In the past few years, there has been a great evolution in the traditional form of training. There has been a great transition from classroom-based, instructor taking training sessions to online training classes, commonly termed as e-learning. The conventional form of training is not anymore sufficient for constant skill development as it is a closed structure, confining the learners rather than giving them flexibility.
The new-age learning mechanism is giving the new generation learners an edge by providing them the required flexibility. In today's fast-paced life, the rigidity of the traditional learning mechanism, just makes it taxing for the learners to sit in week-long learning sessions. However, the present-day on-the-go learning facility has given them the leverage to learn as and when they want.
This is also the reason why the learning transition has fast-paced more than expected in the last five years. Keeping in mind, the need for the hour, the present-day training institutes are slowly and steadily making use of advanced technology by means of making mobile learning and micro-learning integral to their training delivery process. The training centers have developed this mechanism based on the usage of learner’s smart devices such as smartphones, tablets, and kindle, etc. This is because almost all the students whether a college-going or a professional working in a company has a smartphone and tablet that can cater to the micro-content. The institutes work on the basis of the Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) policy. The other factor that has contributed to its wider use is an increase in the workforce.
Along with the e-learning, micro-learning is the new way of learning or training to develop in recent years. In the beginning, the mechanism was utilized to give Performance Support intervention and support for the formal pieces of training and learning. In the past two years, the mechanism has grown to the mainstream offering which is being utilized for the formal and informal way of training.
However, it is amazing to observe how the demand for short and focused training had always been there and mobile learning has just made it easy to utilize the tools of micro-learning and bring it to the mainstream training.
Before, knowing the reason for adopting the combination of Micro-learning And Mobile Learning, it is better to know what exactly micro-learning and mobile learning are.
Mobile learning and its key features
Mobile learning –
As the term suggests mobile learning is referred to as self-paced learning. It is often regarded as learning ‘on-the-go’. It is developed with a keeping in mind present-day learners. Its some of the key features are
1. The training assets are readily available to the learners. They can utilize it anytime and anywhere.
2. This mechanism is being developed to empower learners with the flexibility of its usage. The learners can use it as per their needs. The learners can use the content as and when required.
3. The interesting feature of mobile learning is the possibility of a multi-device support mechanism. This means the learning material or the content can be accessed through different devices. This provides the learner the other flexibility.
4. Along with this, the mobile learning provides the flexibility of using the content for offline learning. At times, the learner does not have access to the internet, in such instance, they can log in and have access to the offline content.
5. The techniques utilized in mobile learning can also be utilized in corporate training. Corporate training includes induction, soft-skill training, compliance training, and so on. All can be done with the same mechanism as mobile learning.
6. Last but not the least, mobile training is best for Performance Support Tools that includes specific learning helps to the trainees as and when required by them.
There are certain myths in relation to mobile learning. Such as
1. The real learning cannot be condensed and fit into 320*480 pixel screen-
Through mobile learning, the learners are provided with the information in a brief session. Mobiles, today, are as capable as the desktop. The information can easily be understood on the small size screen of the mobile phone as on desktop.
2. This kind of learning is costly –
This isn’t true. Mobile learning can be cheap. It lowers hardware costs for the companies. Mobile learning can be attained by the trainees on their phones themselves. The organization does not have to spend extra on arranging learning equipment.
3. Mobile learning can be risky –
Though it can be true that information can be more easily retrieved from mobile phones than the desktop. But mobile phones come up with more security features. The different apps and in-built security mechanism provided by Android and iOS is very strong.
Micro-learning and its keys features
Micro-learning is nothing but a way of imparting training or knowledge through the series of short learning nuggets. They help to address the specific needs of the learner. However, they are more than just being smaller versions. They encompass some of the below-listed features
1. This mechanism of learning has been introduced to have a specific outcome from the learning
2. This kind of learning comes in a very short duration. In general two to five minutes. The time period, however, never crosses more than seven minutes.
Micro-learning is based on two stages –
The first includes the creation of the content or the instruction while the second stage includes execution of the created content by means of advanced technology. The content is cut short in the forms small modules of on an average five minutes. The structures created are simple and easy to navigate.
There are certain myths in relation to micro-learning such as
1. Time-dependent –
It is widely believed that micro-learning elements are time-based. However, some do not feel the same way. They argue that ‘micro’ means ‘small’. Thus for being micro-learning, the content just needs to be short.
