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Microlearning an Evolving Elearning Trend

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This article is analyzing the meanings of the micro-learning trend, as they have emerged and developed over the last few years. Exploring how the term micro-learning is used to organize and order a set of pedagogical and technological phenomena and concepts in new and interesting ways, it is brought into focus the most popular and widely used learning management platforms that embrace this concept.
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Scientific Bulletin
Vol. XXII No 1(43) 2017
MICROLEARNING
AN EVOLVING ELEARNING TREND
Luminiţa GIURGIU
luminita.giurgiu.a@gmail.com
“NICOLAE BĂLCESCU LAND FORCES ACADEMY, SIBIU, ROMANIA
ABSTRACT
This article is analyzing the meanings of the micro-learning
trend, as they have emerged and developed over the last few years.
Exploring how the term micro-learning is used to organize and order
a set of pedagogical and technological phenomena and concepts in
new and interesting ways, it is brought into focus the most popular
and widely used learning management platforms that embrace this
concept.
KEYWORDS:
Micro-learning, elearning, micro-content
1. Why micro-learning?
Social, economic and technological
everyday changes trigger new concepts and
strategies which support learning. Education
needs transformations in an appropriate
way in which we live, work and learn.
Recent studies indicate that a short content
may increase information retention by 20 %.
Researchers at Dresden University of
Technology in Germany have launched a
study to examine this issue.
It is well known that most e-learning
materials format is a piece of content,
followed by an evaluation question.
The study’s goal was to see if students
respond better to these questions when they
watched several small pieces of content
answering many appropriate questions, or
when they watched large amounts of
content with fewer evaluation sections.
So, the e-learning material was sixteen
chapters of content and the students were
divided into three groups, as following: the
first group responded to a question after
reading each of the 16 chapters; the second
group answered four questions after reading
each group of four chapters; group number
three received eight questions after each
half of the original text. Passing through
this first stage, in the second stage students
have supported the same test of multiple
choice items covering the whole course
material.
Results demonstrated that smaller
slices content helped participants to better
retain information and better perform in
each of the two stages:
the first group took 28 % less time
to answer their assessment questions than
the third group, and did 20 % better;
the first group performed 8 %
better on the comprehensive test than the
second;
students in the third group had to
read again more than three times the
number of sections than the first group did;
in the second stage of the study,
the first group accomplished 22.2 % better
DOI: 10.1515/bsaft-2017-0003
© 2017. This work is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 3.0 License.
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than the third group and 8.4 % better than
the second group.
Giving students a long content at once
leads to very little interaction between
information and the learner. This way, the
content may exceed the capacity of working
memory and drives to uncertainty in the
learning environment. Another facet of the
problem is that, knowing what is expected
with introduced information is crucial in an
easier retention.
So it has been proved that micro-
learning offers students the opportunity to
more easily absorb and retain the
information provided by the course lessons
and activities that are more manageable and
digestible. Micro-learning or Micro-
eLearning education is often referred to as
bite-sized because the entire educational
process is detached in small chunks that
usually last no longer than a few minutes.
The way micro-learning addresses
short size of learning content that is made
up of fine-grained, interconnected and
loosely-coupled short learning activities,
determines the focus on the individual
learning needs (Singh, 2014).
2. Micro-learning Associated Concepts
Influencing each other, micro-learning
is closely related to the following concepts:
Micro-content Micro-learning
and micro-content together define how to
deliver a quantity of knowledge and
information, structured in several short
chapters, fine-grained, well-defined and
interconnected. Micro-content refers to
information whose length is determined by
a single topic, content that covers a single
idea or concept and is accessible via a
single URL, being suitable for presentation
in handheld devices, emails, web-browsers.
Thus, micro-content is the part that
integrates into micro-learning.
Social software Through its main
feature to support social interaction, social
software brings together individuals with
different interests and different previous
knowledge via social networks, based on
collaboration. Micro-learning can be
supported by social software because it
allows on the one hand the rapid delivery of
content in short and flexible formats and,
on the other hand social interactions based
on that content.
