As a student in higher education, you take on a lot of information both inside and out of lectures and seminars. Sometimes, it can feel overwhelming, which could potentially impact your learning. Luckily, several study methods exist to get you back on track.
This is where microlearning comes into play. Could taking on smaller chunks of knowledge help improve the performance and study habits of students on both in-person and online courses?
In this article, we’ll look into what microlearning is and how it can benefit all sorts of students, some of whom may not have a lot of free time to spare for studying, or those who struggle with longer forms of learning that are found in higher education.
The basics of microlearning
The concept of microlearning doesn’t have a set definition. It’s more along the lines of a learning theory that emphasises learning in small sections. This could be as brief as paragraphs of texts and images or videos and interactive games or quizzes. It can be almost anything as long as it keeps to the theme of being as short as possible.
The main goal is to provide an engaging alternative to traditional learning methods like lectures and seminars that can take hours.
By focussing resources on microlearning, lectures would be broken down into much smaller chunks. This could mean video lectures being made or released after an in-person session via short-form videos that go over the key points covered so you’re only learning what you need to know on the subject.
What are the benefits?
Microlearning gives students the benefits of educational content that can be taken in quickly and flexibly. This means that students would have access to full courses that are broken down into small chunks that can be done in and around their busy schedules.
This is more in line with how the human brain works in terms of memory capacity and attention spans. Research conducted by the University of Southern Queensland found that students found applied microlearning more manageable and enjoyable. When asked to rate their satisfaction levels, the responses were high with responses around 4.7–4.8 out of 5.
Another benefit of microlearning is that studies have shown that this learning strategy assists in long-term retention. RPS found that it can improve focus and retention by up to 80% when used as an additional strategy to the main training or course learning.
How does this apply to higher learning?
Students can benefit from microlearning as it needs to be short and comprehensible, so the information must be concise and to the point. Breaking it down to just what you need to know helps with retention in the longer term.
Online courses can be remote by their very nature, and technology makes it even easier to study from wherever you want. But this doesn’t mean that schedules for online students are any less hectic. Having the option to work your learning around the rest of your weekly plans is a great solution, especially considering that the average university lecture is anywhere between one to two hours.
Overall, microlearning is a fantastic solution that addresses the attention span of students as well as their busy schedules. Condensing the course contents into more manageable sections makes for a more engaging course. This results in better retention of information further down the line. It also allows for a more flexible approach to learning, as the content is short enough that it can be worked into your day whenever you feel ready to tackle it.