Discussing Neuroscience And Microlearning

Discussing About Neuroscience And Microlearning
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Summary: Why do neuroscientists love microlearning? What's the benefit of using it?

Neuroscience And Microlearning: All You Need To Know

Microlearning has already become a trend. It's one perfect method for training for people with a very tight schedule and for people who like learning on the go.

What Is The Meaning Of Microlearning?

There are a lot of definitions for this concept, but the one that is closer to my point of view is the one from workinglearning.com that writes the following:

"Microlearning is the learning that relatively includes short engagements in learning-related activities—typically ranging from a few seconds up to 20 minutes (or up to an hour in some cases)—that may provide any combination of content presentation, review, practice, reflection, behavioral prompting, performance support, goal reminding, persuasive messaging, task assignments, social interaction, diagnosis, coaching, management interaction, or other learning-related methodologies."

So, as you see, any short piece of training with a duration of 1 to 20 min is considered to be microlearning or, in another definition, bite-sized learning.

Neuroscience And The Way We Learn

Neuroscientists have discovered how our mind works and learns. It's very important for us to understand our mind functionality so that we can introduce a good learning material.

They said that according to research and studies, the human being can not concentrate more than 20 min on a certain topic. The mind loses its focus, and it will stop learning.

As the learning process changes a lot our brain and its functionality, it's very important for us to let these changes happen and give our brain time to relax and learn.

Focused Mode And Diffused Mode Of Thinking

According to research, we have two different modes of thinking and dealing with problems or even learning.

Dr.Barbara Oakley, in her course "Learn how to learn " in Coursera, said:

"Our brain will be in the focused mode when it tries to concentrate on something. For example, when it tries to solve a certain math equation or to get in-depth on a certain topic or even take a critical decision in your job. But the diffused mode is a more relaxing one, it's the one to release your creativity and help you find an innovating solution to a certain problem or even learn a new concept that is completely new for you."

As adviced by Dr.Barbara Oakley, we need both modes to achieve our learning goals. That's why it's very important to adopt microlearning in our learning methods so as to give our brain the time needed to move from the focused mode to the diffused mode, and vice-versa.

So, for now, most scientists agree that our brain can't handle learning that lasts for more than 20 min, and it needs time to relax and then continue learning. But how can we apply that?

How To Apply Microlearning In Our Learning Organization

1. Use Short Videos

If you are using long videos for your training, then the first step is to customize it into bite-sized videos (each video lasting 5 min maximum).

2. Adopt A Lot Of Activities In Your Training

If you are preparing a training session of an hour or so, try to divide it into small bites of activities. For example, you can make 5 min of PPT, then 10 min of open discussion, 5 min of videos, and a 10-min assignment... and so on. The more your learners switch from one mode to another, the more they will learn.

3. Apply Gamification

All people, regardless of their age, love games. If you succeed in gamifying your course, letting your learners be more relaxed while learning, they will learn in no time.

Encourage them by making them collect points, badges, solving puzzles, and giving them rewards. There are a lot of topics that you can find online talking about how you can successfully gamify your online course or even your on-site training.

4. Using Infographics

I can't talk about microlearning without referring to infographics, as it's important for facilitating the learning process. Use it to convert long videos into simple graphs, or to introduce a new concept, or even to present your course charts.

Finally, as you can see, microlearning is the most suitable practice based on our human nature, and it's the best example that helps us move from a focused mode to a diffused mode, and the one that helps us learn more effectively while releasing the creativity of our minds at the same time.