The human attention span is at an all-time low, thanks to smartphones and other smart technology. Our species' ability to focus on the task at hand (when we have a mobile device in the other hand) has been famously compared to the common goldfish, that is, somewhere around eight seconds at a time. (The goldfish's attention span is nine seconds)
Obviously, this is making learning and teaching a tad bit more difficult than it's ever been in the past. But luckily, humans are as creative as they are easily distracted. We invent new concepts and devices to solve problems--even those created by previously invented concepts and devices. One of the most effective new counters for our attention-span problem is the idea of microlearning.
What is microlearning?
At the most basic level, micro-learning is a type of skills-based education that utilizes small learning units to get important information across to the learner. This type of learning presents information using short-term focused strategies to help people pick up skills quickly and close knowledge gaps rapidly.
It is an ideal learning strategy for many learners in all kinds of circumstances because people don't have the time or attention to sit down for long lectures anymore, information changes at an increasingly rapid rate, and microlearning is easily supported by modern technology.
How do you use microlearning?
There are a plethora of ways to utilize these learning strategies. Some ideas include:
- Scenario-based learning: Use short stories and videos to present ideas in a more memorable manner.
- Gamified activities: Instead of presenting a lot of dry theory and information, provide interactive game-like situations with attractive visuals to increase interest and encourage engagement.
- Text-based animation: If the information you need to present is text-heavy, you can still use clever design strategies such as mind maps and diagrams to visually show the flow of and connections between ideas.
Say, for example, you want to teach your employees the information contained within the guide "How restaurants are Using Modern Learning to Drive Innovation." You could split the guide into quick, two-minute chunks, preferably paired with arresting images or videos, and present them to employees in sequence. The point is to be brief, focused, and varied.
What are the benefits?
Learners to see immediate results: well-designed microlearning materials allow learners to pick up a skill that they put to use immediately in the real world, promoting quick wins and a sense of satisfaction and intrinsic motivation that inspires learners to continue.
This type of learning can also be budget friendly, as it doesn't take too much time or too many expensive resources to create material. Learning can be available in multiple formats and utilized across a variety of devices, and it's perfect for the fast-paced techno-centric culture we all live in now.