Web 2.0 Since Web 2.0 encourages
the teaching and learning processes based
on personalization and collaboration with
students taking responsibility for learning,
currently, Web 2.0 platforms are used for
professional development, enhancing
education in the classroom. An important
aspect of Web 2.0 that micro-learning can
rely on is the active participation of
students in the process of co-creation and
distribution of content.
Informal learning One of the
challenges already launched in contemporary
society is the need for rethinking education,
by articulating three ways: formal, non-
formal and informal education. As a
permanent dimension of human existence,
education must have a global character,
effectively combining the formal education
with the non-formal and informal. Because
micro-learning does not require a long-term
involvement of the student's attention and
every day activities, it can be useful to
learning activities as needed, providing a
bridge between formal and informal
learning.
Personal Learning Environments
Personal Learning Environments (PLE),
especially in contrast to traditional learning
management systems, are particularly
successful and are about to change the
paradigm of learning and teaching. There
are some aspects where these changes are
more obvious or that seem most important.
In short, learning in PLE brings changes
concerning: (1) the role of student as the
creator of active and self-organized content,
(2) personalization thanks to the support
and data of community members, (3) learning
content is an unlimited collection, (4) the
crucial role of social participation, (5) the
significance of self-organized learning to
the pedagogical culture of the organization
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and (6) technological aspects of using
software tools and grouping of social
multiple sources.
Work-based learning The
contribution that work-based learning has in
sustaining economic competitiveness and
beyond is widely recognized, so
organizations that have training systems
well developed and, in particular, well
established systems of apprenticeship, tend
to achieve better performance. Following
this idea, the term micro-training could be
the micro-learning equivalent, related to the
work-based learning. The real added value
of micro-training in combination with Web
2.0 and social software is its ability to
integrate short formats with user-generated
content and social interaction.
3. Micro-learning Tools and Platforms
3.1. Grovo platformwww.grovo.com/
microlearning
The micro-learning approach used in
this learning management system is the
exposure of the information bit by bit, in a
concentrated form. For each theme are
presented the most important issues on the
one hand, and on the other hand, is exposed
the whole picture. The method is greeted by
students through a favorable response,
obtaining better results and retaining
information presented much easier. Lessons
or learning units, which are taken by students,
by watching short videos, cover a wide range
of topics such as market strategies online or
methods for the management of a project,
and other topics of interest such as social
networks dynamic. In the Grovo environment
videos between 60 and 90 seconds are
created every day, so teams within
corporations to be constantly updated with
the most useful technology on the market.
In addition to the over 4,500 existing
video in the platform, each company has the
opportunity to record their own videos, thus
projecting adaptability to the specific needs
of each environment separately. So, if the
intention is to deliver certain information to
employees of companies that were not
already covered by those conducting
educational materials, the situation is easily
remedied as Grovo platform is flexible in
this regard. Using the Create Training
option, managers can tailor content
provided by Grovo according to their needs.
Thus, they can reorder clips, edit titles,
descriptions or questions within them can
add chapters and can combine existing
elements with additional ones created by
themselves.
The system can be configured so
users can be added, grouped or removed.
There are many tools available at the
instructor level that can monitor the
progress of each user, taking account also
of their strengths and weaknesses.
Depending on their level, each student can
advance to a higher level.
Not only individual progress, but that
of an entire team can be easily monitored
by the teacher using the Dashboard section.
As each student can scroll through lessons
at their own pace, the birth of discrepancies
between the levels attained by each is
inevitable. Therefore, the platform provides
the instructor a graph that presents an
overview of the learning situation. He can
see who carried out the activity and who is
not, who fell and who promoted and who
did not start at all the activity.
3.2. Coursmos platform
https://coursmos.com/
Coursmos is another online learning
platform that supports micro-learning.
It hosts several hundred micro-courses
online courses, which are divided into
smaller, more manageable units. These
lessons are characterized by minutes-long
duration that learners can do on their own
time, even using the smartphone.
Personalized learning experience perfectly
combined with any curriculum is a very
attractive way to educate.
The platform learning unit is the
micro-course, a format that has seven video
lessons, for three-five minutes each
(see Figure no. 1).
