Microlearning works with the brain to aid comprehension

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Microlearning works with the brain to aid comprehension

Aptara Editorial | Posted on 27th Jan 2016

Microlearning is one of the newest facets of the eLearning revolution that is currently changing the face of learning and development and corporate training all over the world. Advocates of the practice say that by shrinking training down from hour-long sessions that are dense on information to simple sessions that focus on just one topic and last less than 10 minutes, an educator can transmit the information better and generate more understanding.

These microlearning "nuggets" are the future of corporate learning, and as time goes on, training will become more granular and bite-sized. This new type of learning will quickly overwhelm the more traditional styles, and soon the day-long training session will be a thing of the past.

Get more engaged
One of the most difficult things about traditional learning is keeping a student's focus for the entirety of a session. No matter how interesting or engaging the material is, the attention of a learner is bound to wander over the course of a 90-minute session. According to eLearning Industry, even an hour-long session is enough for the human brain to get overloaded with information. Microlearning helps to solve that problem. Typical modules last just a few minutes, and certainly no more than 10. The smaller chunks of information match up better with the human attention span, and give learners a chance to keep their attention focused on the task at hand for the entire session without boredom or inattention robbing them of some of the information.

"Microlearning does a better job of working with the natural ebb and flow of the human brain."

Take advantage of energy
Microlearning does a better job of working with the natural ebb and flow of the human brain than a traditional class. In a blog post for Shift, Karla Gutierrez said that human alertness naturally decreases after 60 minutes of focus on a single topic. The human brain isn't designed to spend more than an hour on a single task and attentiveness will naturally wane as more time is spent alert. The brain naturally runs on a cycle of attentiveness and rest that lasts roughly 20 minutes, the source noted, so the shorter modules of a microlearning course are better designed to match in this regard. By studying a topic for no more than 10 minutes at a time, microlearners make sure that they are taking advantage of their period of attentiveness, then allowing their brain to rest.

Use memory
The human brain needs to process new knowledge in the short-term memory before it can transfer that information into the long-term memory where it becomes useful knowledge. This is known as the Information Processing Theory, according to Education.com. Microlearning facilitates that process by breaking the subject matter down into manageable sections. The brain can fully process one topic through the short-term memory and into the long term without being burdened by additional data. In order to help students see the bigger picture, Shift recommended grouping related chunks of material together to help students understand the connections between them without being distracted by extraneous information.

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