How to Use Microlearning to Drive Engagement in Your Online Course or Membership Site5 minute read
Our brains were not designed to maintain focus endlessly. Especially in our day and age, a learners' attention span is shrinking as we are switching between tasks and bombarded by distractions.
Hectic lifestyles and busy schedules are shaping the way we absorb knowledge. This is why many businesses and institutions are switching from standard to microlearning techniques.
Keep reading below to learn all about microlearning and its benefits, and how you can improve the learning experience in your online course by applying some microlearning techniques.
What is Microlearning?
Microlearning refers to a teaching method where information is broken down into shorter bite-sized chunks and delivered at a constant pace to students.
The information delivered with microlearning tends to be highly focused on the students' goals and generally offers immediate real-life applications.
Compared with traditional education, the microlearning approach is more direct and to the point. Its goal is to avoid leaving students overwhelmed with information and provide a way to retain knowledge effectively.
Since microlearning fits perfectly with the learners' busy schedules, it is also often used as a training method for employees in the corporate world or skills training.
Bite-sized lessons or “learning chunks” are at the essence of this training technique. Information in microlearning is shorter, faster and clearer compared to traditional education approaches.
The average length of a microlearning lesson (or "microlesson") is from 3 to 5 minutes, generally no longer than 10 minutes.
Microlessons are also dripped to learners on a consistent schedule that allows the newly acquired knowledge to properly "cement" in the mind of the students.
So depending on the type of course, microlearning lessons could occur once a day, a few times a week and so on.
Each microlearning lesson focuses on one specific concept or idea, and only one. Generally, the learner is given instructions on how to apply that concept to a real-life situation right away.
The type of content also plays an important role in microlearning. This teaching method prefers a variety of content aimed to keep learners engaged: from text to presentations, video, audio files, interactive animations and so on.
The lesson content should be highly versatile and fit the different needs of learners, which is why microlearning courses are often delivered on smartphones.
What are the Benefits of Microlearning?
Dripping knowledge to students in short bursts has many advantages. Let's see the main benefits of microlearning below:
Improves Students Focus and Knowledge Retention
According to research, microlearning promotes focus and sustains long-term information retention by up to 80%.
Since content is delivered in bite-sized lessons, learners are not overwhelmed by information and it is easier for them to retain new knowledge. The learning content in this type of approach is short and accessible, which makes it easily manageable for students to learn at their own pace.
Microlearning has the power to engage students in a much better way compared to a standard online course. As the content is delivered in short lessons that take no more than 10 minutes to be completed, students are less likely to feel overwhelmed or discouraged by the length of the course.
Even if overall a microlearning course might be longer than a standard online course (assuming they include the same exact content), the microlearning course is structured in shorter lessons that are delivered to students regularly. This may seem less "overwhelming" to learners.
Offers High Rewards for "Minimal" Work
Students enrolled in a microlearning course are taking more frequent actions to get through the same amount of content that a more standard online course might have, increasing the number of positive feedback loops and providing a heightened sense of reward through a microlearning course's progression.
As a creator, you could add gamification tools to your course and reward learners for each small step they take with features like points and badges. Heights Platform offers a built-in points and badges system to make it easy to set up gamification in your online course!
This improves the overall learning experience as students feel more motivated to log into your program every day and complete a small task or lesson.
Easier to Manage
Another benefit of microlearning is that courses are much easier to build due to shorter content.
As a creator, it is easier for you to build microlearning lessons and manage your course content. Microlearning can be beneficial also in terms of customer service.
It will be simpler for you to offer support to students if you know exactly what kind of content is included in your lessons. This allows students to point to a specific lesson they need help with, rather than for you as the creator trying to understand which concept in which portion of a 3-hour long video a student might have not fully grasped.
Can you Apply Microlearning Methods in Online Courses?
Nowadays microlearning is commonly used in corporate training, as it is aimed to fit into the busy schedules of employees.
But why not use microlearning in your online course as well?
Before you get started, it is important to determine whether microlearning is the right approach for your online course.
While microlearning offers many benefits, there are specific goals that cannot be achieved by this learning method. If you are teaching a complex subject or your online course involves a variety of difficult tasks or your topic is divided into many different sub-categories, microlearning may not be the right choice for your learning program.
Ask yourself if your lessons could be delivered in a shorter time window, or even try to time yourself as you are going through your lessons.
Microlearning may not be the perfect choice for all learning needs. However, it offers several benefits for creators who want to improve engagement and knowledge retention among students, especially to deliver relatively "direct" and less complicated concepts.
How to Create Microlearning Courses in Heights Platform
Heights Platform offers you all the tools you need to build awesome online courses and membership sites, by giving you the freedom to choose your preferred business model.
It also offers a solution for creators who wish to introduce microlearning to their programs.
Heights Platform lets you create Challenges, which are a type of online course, where the difference is the way students can access the lessons.
With Challenges, you can schedule the dates when your course will be available to students, together with the release date of every single lesson.
Each lesson inside a Challenge will disappear for students after a set period of time that you can customize. Everyone who purchases your Challenge will gain access to the course and go through the lessons simultaneously.
Once a Challenge is completed, online course creators using Heights Platform have the option to restart it and rerun the challenge again simply with the click of one button.
You can decide the launch date for the new challenge course, and the system automatically calculates the launch and expiration dates of every single lesson, based on the settings you had in the previous challenge!
Learn all about how you can use Challenges in Heights Platform here: Introducing Challenges in Heights Platform: (How to Increase Engagement and Boost Online Course Sales)
So why are Challenges perfect for the microlearning model?
- With Challenges, you can make sure that students access the content only for a set period of time, on certain calendar dates. This makes sure that students only consume a certain amount of content regularly.
- All you need to do is make sure that the lesson content in your challenge is aligned with microlearning practices (lessons that are not too long, around 5 to 10 minutes in length). Heights takes care of all the rest!
- Every time you release a new lesson, Heights Platform automatically sends an email to your students informing them about the newly available lesson. This helps you maximize participation and increase engagement in your online course.
- Challenges in Heights Platform are not designed to last for a long period of time (generally a week or a month). This is perfect for microlearning, as you want to avoid teaching subjects that are too complicated with this method.