Microlearning: How Long Should a Mini Lesson Last?

By February 14, 2014eLearning Solutions

micro cup

When you’re just looking for a snack, it doesn’t make sense for someone to offer you Thanksgiving dinner. That’s the thought process behind using microlearning. Instead of day-long seminars and courses that drag on for hours, mini lessons condense the information into more digestible bites for those looking for less than a three-course meal. Remember to keep time and size in mind to ensure the mini lessons are effective.

Microlearning Always Shows Up on Time

Prevailing opinions are that to qualify as a micro lesson, the curriculum should be chopped into 10 to 15 minute pieces – max. That doesn’t have to be a hard and fast rule. The actual time limit for microlearning depends on the instructional designer, SME and teacher. Allow your elearner the chance to absorb new information on their own schedule while allowing for better retention of the smaller bits of information. Five 15-minute lessons creates a larger retention rate than a 75-minute instructional video.

Size Matters: Does the Microlearning Fit on a Smartphone Screen?

If microlearning is to be a visual matter – think graphics or slides – then the best rule of thumb is to imagine the size of an index card. If you can fit the visual matter onto an index card, it’ll fit into your microlearning curriculum. Another way to think of it? The size of a smartphone screen. Videos, graphs, social networking and other pictures can be easily shared and viewed via phone, making it a natural tool for mini lessons.

Lasting Impact: Are They Learning or Memorizing?

Don’t make the mistake of thinking that because micro lessons are small, they have less of an impact. In fact, that 10-minute video or that short infographic might create an even deeper impact on learners because you capture their full attention, even if it’s just for a short while. After all, if learners are just looking for a bite, serving up a snack can satisfy their appetites.

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