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Bite-size learning

by Vijay Garg
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How does an igloo keep you warm? Why do we feel nostalgia? What would happen if the world went vegetarian? One can find answers to these queries from short videos. This is what Microlearning is all about.
Figures from Statistic Brain Research Institute show that, in 2000, the span of human attention was 12 seconds. In 2015, it further decreased to 8.25 seconds. No wonder then that mMcrolearning is seen as a way of creating effective learning in a short span.
The recent pandemic has put tremendous pressure on education institutions and educationists, globally. However, it has also generated opportunities to promote innovation in learning and teaching methods.
Skill-based approach
Microlearning is one such innovation, which offers a skill-based approach to teaching, which renders information in highly focused, small chunks that students can grasp in a short time, according to their preferred location and schedule.
Although bite-size learning has become increasingly popular in the last two years, it has an extensive history even before desktops were a thing. But, it became relevant when it met the modern smartphone. In this era of immediacy and short attention span, it is a model that can be used across various kinds of learning.
However, there is no one way to deliver this. Microlearning tools consist of articles, videos, blogs, quizzes, audio clips, simulation, e-books, infographics, and gamification. As long as the content is in short bursts of information that help the learners to acquire customised knowledge in a short span, the tool used is not of much relevance. It is not just about content consumption. There are various ways in which students can implement the strategy:
Supplement courses: Modules can be devised to reinforce learning, and used to facilitate recollection of information from within the lessons or post-lecture session.
Flipped classroom learning: Students can avail modules outside class hours and effectively utilise class hours for practical work and discussions.
Learn new language: They can learn creative writing or learn to write in a new language by compiling small sentences.
Despite following a bite-sized format, Microlearning should be integrated into higher education. For educators looking to offer learners useful skill honing chances, it provides a means to stand out from the crowd, and can effectively upskill students in aiding retention. Instead of loading them with long content and information, short snippets help them grasp key points easily, thereby leading to information retention and being able to use it to advantage.
According to data from Educational Computing Research, the short form of content aids in better retention of information by at least 20%. It also helps them focus on relevance. Essentially Microlearning is task-oriented. which does away with extraneous information. It provides learners with the precise information they need, to get the job done as effectively as possible.

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