Online training trends - the micro course is like a delicious smoothie

Micro-learning has emerged from the needs of a new generation of learners. Such as busy entrepreneurs and the actors in business world.

Millennials, generations X and Y, and future generations have grown up with the rapid pace of mobile information sharing. People work remotely, network virtually and increasingly use mobile devices.

Nowadays learning materials must be available mobile, quickly and conveniently 24/7, when there is a problem at hand or the need for information suddenly has occurred. Learning materials must be available in quick and convenient portions, like a healthy but quick smoothie as a snack. Instead of peeling the oranges and apples yourself, the producer of this training will do it for you. He has already thought out the ingredients for a full-sized snack for you: peeled the fruit, seasoned it and pureed it to just the right consistency, ready for the student to enjoy.

Micro-courses serve people who have little to no time to study and whose ability to concentrate is not necessarily very high. It has been said that the attention span of modern humans is only about seven seconds. As much as one of a goldfish. You notice this, for example, when you watch action movies from the 80s on Netflix. The pace is slow compared to current productions.

In order for students to absorb information more effectively, it is necessary that the contents are tailored into an interesting package and can be absorbed at a speed that matches people's ability to concentrate. Therefore, the micro-courses are packed into compact and entertaining entities.

Design, storytelling and often also playfulness are emphasized more and more in learning materials. Entertainment and studying are getting closer together. The learning material can be a podcast, a video or an interactive site, where you can sometimes stop to think about your own situation in the matter discussed in the course.

A study session can be a coffee moment, or an employee can listen to a podcast while walking, where, for example, everything essential about a brand or a business plan is revealed. In the capital region, people spend about half an hour commuting to work in one direction, also driving in other parts of Finland takes time, during which you can update your own skills.

"Micro-learning is a learning technique where learning tasks are divided into smaller parts, bites containing one learning goal. A series of short learning tasks can still be formed from small learning tasks." (Dingler et al. 2017)

Micro-learning improves commitment to learning, fits into the culture of continuous improvement and accelerates the development of competence. In practice, micro-courses can be quick solutions to practical problems. It also helps reduce companies' training costs when they want to get the best solutions quickly for personnel development. Micro-courses can cheer up and entertain and thus bring joy to the working day in addition to solving a problem.

However, micro courses do not arise by themselves. The producer of the training must leave his comfort zone when making the course. Producer needs to think about the value of the concept, objectives of the course, the core subject, and also know how to tell it in an interesting and entertaining way. The content must be chewed and served in an easy-to-eat form like a snack smoothie. In addition, it is good to have the learner's motivation to learn. If a chocolate bar is more appealing than a healthy fruit smoothie day after day, no matter how attractive a smoothie bar you set up, it won't help. Therefore, willingness to learn and aiming at lifelong continuous learning is the key.

Author: Päivi Lohikoski, Manager, Academic Affairs, University of Oulu Kerttu Saalasti Institute