There are many strategies that you can use to make your virtual classroom effective. One of them is microlearning. This is a type of learning strategy that involves bite-size lessons. Instead of the 1-hour long courses, you get to give the students 10-minute courses – or even less. Most of the time, these come in the form of videos or a slideshow presentation. The combination of images, music, narration and charts are used to teach concepts fast and efficiently. The tools that you will use in these short courses must be concise, engaging and relatable. That is how you can maximize the retention rate.
Some people may think that this type of learning is best for informal learning settings – like mobile learning. However, it can also prove to be very useful in a virtual classroom. Of course, there are drawbacks as well. Let us identify the different pros and cons of using microlearning in an online classroom.
- Boosts retention of concepts. As impressive as our brains can be, you cannot expect it to absorb everything around you. It also gets tired and overwhelmed with information. When that happens, retention rate decreases. In most cases, it is the first part of the lesson that gets forgotten. This is why bite-sized learning is better. Since the lessons are shorter, it increases the chances that the whole lesson is retained in the mind.
- Fills in gaps in the learning process. Sometimes, a virtual classroom focuses on one concept, skill or idea. Microlearning materials will help fill in any gaps as you go from one learning phase to the other.
- Motivates the learners. We all like quick fixes and instant gratification. A short course can help you satisfy the need for this. The ability to finish a learning material quickly gives the impression that learning is easy. This positive learning experience can motivate learners to seek out more learning materials.
- Does not dig too deep into your budget. Creating a microlearning material for a virtual classroom is only a fraction of the cost compared to a full online course. It will not require too much investment in terms of design, and time.
- Inappropriate for complex lessons. Obviously, complex concepts or lessons require more time for explanation. In case more than 10 minutes is needed, then this is cannot use microlearning. If it can be cut into bite-sized pieces, then it may be possible. But if not, then it needs a full online course.
- Tendency to lose connection with each other. You have to be careful when fragmenting a course into bite-sized lessons. Everything has to be connected to a unifying concept in the virtual classroom. That way, the importance of all the lessons will be evident.
It is important for you to remember that microlearning cannot be the primary material that you will use. It can only support a major course – one that holds the main concept or lesson. For instance, if you are trying to teach personal finance, you need one whole course for that. But you can create microlearning materials that will help explain and implement financial habits like budgeting, saving or spending.
Using microlearning in a virtual classroom is okay but make sure that it is only one of the many tools that you will use. There are other tools that can help increase the learning experience of the learners – that is what you should aim for.
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