2. The kind of learning is all about the videos –
This isn’t reality. Micro-learning is related to providing performance support. Thus infographics can also be a good option. The visuals are quick to understand retain. Videos, thus, shall only be considered as a means and not just the only means.
3. Micro-learning is very chunking –
This is not true in the real sense. Definitely, in micro-learning, large content is bifurcated into small chunks to divide the cognitive load. But micro-learning is a single piece of learning with a focused approach.
4. It is a one-size fit all approach –
The micro-learning can not standalone solve the issue of the organization based on behavior-driven issues. But it can definitely help and support complex initiates in the learning taken by the organization.
Though such kind of learning in the form of small training bursts had always been in demand in the past few years, the demand is just increasing by manifolds. It has gained new value in the field of overcoming the challenges faced on short attention spans, fit-in-training or the jobs, and higher completion rate.
Tools of mobile learning and micro-learning
The various ways of mobile learning and micro-learning are
Generally utilized by mobile phone users. Videos are easy to comprehend, understand, and learn.
The blogs help in starting the discussion on the topic on a wider platform. The trainers create the blog, to keep the learners updated about the new development on the subject.
- Podcasts –
These are versatile audio mechanism. This helps in boosting the learner's retention power. The advantage of these is they can easily share through cloud services in the form of MP3 files.
- Inter-activities -
This gives an opportunity for learners to interact through means discussion and critical thinking. These are integrated with the web-based paths.
- Infographics –
Images are said to have a powerful impact on human minds and so the infographics are the smart tool of micro-learning or mobile learning. These are stories developed generally in vertical stature. They are the best to represent the static data in an interesting manner. Especially in the construction industries with much of number data info-graphics serves as the best way to impart knowledge.
Micro-Learning and Mobile learning application
Since, its advent, micro-learning has been supporting formal training worldwide. Now, it has umbrellaed performance support intervention and supporting ILT training as well.
Performance support intervention –
This is nothing but a reinforcement of formal training by means of just-in-time aid. This facilitates the apt application of the knowledge gained and resolving the specific challenge. The technique of micro-learning can be used as PST. This way it helps the organization meet its tough requirements for the performance gain and reflect its impact on the business of the organization.
Supporting ILT training/offer blended training-
With the series of the short training nuggets, the pre-workshop preparation learning like the continuum after the facilitated session gets over.
The reason for the adoption of the combination of microlearning and mobile learning
With technological development, the training nowadays is getting based on the combination of various other smart forms of learning. Among all, the two micro-learning and mobile are the great companions of each other. They can be together utilized to multiply the effect of the training deliverables. The reason for this is that the short span training nuggets can be easily taken on the go. Along with this, the additional gains that the learners get from the combination of the two are
1. The learners get better learning experience than the traditional way of learning
2. Through this learning, organization are providing learning as a continuum, rather than in imparting the discrete or traditional e-learning mechanism
3. This also offers personalized learning to the learners. Each and every individual is said to different learning capacities. While some learn quickly others might take time. Hence, the personalized training option gives a better learning perspective to the learners.
4. It has leverage over the trending approaches such as gamification and videos.
5. This can also help to observe the effect on the performance gain of the employee.
6. This aids in getting higher completion rates
7. This ensures the increase in the number of re-visitors on the learning platform where the learners can review the content time and again as and when required.
8. This helps in increasing the application of the knowledge imparted through this mechanism to the learners.
9. The combination of the two learning mechanisms offers much better learners engagement.
10. This also ensures a higher retention rate to the organization as the employee can be trained easily time and again, ensuring their growth well within the organization.
Mobile learning and microlearning are well addressing the traditional challenges of engaging the learners for hours and fighting the forgetting curve by means of providing short and sliced content as and when required. The handy content in the form of visuals and audio is to understand for the learners. It is far better than, for the learner, sitting in long hour learning sessions.
The various platform provided through the means of mobile learning offered great visibility into which users are consuming micro-learning content. Though are many advantages of this new form learning, implementing them into the system is not easy. Companies face technical issues in executing such kind of training sessions.
For instance, infrastructure set-up, the configuration of the different types of devices having iOS and Android software, and security mechanisms. Further, companies face a major challenge in relation to instructional designers to develop mobile learning content that can be widely used by learners.
However, over and above this, Mobile learning and microlearning are a way ahead learning mechanism for modern time. They have overcome the traditional e-learning issues such as scalability, retention, real-time accessibility of the content to the learner. The combination of the two technological advanced learning mechanism has proved to be beneficial in all the spheres of learning and thus shall be the reason to be utilized in combination with each other.