Microlearning can be defined as brief learning units or learning that is divided into “bitesized” digestible pieces for easier consumption and retention. As writer Nikos Andriotis puts in his December 2018 article with eLearning Industry, “Micro training delivers short bursts of content for learners to study at their convenience. Content can take many forms, from text to full-blown interactive multimedia, but should always be short.” These short lessons are usually between 5-10 minutes of time in order to keep content in manageable chunks, but can even be as short as 20 seconds, depending on the skill being learned. Microlearning allows for breaking down information so that only the most important components are left, thus allowing for learning that is focused and valuable.
In addition to microlearning, the use of chunking can be useful within a learning environment. Chunking is a technique of combining or organizing important information into smaller, more manageable pieces or “chunks.” Chucking, which is normally used as a way to break down very wordy and difficult text, is also useful in other areas of teaching and learning. Content from various subject areas can be broken down into smaller chunks when the instructor focuses mainly on the important concepts and less on the little details. In a scholarly article, “Chunking, Priming, and Active Learning by Graham D. Bodie, William G. Power, and Margaret Fitch-Hauser, “The ability to chunk information (a) helps an individual remembermore, (b) gives the individual a means of accessing the information that is ultimately stored in his or her memory, and (c) increases ‘‘the amount of information we can deal with’’ (Miller,1956, p. 95).”
While different in how they are used, microlearning and chunking are two useful methods to breaking down lessons into manageable pieces. Microlearning is meant for stand alone, skill-based learning and chunking is meant for breaking down large concepts into smaller, digestable chunks to help with cognitive load as the learner processes information.
For more information about both concepts, click on the following resources below: