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Learning bites

Donald Clark, writing on Twitter today, said

Social media choked with ads for online learning staff, especially in HE. Makes you wonder why it isn't taught there? Time for a national initiative of short, sharp courses in this area.

I think Donald raises some good issues. Yet I wonder if Higher Education really has the culture to develop and deliver such courses. Yesterday I was in a European project about developing such courses for people working in the agriculture and food industries. And we had a intense discussion about the design and concrete of such courses and in particular their length. Higher Education traditionally sees content as being around knowledge, and not practice, and being based around long study periods.

The European Business School says:

Microlearning is a relatively new approach to skills-based education. It involves studying bite-sized modules in small bursts to maximize learner engagement, promote a better understanding of course materials, and boost information retention.

They continue:

Microlearning modules are targeted and precise, designed to cover all the essential information but no more within a highly condensed time frame. When all the extraneous details (interesting, but not necessarily useful!) are removed, learners are more likely to remember the key points of the lesson.

In the Erasmus+ Skillsmatch project we have been looking at how to match up the DigCompEdu Framework of competences for teachers and trainers using technology for learning to online courses and learning opportunities for those competences. The next stage in the project is to produce a series of bite sized online learning modules. And these really are bite sized - we are going for an average of ten minutes or so notional learning time. This seems too short to me. But I have no really good argument why. I think the answer is to try it and see. I think the key is that the learning bites need to relate directly to practice for teachers and trainers. If we get good take up of these learning bites and we can do a proper evaluation - or if such bites inspire teachers and trainers to invest time in longer and deeper learning then that will be a good result.

I'd be interested in anyone else's views on this.

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