Information Overload: How Microlearning Can Help Combat This Plague

Information Overload: How Microlearning Can Help Combat This Plague
suriya yapin/
Summary: Information overload is a harsh reality every modern-day learner experiences. In this article, we'll discuss how microlearning is the key to solving the puzzle of information overload.

How Microlearning Combats Information Overload

We live in the age of information. Unlike two or three decades ago, information is readily available to the masses today at the click of a button, a tap on their screens or even a spoken voice command. While our forerunners had problems with non-availability of information, we struggle with too much information; more than our brains can handle. We’re moving at such a pace that every day, there are new technologies to navigate, new processes to engineer and adopt and entirely new conversations that need to happen. The amount of information being almost infinite, and the limited human capability has a hard time processing this information thrown at it, which presents a problem known as ‘information overload’.

What this means is that the more information a learner is exposed to, the less well they are able to retain it. In trying to cram more concepts into your brain, you end up with an incomplete soup of all of those concepts, which serves no purpose and leaves you confused. This information overload is the present day plague troubling learners, which results in skill or knowledge gaps. So what do we do in such a predicament? Fortunately, experts in the field of Learning and Development have a solution. It’s called microlearning.

Microlearning: Our Savior Against This Plague

Most people in the L&D field, as well as those exposed to a certain level of L&D, would already be familiar with this concept, but for those who aren’t, microlearning is essentially a learning process in which information is provided in small, bite-sized pieces to a learner, which is easier to process, and it focuses on helping learners understand a specific subject or fulfill an objective. Microlearning exposes learners to these small, but well-targeted chunks of information which are easily retained, unlike traditional learning methods where learners have to go through grueling and complex courses which expose them to so much information at once that it is almost impossible to retain.

What Makes Microlearning A Sure Shot Way To Combat Information Overload?

Well, microlearning is based on years of research on how the human brain is wired to learn and in what way it best retains information. Research says that humans learn through brief learning experiences spread out in a planned manner, and that’s exactly what microlearning is all about. Information overload occurs because the human brain is not equipped to go through such extensive content as we have available today, but rather short bursts of information. Microlearning designs brief learning experiences to reach an extended goal, using a variety of engaging and easily manageable short-term activities and presentations.

In order to understand better, let us understand those features of microlearning which make it a sure shot way to combat information overload.

1. Microlearning Is Brief And Concise

Although there is no hard and fast rule about how long a microlearning module or course should be, most experts agree that it should be between 3 to 5 minutes long. This addresses the constraint of the human attention span, while chunking content in such a concise way that it only deals with information that is important for the learner to know, makes for easy retention of information.

2. Microlearning Is Adaptable

Another important thing that research says is that humans learn through repetition. But doing the same thing over and over can lead to boredom and disengage learners. However, there are multiple formats through which information can be provided in a microlearning course. For example, you could expose the learner to a video on how to do a certain thing, which would be followed by interactivity, allowing them to try it themselves. While a learner may struggle to maintain enough interest to read paragraphs upon paragraphs of text (even with images), they would be far more involved in a video or interactivity, even though each format contains basically the same information.

3. Microlearning Is Flexible

Perhaps, the best thing about microlearning is that it offers the ultimate flexibility. You can learn at your own pace and in your own time (which it doesn’t take a lot of). This way microlearning is also completely learner-centered.

The amount of information available to an average person is increasing and is only going to increase with passing time. Thus learners, need to take in only important information which cuts out the noise, while also saving time, as our lives are getting increasingly busier. As microlearning solves all these problems, we believe that it is without a doubt, the future of learning. It is time to adapt it into our lives intentionally right now, before it becomes a necessity.