to five new pieces of information before it gets lost or overwritten. This is why microlearning is so successful by focusing on fewer topics and increasing the knowledge transfer from short-term to long-term memory. Microlearning is also more suitable for the modern learner, giving individuals the opportunity to complete lessons when they have a spare five or ten minutes on their morning commute or on their lunch break, for example.
Alternatively, a macro lesson plan is a teaching strategy that incorporates a magnitude of lessons and subjects, designed to be executed across a longer period of time.
What is micro teaching?
Micro teaching lessons scale back the material so that any given learner can absorb what’s being taught in small bursts. Minimising the subject matter allows learners to easily digest the information rather than being overwhelmed with too much information. Ultimately, micro teaching is the teaching principle designed to successfully carry out micro lesson(s), providing the best learning results possible.
Create a lesson plan for micro teaching in 4 steps
1. Introduce learners to the topic with a title slide
It’s important to start by telling your learners what the lesson is about. This puts them in the right frame of mind by getting them thinking about learning and making them more receptive to new information. By giving them an overview of the topic, you’re also making them think about context (for more on why this is important, see this article on chunking strategy) and what they know about the subject already. The more they can relate to subject matter, the more effective the lesson will be and the new information will move into long-term memory more easily. A simple introductory slide will do the job, but avoid presenting a wall of text as it will turn people off.
2. Begin knowledge transfer with video, text or both
Video is proven to be one of the best forms of knowledge transfer. Text is fine but, again, keep it minimal to avoid turning off your learner. Using five-or-six content slides in a row, we find, is too many for a micro lesson plan. If all of the information is important, consider splitting the information into multiple lessons. We find using four slides is an optimal number for directed-focus lessons.
You can easily find perfect examples of a balance of video, text, and both in our Editable Content Library, where leading companies around the world have contributed high-quality, practical courseware – all for free.
For example, the United Nations Institute for Training and Research (UNITAR) has created a collection of brilliant lessons, including Meet the Sustainable Development Goals. Accessible now for all to take, this course introduces the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and optimal understanding of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). This learning content guides learners through a multi-part course to share amongst colleagues, friends, and family, for effective mainstreaming of the SDGs. Take the course here.
3. Reinforce content using interactive questions and games
Use interactive questions to help reinforce content. If they get the answer right, you can reinforce why the right answer was important. However, if they get it wrong, it’s very important to quickly correct any misconception and explain what the right answer is: any delay will increase the likelihood of retaining the wrong information. In addition to leaving them with the right answer, tell them why the information is important – this will leave them with a lingering takeaway message. If you can use interactive questions or games to help engage your learners, learning will be even more effective. However, as above, using several, information-heavy slides in a row with no reinforcement is something to avoid.
4. Applying gamification to a micro lesson plan
Playing games makes for effective learning, but making your lessons competitive (and even rewarding) will further improve effectiveness. There are various microteaching methods for doing this (they’ll ultimately depend on which learning management system you use) but scoring answers, setting time limits and awarding stars for completing tasks within the lesson all increase learners’ engagement. Completionists get enticed to collect all of the stars if they see there are more available for a course that they just took. Be generous though – don’t give out one star after they’ve sat through 20 slides! Offering real prizes for best performance or simply completing a course on time naturally acts as a learning incentive.
A real-world example can be found in the realm of retail trainees: asking which statements about a product represent correct or incorrect things to say to customers – by swiping left for incorrect answers and swiping right for correct answers – gamifies the interactive learning, thereby improving retention.
Microlearning is an essential tool to adopt for the successful curation and deployment of your organisation’s training strategy. There are proven successes of microlearning, rolled out in various different ways.
There is more information regarding how to make the best micro lesson plan in the following video (below). But if you’d like to know more about a mobile-first learning management system (LMS) that offers all of the above features, get in touch at firstname.lastname@example.org. You can also try EdApp’s Mobile LMS and authoring tool for free by signing up here.