I was honored to learn that a respected professor of educational technology liked my definition of micro-learning, such that he presented it as a recent conference. He asked if I still agreed with it, and I looked back at what I’d written more recently. What I found was that I’d suggested some alternate interpretations, so I thought it worthwhile to be absolutely clear about it.
So, the definition he cited was:
Microlearning is a small, but complete, learning experience, layered on top of the task learners are engaged in, designed to help learners learn how to perform the task.
And I agree with this, with a caveat. In the article, I’d said that it could also be a small complete learning experience, period. My clarification on this is that those are unlikely, and the definition he cited was the most likely, and likely most valuable.
What I really think microlearning could and should be is for spaced learning.
Here I’m succumbing to the hype, and trying to put a positive spin on microlearning. Spaced learning is a good thing, it’s just not microlearning. And microlearning really isn’t helping them perform the task in the moment (which is a good thing too), but instead leveraging that moment to also extend their understanding.
No, I like the original definition, where we layer learning on top of a task, leveraging the context and requiring the minimal content to take a task and make it a learning opportunity. That, too, is a good thing. At least I think so. What do you think?