“It’s now possible to create more consumable instructional content that’s accessible to the learner in the moment they need to learn.”
- Josh Bersin -
Microcontent is the name given to short, focused bite sized chunks of a digital learning solution. How micro is microcontent? A good rule of thumb is think of each piece of microcontent as being a 'single-outcome' resource. If a learner retains the knowledge that the microcontent was created to explain or show, then that’s a good outcome.
Microlearning content can take many forms. These include videos, animations, infographics, games, assessments, quizzes, demos, images, simulations, interactions, text explanations, scenario questions and user-generated knowledge-shares. A truly engaging solution includes a variety of formats.
But how can we provide opportunities for learners to revise learning and to practise applying this new knowledge? This is where spaced repetition, or spaced practice, comes in.
Many new learning experience platforms have built-in algorithms that automatically deploy microcontent at strategic moments over a period of time. This provides learning interventions for learners in the key areas where they need a certain sustained level of knowledge. Click here to read about our learning experience designers' (LXDs’) take on spaced repetition.
AI and Adaptive Learning
Basic AI has already crept into online learning – for instance, chatbots and instruction from a ‘human’ computer voice. Now, intelligent algorithms are being built into learning systems to analyse results and make intelligent decisions. These algorithms are constantly learning and growing in complexity, allowing adaptive learning to become more sophisticated. They no longer personalise a learning solution based on test results alone. Now they consider the ability of learners to apply knowledge to real-life situations and their confidence in doing so.
In this way, intelligent software can now identify gaps in learners’ skills and knowledge. They can also tailor a learning pathway to include spaced practice and adaptive learning. The built-in intelligence constantly assesses each individual learner’s competence, and brings them along a unique learning journey.
Your small chunks of relevant, digestible content are served up to each learner at regular intervals. Key information is repeated and reinforced, and new topics are introduced at an appropriate time. Competent learners can be fast-tracked through a learning programme. Learners that need more time and opportunities to learn are also catered for.
Customisable deployment schedules allow L&D professionals to create highly focused, efficient, engaging and smart learning programmes for learners with varying needs. In the past, spaced practice strategies relied heavily on manual efforts. Now, auto-deployment means that L&D can imrove performance support by focussing on the learning outcomes and the quality of the content.
BENEFITS OF MICROLEARNING
A microlearning solution can be flexible and scalable in nature. This brings time efficiencies and cost control and the ability to roll out training quickly. An agile approach to development enables an L&D department to respond quickly to business needs. It can drastically reduce the time training takes to reach the learner, providing both short term and long term gains.
MIcrolearning is agile in another way: it’s extremely suitable for mobile learning. Your learners can make their learning agile, available to them at their point of need while they work.
These assets can sit independently of each other and be deployed to your learners from within the appropriate learning environment.
Where to start
There are multiple ways that your organisation could embrace microlearning. You might want to adopt some small aspects of microlearning to complement existing training programmes or as part of a blended learning programme. Or maybe you want to revolutionise your learning content and replace your old compliance training with a full microlearning solution complete with its adaptive layers and powerful analytics.
For helpful guidance on applying microlearning principles to traditional elearning, read our blog here.
Regardless of the authoring tool, microcontent can be deployed as standalone learning resources.
This content can sit:
ON A WEBSITE
WITHIN AN EXISTING LMS
ON AN INDEPENDENT MICROLEARNING PLATFORM
on a microlearning platform that is integrated into your lms
So, microcontent can replace, enhance or complement existing learning activities. It can quickly be reused and repurposed. User engagement tends to be much better when the content is delivered in in bite-sized chunks that fit in with modern learners’ busy timetables. These are all key reasons cited in a recent article on Forbes, leading them to state that microlearning is the future of Professional Development.
Our microlearning solution, Verify, combines microlearning, spaced practice, and data-driven learning and can slot easily into learners’ lives.