Thu 16th September 2010 - 23:00

Microlearning: a strategy for ongoing professional development

In this paper we introduce microlearning in online communities as a learning approach triggered by current patterns of media use and supported by new technologies, such Web 2.0 and social software.

We delineate microlearning as a “pragmatic innovation” to lifelong learning due to its capability to support flexible learning that can be easily integrated into everyday activities, supporting individual learning aims and needs.

First, we explore the concepts of microcontent and microlearning in the context of Web 2.0, social software, eLearning 2.0, personal learning environments, and informal and work-based learning, observing its innovative approaches to lifelong learning and reflecting the needs of current web users. We then identify underlying design principles and distinguish two main aspects of didactical design, i.e. (1) design of microcontent and (2) design of microlearning activities. We continue by presenting the ten key features that we identified to help distinguish microlearning from more traditional eLearning formats, such as web-based trainings, termed “macrolearning”.

Following this overview, we illustrate how microlearning can contribute to lifelong learning by bridging the gap between formal and informal learning and present a case study of a microlearning scenario. We argue that microcontent and microlearning, enhanced by Web 2.0, provide a viable solution to fast-paced and multitask-oriented patterns of learning and working today. Microlearning, aligned with formal learning and embedded in online communities, has the potential to support ongoing professional development.

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