Microlearning has been around for a considerable time. However, it’s come to the fore of the Learning & Development (L&D) space in recent years as complimentary advances in mobile technology – and the subsequent rise of mobile learning – have highlighted some key benefits. It’s developed rapidly to the point where some recent microlearning innovations are already looking long in the tooth. So where are we at with Microlearning in 2019?
Microlearning 2019 – What’s looking old?
There are many types of microlearning. A popular form has involved the handing out PDFs to learners. When this happens “on demand” it’s known as just-in-time and point-of-need learning. However, PDFs regularly resemble walls of text with images on them and, all too often, learners find themselves holding on to so many that they end up with a book’s worth of courseware – defeating the point. Many become outdated quickly and version control is a nightmare. As such, PDF-based microlearning is now not looking micro enough.
What’s still popular?
Microlearning in 2019 still benefits greatly from the use of infographics – complex-yet-accessible images and text that give a solid picture about a topic. They commonly contain interesting and useful statistics plus bite-sized explainers that are short and easily digestible. In recent years, enhancing infographics through the use of white-board animation has proved popular and offers increasing levels of engagement. A further evolution is the partially-animated, long, parallax-scrolling webpage that change in appearance the more someone scrolls.
Video continues to be a stalwart tool for Microlearning in 2019. It’s far more preferable for knowledge transfer than walls of text. However, it still requires reinforcement, ideally through interactive questions and answers.
Passive learning versus interactivity and gamification
The problem with the above forms of microlearning are that they represent passive, transmissive forms of learning. Consequently, it’s very easy for learners to zone out or forget what they’ve learned. This is where message reinforcement becomes important.
In addition, if microlessons can add interactivity, learners become instantly more engaged – making learning more effective. eLearning technologies have advanced to make this simpler and more elaborate in recent years. Meanwhile, gamification can augment this further by adding a competitive element to learning.
The (current) ultimate form of eLearning training technologies takes the form of Virtual Reality. Technology already allows for virtual environments to be created in which learners can practice their roles and interactions in an artificial environment. It’s currently prohibitively expensive for most but the hardware barriers have already dropped to the point where VR (and Augmented Reality – AR) can be accessed on consumer-grade mobile phones.
Microlearning 2019: Here and now
Perhaps the most effective form of microlearning at present is mobile learning. This is when a mobile learning management system is used and a course can be distributed, interacted with and measured using mobile devices. With the ubiquity of smartphone use, anyone can interact with microlessons any time, anywhere and at their own pace. The benefits are wide ranging – creating a course is fast, cheap and very simple (thanks largely to template-based course creation). Plus, the logistics of organising learners so that they actually take the course (which is hosted in the cloud) are dramatically simplified: more so than gathering a workforce together or distributing massive courseware to remote computers.
If the above sounds like it could help with your organisation’s training operations in 2019, 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 or in the box below.