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Figure no. 1 Example of a Coursmos window
The predictions concerning the future
of learning, made by the Coursmos
platform, are quite simple and common
sense; given the environment where digital
technology will continue to grow, the facts
about learning are as following: “learning is
an added value and so people’s careers have
built-in learning”, “Learning ads value.
Time spent learning is regarded as a
positive boost to performance improvement”,
Learning will no longer be just an add-on
to corporate life; it will be the source of
power at work” (Kostochka, 2016). We
witness “the beginning of the learning
economy” and the “miniaturization of
everything”. That is why “learning has been
miniaturized to fit the bits and pieces in our
lives”.
3.3. Yammer platform
https://www.yammer.com/
Yammer is a closed circuit social
networking platform for companies. The
users of an organization can share
information, experiences and can work
together on projects, can comment, provide
feedback, etc. They can also create groups,
subgroups, communities, blogs, etc.
(see Figura no. 2).
As people are encouraged to engage
in conversation, but be sure that the
information remains within the
organization, Yammer is as Facebook for
business”. Yammer accelerates processes
just by this opportunity to discuss a
problem anywhere and anytime in an
informal manner, which stimulates
creativity, non invasive but still
controllable. Another interesting detail
related to Yammer is that users cannot
make accounts using generalist email
addresses, such Gmail or Yahoo,
(see Figure no. 3).
Yammer is a service available in
freemium mode (basic version is free,
premium version with money) and there are
applications for all mobile platforms
iPhone, Windows Phone, Android,
BlackBerry.
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Figure no. 2 armyacademy.ro groups
Figure no. 3 armyacademy.ro Yammer networking platform
4. Conclusion
In a globalized business world, with
expectations of increasingly large and
increasing influence of social media and
networking, organizations are in the
position to look for new ways to engage
employees in learning and organization
problem solving. The use of social media
and micro-learning offer many possibilities,
not only to draw attention to key messages,
but also to create a collaborative
environment focused on improving business.
Based on the facts and arguments
above, micro-learning can be described as a
pragmatic innovation for lifelong learning.
Pragmatic because it is congruent with
current information and communication
models and can be easily adapted to support
individual learning needs, especially in
informal learning contexts. Innovation
because it offers a new way to design and
organize learning, such as learning in small
steps and small units of content, structure
and sequencing based on the co-creation of
content, generation and use of content
through social interaction
(elearninglearning.com, 2017).
Also, as another conclusion, it is
interesting to compare the new micro-
learning option with the old one, the macro-
learning way. Speaking in terms of time
and scope, the differences between micro-
learning and macro-learning are condensed
in Figure no. 4.
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Figure no. 4 Comparison between micro and macro-learning
There is a general perception that the
new generation of employees will be more
technology oriented than previous ones.
They are self-confident, open, optimistic
and receptive to new ideas and work styles.
They are the first generation in history
always connectedand to keep them close,
employers will be forced to rethink their
learning and communication strategies.
REFERENCES
Kostochka, R. (2016). What is the future of E-Learning?, available at:
https://blog.coursmos.com/what-is-the-future-of-learning/.
Singh, R. P. (2014). 17 Awesome resources on micro-learning, available at:
https://elearningindustry.com/awesome-resources-on-micro-learning.
www.elearninglearning.com/micro-learning/.
www.coursmos.com/.
www.yammer.com/.
www.grovo.com/microlearning.
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The paper presents the results of research on the incorporation of microlearning courses into the education of future teachers at the Pedagogical Faculty of the University of Ostrava. It compares the effectiveness of microlearning and eLearning courses. It also provides additional information on student activity in differently designed courses and their motivation to study a particular e-course. In order to determine the effectiveness of the two approaches, both full-time and distance students participated in the project.
17 Awesome resources on micro-learning
  • R P Singh
Singh, R. P. (2014). 17 Awesome resources on micro-learning, available at: https://elearningindustry.com/awesome-resources-on-micro-learning. www.elearninglearning.com/micro-learning/. www.coursmos.com/. www.yammer.com/. www.grovo.com/microlearning.
What is the future of E-Learning?
  • R Kostochka
Kostochka, R. (2016). What is the future of E-Learning?, available at: https://blog.coursmos.com/what-is-the-future-of-learning/.
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