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Friday, January 19, 2018

Study Finds Benefits in Microlearning

Tools such as flash cards have been helping students learn for generations. Now, the idea of providing short bursts of information lasting no longer than 15 minutes—known as microlearning—is taking on a new focus in the digital age.

After short lessons, students at Northeastern University, Burlington, MA, use Twitter and Snapchat to create posts of hyperfocused content for others to consume. Research there also found that using social media for microlearning increased student engagement, created learning communities, and provided opportunities for information retention.

“We focus on microlearning where students sometime consume, but often create, content,” said Lindsey Sudbury, academic instructional technologist at Northeastern. “It’s usually created quickly after a lot of thought and integrating what they already know.”

The Northeastern work on microlearning found that breaking education into small pieces allows students to access content more easily and learn at their own pace. The study also reported that it helped reduce student burnout syndrome, which is a concern for medical students.

“With microlearning, you’re constantly getting this information over and over again, so it’s allowing for you to really synthesize information and connect those dots more frequently,” said Clair Waterbury, who works with Sudbury as an academic instructional technologist at Northeastern.

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