Microlearning has been around for a very long time. However, in recent years it’s come to the fore of the Learning & Development (L&D) space for a variety of reasons (many of which are linked to technology). In that time it’s developed rapidly to the point where some recent innovations in microlearning are already looking long in the tooth. So what is Microlearning in 2018?
Microlearning 2018 – What’s looking old?
A popular form of microlearning has involved handing out PDFs with lesson information 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 coursework – defeating the point. As such, PDF-based microlearning is now not looking micro enough.
What’s still popular?
Microlearning in 2018 still benefits greatly from the use of infographics – complex-yet-accessible pictures and text that give a solid picture about a topic. They’re simultaneously interesting in presentation, they commonly contain interesting and useful statistics and bite-sized explainers are short and easily digestible. In recent years, enhancing infographics through the use of white-board animation has proved popular and is arguably more effective through increasing the levels of engagement. Another evolution is the part-animated, long, parallax-scrolling webpage that change in appearance the more someone scrolls.
Video continues to be a stalwart tool for Microlearning in 2018. It’s far more preferable and engaging to perform knowledge transfer than using walls of text. However, it still requires reinforcement, ideally through interactivity.
Microlearning 2018: Passive versus interactive and gamification
The problem with the above forms of microlearning are that they represent passive forms of learning in that they follow traditional, transmissive learning methods. Consequently, it’s very easy for learners to zone out or forget what they’ve learned. This is where reinforcement becomes important: instructional designers are well aware that reinforcement helps new knowledge pass from short-term memory to long-term memory more effectively and so efforts need to be made to enhance knowledge retention.
If microlessons can add interactivity, learners become instantly more engaged and learning becomes more effective. eLearning technologies have made this easier in recent years in addition to adding gamification elements. Gamification adds competitiveness to microlessons to the point where they can actually become fun.
Microlearning 2018: The future
The current ultimate form of interactive eLearning takes the form of Virtual Reality. Technology now allows for virtual environments to be created where new tasks and scenarios can be experienced in their entirety in a virtual world that can be interacted with like the normal world. This can even be accomplished on mobile phones if they are powerful enough and have the correct accoutrements.
Microlearning 2018: 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 that are potentially highly-interactive on their own terms and at their own pace. The benefits are wide ranging – creating a course is fast, cheap and very simple (thanks largely to templates) – plus the logistics of organising learners to actually take the course (which is hosted in the cloud) are dramatically simpler than gathering a workforce together or distributing massive courseware to computers.
If the above sounds like it could help with your organisation’s training operations, check out Ed Microlearning’s Mobile LMS. You can try it for free by signing up here.