We’ve discussed ways that microlearning can help educators shift their thinking about online content delivery. Microlearning is a broad concept, but one of the most popular forms of microlearning involves the idea of micro-content—mini-courses that learners can take independently from a larger course.
Microcontent can be marketed in a variety of ways. It can be a supplement to a larger course, an onboarding course to help new learners become familiar with the platform, a free marketing sample, or even a crash course in topics deemed necessary or particularly timely.
However, you choose to use micro-content in your course, exploring it as a teaching tool comes with several benefits. Here are a handful of the top benefits micro-courses offer educators, which I hope will be enough to convince you to give them a try.
- They’re responsive to new developments, current events, and changing trends.
Everything is constantly changing, from industries to technology, to best practices in instructional design. One thing you can be certain of, if you don’t keep up with what’s going on, you could easily find yourself failing these developments and trying to sell courses that are woefully out of date.
Microcontent bridges this gap by creating an effective means of rolling with the punches and providing new content at every turn. Eventually, you’ll come to view these changes not as a threat forcing you to go back and revise old material, but as an opportunity to get ahead of the pack and prove you are offering the most relevant material.
- They address niche audiences.
Audiences come in all shapes and sizes, and some of them are highly unusual. The more niche an audience is, the more likely they are to be underserved. However, creating courses for niche audiences is a proven way to gain success in many industries. Because they are so niche, there tend to be fewer competitors, meaning you have an opportunity to offer unique content that your learners won’t be able to find anywhere else.
Microcontent also allows you to address multiple niche audiences. It’s relatively easy to create a main course, and then offer a number of micro-courses designed to show how to apply the main course principles for specific niches.
- They’re quick to develop and deliver.
The turnaround on micro-courses is another huge benefit. A large course may take months to write, structure, and deliver, while a micro-course could be turned around in a week. You can poll learners about what would be most helpful to them in terms of a new course and have that material ready to use in a matter of days—if not hours.
This lowers the bar in terms of how difficult it would otherwise be to test new ideas or explore with new audiences. The fast turnaround time is essential for offering learners the materials they need for success.
- They provide fast feedback and make it easier to experiment and innovate.
One of the major benefits of the quick turn-around time on micro-content is that it also makes it easier for educators to learn from their courses and try new things. Are you worried that a certain teaching technique won’t work? Go ahead and create a small course designed to play with it. Ask your learners what they thought and if they’d like more of the same. Notice that the niche course you created earlier received rave reviews? Time to expand the courses you offer to that demographic.
- They’re easy to adapt to new purposes.
Finally, the micro-content is flexible. In Learn Dash, it is easy to access old lessons and learning materials and drag and drop those lessons into your new course. In this system, micro-courses can function almost like LEGO blocks, where you can quickly assemble them into a new course as necessary.
Similarly, once you develop a micro-course, it’s relatively easy to take that and move it elsewhere. Want to create a YouTube channel full of micro-content? That’s an effective marketing strategy for many businesses. Or, you can create micro courses as loss-leads for your course—small pieces of content that attract new customers who may ultimately sign up for a course, once they’ve had a chance to experience your content on a small scale. There are any number of ways to adapt this material, with relatively low risk if one of them turns out to not be so popular.
Micro courses pave the way for close-to-custom learning experiences.
Most online courses are designed to appeal to broad markets and aren’t what we would consider “custom.” Without a tutor or specialized lesson plan, most of us must find a course that comes close to matching our interests and then work from there. However, because micro-coursesPelton are so small and adaptable, instructors can come close to providing learners with personalized courses through responsive content designed to serve that niche.
Of course, to succeed with this course strategy, educators will have to work hard to learn from their learners about what kind of course they want. This requires educators to work closely with their community, blog heavily, and respond to learner feedback promptly so that they keep a finger on the pulse of what their learners need. It’s a lot of work, but the good news is that educators who can make this commitment are more likely to see a reward in terms of stronger learner engagement and higher completion rates.
(Ref: LEARN DASH By Laura Lynch, December 5, 2019)