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  • The Science Behind Microlearning: How Our Brain Absorbs Information in Small Doses

     

    Introduction:

    Nowadays, people are experiencing a hectic and complicated lifestyle, making it difficult to focus on information, gain knowledge, and retain it. Microlearning can be an ideal approach.

    Just receive information in tiny bites and keep those in mind for a long-term period through easily accessible ways such as mobile phones or tablets anytime, anywhere you are. 

     

    Let's see what Microlearning is and how it works to help us.

     

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    What is Microlearning?

    According to George Miller, a prominent psychologist, the human brain has a limited capacity to process information. It can only hold about seven (plus or minus two) chunks of information in working memory at a time. This is how the idea of Microlearning was born.

     

    Miller's idea suggests that breaking down information into smaller, more manageable chunks can enhance learning and memory retention. By presenting information in bite-sized pieces, learners can better process and retain the content, making learning and applying new knowledge easier.

     

    In the context of Microlearning, Miller's concept of chunking aligns with the idea of delivering small, focused learning modules that are easier for learners to digest and remember. By presenting information concisely and structuredly, Microlearning leverages the principles of chunking to optimize learning outcomes and improve knowledge retention.

     

    How Microlearning Works:

    Microlearning is a learning method that delivers a tiny portion of information on one specific subject, ranging from seconds to 20 minutes. The purpose is to provide learners with some targeted and easily digestible information for quick comprehension and retention of the knowledge. It is an eLearning educational approach designed to be completed in a short amount of time wherever you are and whenever you need, which can be received by you through electronic devices such as cell phones, tablets, desktops, etc., which is now also getting very popular due to its efficiency and effectiveness in delivering specific learning content.

     

    The Benefits and the Limitations of Microlearning:

    The Benefits of Microlearning:

    Small content: Big topics break down into small, understandable pieces and focus on a specific learning object.

    Short duration: As it comes in quick and easy concepts, it will fit busy lifestyles.

    Quick Access: It is an on-demand learning system accessible through various devices such as smartphones, tablets, or computers, making it convenient for learners to receive information anytime and anywhere.

    Multimedia Elements: it is reachable through various formats such as videos, infographics, quizzes, podcasts, or interactive modules to engage learners and improve the learning experience.

    Quick and Flexible: Microlearning modules are designed to be completed quickly, allowing learners to fit them into their busy schedules. This flexibility makes Microlearning suitable for just-in-time learning.

    Targeted content: Microlearning focuses on specific learning objectives or topics, making it ideal for focused training on particular issues to acquire the knowledge or skills you need quickly.

    Reinforcement: Microlearning can boost continuous learning. It ensures the retention of information for a long time.

    Adaptable: Microlearning can be easily adapted to various learning styles and preferences. Learners can choose the content that is most relevant to their needs.

    Employee Training: Many organizations use Microlearning to cover compliance, product knowledge, and soft skills.

    Engagement and Interactivity: Interactive elements, such as quizzes, scenarios, and gamification, are often integrated into Microlearning modules to optimize engagement and retention.

    Data and Analytics: Microlearning platforms often provide data and analytics to track learner progress and assess the effectiveness of the content.

     

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    The Limitations of Microlearning:

    Limited Depth: Due to the short duration of Microlearning modules, they may not cover complex topics in great depth. It can be a limitation for subjects that require a more comprehensive understanding or detailed explanation.

    Lack of Context: Microlearning modules are typically standalone units of learning, which may need more context provided by more extended, more traditional courses. Learners may need help to connect the dots between different Microlearning modules and apply their knowledge in real-world scenarios.

    Potential for Overload: While breaking down information into smaller chunks can aid learning, too many Microlearning modules delivered quickly can overwhelm learners and lead to cognitive overload. It's essential to strike a balance and ensure that the pace of Microlearning delivery is manageable for learners.

    Limited Interactivity: Microlearning formats like short videos or quizzes may offer different interactivity and engagement than longer e-learning courses. It can impact learner motivation and retention of information.

    Not Suitable for All Topics: Certain topics or skills may lend themselves poorly to Microlearning. Complex or technical subjects that require hands-on practice or in-depth exploration may be better suited to longer-form training.

    Where is Microlearning being used?

    Microlearning is used across various industries and sectors to deliver quick, targeted learning experiences. Some typical applications of Microlearning include:

     

    Corporate Training: Many organizations use Microlearning to deliver training on compliance, product knowledge, sales techniques, customer service skills, and more. Microlearning modules can be easily integrated into employees' busy schedules and provide just-in-time support.

    Education: Educational institutions incorporate Microlearning into their teaching methods to enhance student engagement and retention. Short videos, quizzes, and interactive modules reinforce key concepts and help students learn independently.

    Healthcare: Healthcare professionals use Microlearning to stay updated on the latest medical research, guidelines, and procedures. Quick modules on patient safety, infection control, and new treatments can be accessed on the go to support continuous learning.

    Retail: Retail organizations use Microlearning to train employees on product knowledge, customer service skills, and sales techniques. Short modules can be accessed on mobile devices to provide just-in-time support for frontline staff.

    Technology: In the tech industry, Microlearning is often used to deliver training on new software applications, programming languages, or IT security best practices. Bite-sized modules help tech professionals stay current with rapidly evolving technologies.

    Compliance Training: Many industries, such as finance, healthcare, and manufacturing, require employees to undergo regular compliance training on topics like data security, workplace safety, and regulatory requirements. Microlearning is an effective way to deliver this training in short, digestible modules.

     

    Overall, Microlearning is used in various contexts to provide flexible, engaging, and efficient learning experiences for learners of all ages and backgrounds. Its versatility and accessibility make it popular for organizations looking to enhance their training programs and support continuous learning initiatives.

     

    Conclusion:

    Overall, Microlearning is an effective way to engage learners, improve knowledge retention, and provide personalized learning experiences.

    Despite the limitations that Microlearning could have, some of which are indicated above, it can still be a valuable tool for delivering quick, targeted learning experiences that cater to the needs of modern learners. Organizations can effectively integrate this approach into their overall learning strategy by understanding the limitations and leveraging the strengths of Microlearning.

    Microlearning is particularly well-suited for today's fast-paced and mobile-centric learning environments. It aligns with learning in the workflow and is widely used in corporate training, professional development, and educational settings to provide efficient and targeted learning experiences.