6 Microlearning Myths eLearning Professionals Should Bust
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6 Microlearning Myths ... Busted!

Microlearning reduces cognitive overload and improves knowledge retention. It involves bite-size eLearning content that is easily accessible and easily digestible. Though the advantages are well known, there is still some mystery surrounding the microlearning strategy. Myths pop up from time to time, and separating the truth from misconceptions can be a challenging task. So, now it’s time to dispel 6 microlearning myths and set the record straight.

Myth #1. Microlearning Is All About Dividing And Conquering

Chunking information into bite-size eLearning content is just one aspect of microlearning. But it's not the only thing. It's a general misconception that eLearning professionals can create microlearning eLearning courses by simply dividing the subject matter into smaller lessons. However, each eLearning module must complete an entire thought. It has to cover the core ideas of the sub-topic or task. You can't just cut the information into bite-size chunks and toss them at the online learner, hoping that something sticks. In fact, it takes time to package microlearning content so that it's organized and cohesive. Remember that the ultimate goal is to make eLearning more accessible and easier to digest. Thus, fragmented information or disheveled eLearning content defeats the purpose.

Myth #2. Microlearning Has A Set Time Limit

The time limit for microlearning differs depending on who you ask. One person might say that it's anything five minutes or less, while another thinks it should have a 3-minute cap. The truth is that microlearning doesn’t necessary have a maximum time limit. It should be long enough to finish the thought, but in the most concise and succinct manner. In fact, an eLearning course can be just a few minutes long and still not be classified as "microlearning" because it doesn't consist a learning unit. Learning units are defined as complete learning experiences that are self-contained, meaning that they can stand on their own. That being said, an hour-long presentation is NOT microlearning, even if the information is distilled.

Myth #3. Microlearning Takes The Place Of eLearning Courses

One of the biggest microlearning myths centers on its scope. Ideally, microlearning is a support tool that improves retention and comprehension. It should never take the place of eLearning courses or serve as a stand-alone online resource. Instead, microlearning must be framed by comprehensive eLearning course content, such as eLearning modules and activities that explore the key takeaways. As an example, inviting online learners to watch an online presentation that covers the basics, then offering them a quick 3-minute eLearning scenario.

Myth #4. Microlearning Works For ALL Subject Matter

In a perfect world, everyone could learn everything in a matter of minutes. But it's a simple fact of life that learning takes time, especially when complicated ideas are involved. There are certain topics that aren't suitable for microlearning. For example, developing communication skills, or mastering new software. These processes consist of numerous subtasks and skills that online learners must explore, which requires time and patience. You can't expect someone to learn the basics of astrophysics by watching a 5-minute microlearning video.

Myth #5. Microlearning Is No Match For Complex Topics

I know that I just mentioned that microlearning isn't suitable for all complex ideas. But there's actually a caveat to this. You CAN create microlearning online support resources which reinforce key ideas and concepts. For instance, a branching scenario that features one aspect of the task so that online learners can gain real world experience. Here are just a few examples of microlearning activities that can reinforce key concepts:

  • Task Tutorials: After providing a general outline of the process, offer online learners a task tutorial that highlights each step. Include realistic images, sounds, and settings to improve online learner immersion. You can also provide links to additional online resources that enhance comprehension. For example, articles, eLearning videos or scenarios that explore related skills or information.
  • Virtual Job Aids: This ranges from branching scenarios and eLearning simulations to interactive timelines. "Moment of need" resources offer immediate information that is accessible anytime, anywhere. For instance, online learners who are struggling with a task can quickly complete an eLearning simulation. Thus, they don't have to wait until the next eLearning course to get the task done.
  • Serious Games: Serious games or gamified eLearning courses combine eLearning with entertainment. Online learners are able to explore micro-worlds or defeat foes to get to the next level. The goal is to impart knowledge and build skills in a fun and engaging way. Create serious games that feature a task or skill, and then invite online learners to join the adventure. Just make sure that you lay the foundation by summarizing the topic before and after the game-play.
  • Product Demos: Include a general overview of the product line, including its benefits and selling points. Then create a microlearning online presentation for each product or service. Include its features, specs, and upselling tips. For example, add-ons that employees can offer alongside the product.

Myth #6. Microlearning Doesn't Rely On Context

Our last microlearning myth is all a matter of context. Some people assume that microlearning is self-explanatory. That you can simply send your online learners a link to a brief online video or article and call it a day. The exact opposite is true. Microlearning heavily relies on context. You must fill the gaps by discussing the topic beforehand and then reviewing the information afterward. It's also wise to assess your online learners before and after the microlearning activity so that you can gauge their progress.

Microlearning isn’t the cure for all eLearning ills. However, it can be a great supplemental resource that enhances learning comprehension. So, if you’re on the fence about whether microlearning is right for your eLearning course, analyse the needs of your online learner and consider the learning objectives of your eLearning course.

Are you looking for tips to make your microlearning stick? Read the article 7 Tips To Create Memorable Microlearning Online Training to discover a few tricks and techniques for creating memorable microlearning online training.

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