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Do Microcourses Have a Place in Workplace Learning?

From Wikipedia – Microlearning deals with relatively small learning units and short-term learning activities. Generally, the term ‘microlearning’ refers to micro-perspectives in the context of learning, education and training. More frequently, the term is used in the domain of E-learning and related fields in the sense of a new paradigmatic perspective on learning processes in mediated environments on micro levels.

Earlier this week Clark Quinn talked of Microcourses wondering if microcourses have any use.

He writes:

“..I also am happy to think of mobile as an augment to formal learning: reactivating knowledge, distributing practice, contextualizing learning, and even performance capture.”

I absolutely agree there. Upside Learning sell 2 minute video courses from Skill-Pill which could best fall in the ‘reactivating knowledge’ category. In the past we’ve developed some HTML based mini-courses that included content pages and quizzes (here is a mini courses sample on Time Management and a Time Management Quiz). However, I don’t really think we will see a lot of learning being delivered that way.

MLearning is best used as a part of a blended learning solution and is suitable for:

♦ Activating knowledge before a classroom (or virtual classroom or even and eLearning session);

♦ Summarizing (after one of those sessions – delivered soon after the session);

♦ Recall (or reactivating knowledge – probably a week or two after the session. This ensures key concepts are revisited and helps in transferring the new knowledge to long term memory – especially for learners who may not get a chance to apply new knowledge immediately after the sessions);

♦ Providing application opportunities (through pop quizzes or learning games on mobile);

♦ Just-in-time search support by letting employees search in company’s knowledge databases (wikis, blogs, forums) using their mobiles.

As comments to Clark’s post Tom Stone argues in favor of use of microcourses as formal learning tools. Jeff Goldman provides some samples (sample 1sample 2) which I quite like as micro courses. I now see how making a series of this type could well be an option for workplace learning.

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