Micro Learning – The What, Why, Where, and How?

I recently summarized attributes of micro learning in an infographic as below:


I also found an interesting case study on Using Micro Learning to Boost Influence Skill I Emergent Leaders and some other related links as below:

  1. From Courses to Micro Learning by Sahana Chattopadhyay
  2. Beyond the Course: The Learning Flow – a new framework for the social learning era by Jane Hart
  3. The Learning Flow and the User Experience by Jane Hart
  4. Three Types of Learning Flow by Jane Hart
  5. From Micro-Learning to Corporate MOOCs by Sahana Chattopadhyay

SMAC it!

The current decade has started to witness a fast changing landscape in technological innovations, some of which have brought about sweeping changes in everyday activities. If you look at a typical day in the life of a tech-savvy individual (either a college-going student or a working professional), you will find them operating in ways you’d not imagined a few years ago. Now come on, did you foresee people around you move about carrying a computer chip in their eyeglasses or wrist watches? At least two of my techie colleagues are seen donning the Google Glass in office these days, and I know of at least one friend—a fitness fanatic—working out with all these fancy wearable gadgets and checking in his progress on Facebook.

To take stock of the changes—small and big—that have stealthily crept in and comfortably fitted into our everyday life, let’s meet with Susan, a sales executive from a multinational corporation.

So, what does a typical day in her life look like? Let’s sneak a peek …


Looks familiar, doesn’t it? Like any other digitally savvy individual, Susan’s daily routine is strongly influenced by elements of the social and mobile worlds. Then, a crucial question that comes tom my mind as a learning designer is why should her learning environment be any different? Why can’t Susan’s learning use these very elements and mimic her real life?

Picture this …


Wouldn’t the merging of her personal and learning spaces result in an enhanced experience?

Accept it—the 21st century modern learners are clearly very different from what we’ve seen in the past. Their life is largely influenced by the Social, Cloud, and Mobile worlds. Add “Analytics” to this list and you get what is now a popular and fairly impactful acronym—SMAC—in the IT services world.

SMAC is influencing this digital generation so much that they now have shorter attention spans and, therefore, end up demanding information in smaller bites, albeit very fast and preferably on the go. When these new-age learners look for learning, they go to Google, YouTube, TED talks, Khan Academy, and, for the last couple of years, MOOCs! Increasingly, these learners want their learning experiences to match the pace and style of their life.

Undoubtedly, the Social and Cloud-based learning environments powered by Analytics and Mobile First design are characterizing and influencing the way learners learn today. These individuals increasingly want to merge their personal and learning spaces, so that their leaning experiences mimic their everyday life. Most importantly, these learners foster a culture of continuous and continual learning by:

  • Learning from a constant stream of knowledge and information
  • Collaborating to share knowledge, experiences, ideas, and resources as part of their everyday life
  • Extracting learning from their everyday activities both at work and in their personal life

And how best can learning design address the needs of the SMAC learner?

At the least, we need to start attempting to change, to swing around, and to shift elements in our design thinking. We need to move from a narrow “design a training” approach to thinking holistically in terms of “providing an integrated learning ecosystem” that should, at the least, provide for the following:

  • Unique learning experience
    • Self-driven and personalized paths
    • Micro (byte-sized) and pervasive learning
    • Peer to peer collaboration
    • Integration of social media and/or social media-like elements
    • Curation and dynamic building of content
    • Live projects and practical application
  • Scalability and Cost effectiveness
    • Should cost less to develop (by integrating open resources)
    • Longer shelf life and sustainability of training materials
    • Option for an Instructor-less delivery
    • Cloud-based deployment
    • Flexible and easy access via mobile devices

Simply put, we need to SMAC it!

Read the full article at http://www.tatainteractive.com/pdf/SMAC_Article.pdf











Wannabe Glasshole!

“Don’t be a Glasshole” said David Kelly, a Training, Learning, and Performance Consultant, at the Learning Technologies show in London, early this year. And you know what? I wannabe just that!glass1

Needless to say, I got the opportunity to try on the Google Glass … umm, only for a minute and half, I admit, but what a minute and half it was! So exhilarating was the experience that it’s taken me a “month and half” to actually get down to penning my memorable “minute and half”!

Wearable technology is the future we all are waiting for, and with Google Glass, one gets the feel of actually carrying (umm … wearing) a computer on your head! So, I wasn’t expecting the experience to be anything less than exhilarating. Surprisingly, while I look upon Google Glass as “the” technology of the future, David says it is only the first, albeit impressive, step in this arena. He envisages wearable technology to take on a much smaller form, perhaps that of a cuff link on the sleeve of your shirt. Wow!

David Kelly is one of the Glass Explorers – individuals exploring the Glass before its public release, and in his session at the Learning Technologies conference, he touched upon the following key points:

  • What is Google Glass?
  • What is the Glass experience like for the user?
  • How do people react to Glass?
  • What doors does Glass open for learning and performance?
  • How are people already using Glass for learning today?

You can get more details on his session at http://bit.ly/1hMsWTO

As regards my own “minute and half” experience with the Glass, my first thought as soon as I wore it was “There’s no glass to look through!”  Instead, the Glass brought up a display just above my normal vision. The display does not interfere with one’s normal vision, and David even narrated to us his driving experience with the Glass on, my own view is that it might take us some time getting used to switching between the two visions.  Other than that, it feels like wearing any standard pair of spectacles in terms of size and weight. The right side arm is thicker and contains the touch pad and the device itself. The Glass is able to recognize voice and so you can either directly command the device by speaking to it or just tap on the right arm to control it.

The screen that was active when I wore the Glass showed some current events such as weather and with only a tap on the right arm, I could move to another screen that brought up Google maps.   Although, I didn’t try this myself but I learned later that a task such as capturing a picture could be accomplished simply by a blink of an eye. How I wish I had more time to explore the Glass!

The Glass, as of now, serves only those functions that can be easily performed by a cell phone, and David’s slide showed the following laundry list:

  • Google Search
  • Navigation
  • Making Calls
  • Video Calls
  • Posting Updates
  • Recording Videos
  • Taking Still Pictures
  • Sending Text Messages
  • Taking Notes

Why would anyone want to buy the Glass then? It’s the experience you get without interrupting the present moment that makes it different, is what David had to say. According to David, the body part that Google Glass impacts most is not your eyes, but your hands … because it frees your hands and that itself opens up a myriad of opportunities for learning and performance support applications including immersive training, performance support, real-time feedback, augmented reality, and high-risk training.

With issues related to privacy and ethics to combat, the Google Glass has a tough path ahead before it can be fully accepted by society. But once accepted, wearable technology would surely have many practical applications in all fields including education!

So, let’s just wait and watch!