Professor Semingson at the University of Texas at Arlington published a piece recently related to how microlearning can engage non-traditional students. To see the full article by Prof. Semingson please visit the link at the end of this post.

Before we get too far, maybe we should begin with quick a definition of microlearning:

In contrast to long-form text and multimedia, microlearning consists of short bursts of information (microcontent), which is often followed by an opportunity to interact and retrieve information such as a short quiz or chance to post short written commentary.

That’s a good start, but to dig deeper on microlearning you may want to check out this post from last year. Microlearning sessions, not surprisingly, are rather short in duration – most studies cite session lengths of two to fifteen minutes as true ‘microlearning’ with rich media as a centerpoint and a clear takeaway from each session.

If you’re a Junction user, this will sound awfully familiar. Junction recommends that course creators assume a learner will spend 4-8 minutes per page. On mobile devices, typical session lengths we’ve seen over the last few years are 5-10 minutes (2-3 pages) on smartphones and 15-20 minutes (3-5 pages) on tablets – maybe that’s one reason why we’re experiencing 90+% course completion rates with our media-rich OER-based courses.

But back to our post and understanding why videos play such an important role in microlearning…

Microlearning can potentially provide for more engaging digital content rather than long disengaging and tedious lectures or “walls of text” that students are less likely to read and interact with.

So what are some examples of rich microcontent? Micropodcasts or short videos that allow students to skip from one to another based on the competencies or learning objectives that they are interested in. Yes, this is the same logic behind why Facebook, Twitter and many news web sites are now embedding short-form video. Digital flashcards and short knowledge checks are other educational examples – oh, and you’ll find them all seamlessly woven together in Junction as well #humblebrag.

Another key factor in the success of microlearning is putting control in the hands of students – not the machine – to direct learning exploration.

Students can opt in or opt out of viewing these microlearning resources. This type of flexible learning lets learners know that their time is valuable and that content is available but that they are autonomous learners who can find the information that they need to be successful in a course… Simple nudging techniques… can guide students towards the microcontent that will help them to be successful in mastering course content.

Yes, these are some of the same design ideas brought to life with Junction’s adaptive playlists and Junction Beacon, our proprietary student engagement system.

To learn more about microlearning, microcontent and how to get started – other than using Junction, of course – please visit the link below.

Engaging Non-Traditional Students with (Mobile-Compatible) Microlearning

I teach entirely online at a university, The University of Texas at Arlington, which is in the process of expanding online learning opportunities for students, including non-traditional, diverse learners. One approach that is useful for non-traditional students is to make use of a relatively new concept called microlearning.