How social media has affected the way we learn
Microlearning has been gaining popularity in recent years because you can break down complex ideas and concepts into small chunks that are easy to consume and maintain. This makes it a perfect fit for social media. Students can now access materials on the go and collaborate with colleagues for remote support. But why is the combination of social media and microlearning so popular? Has our attention span shortened so much that we can’t focus on the whole lesson, or is there more to it?
Short attention spans and the rise of microlearning
Social media platforms are designed to be engaging and addictive, with features like notifications, likes and comments that stimulate our brains. That’s why we keep coming back to apps and are more easily distracted than ever before. Research by Microsoft has shown that our attention span is just eight seconds. This means that as humans, we seek out short, easy-to-digest content because we are often unable to focus on anything for long periods of time. Social media supports microlearning by offering short pieces of information that are tailored to our current needs. The rise of mobile devices has also meant that we increasingly access our social media platforms through our smartphones and tablets.
Tips to increase our attention during microlearning lessons
1. Set learning goals
Before starting a microlearning session, determine your learning goals and objectives. For example, why do you need to watch this particular video? What do you want to learn? This will help you focus on the specific information you need to learn and prevent you from getting distracted by other topics.
2. Eliminate distractions
Our phones are probably our biggest distraction in modern life. This can happen even if we use them for microlearning or other learning activities. Start by eliminating distractions by turning off notifications on your phone and finding a quiet place to focus on content. A nice tip is to use headphones to immerse yourself if you’re watching videos.
3. Take breaks
Taking short breaks can help refresh your mind and increase your ability to focus on content. You can also set a timer for the lesson. In addition, do mindfulness practices such as deep breathing or meditation. You can even do them ahead of time to get yourself in the right frame of mind for your studies.
4. Active learning techniques and activities
Engage in more active learning practices, such as taking notes or summarizing content in your own words. This will keep you in touch and help with information retention. You can also engage in additional activities. For example, if you’ve watched a short video on a certain topic, try reading a related article or interactive quiz to better understand the information and stay focused.
Advantages of microlearning
Microlearning allows people to learn at their own pace. This is why it is more flexible than traditional forms of education. Microlearning can also be accessed anytime, anywhere in the world and on different devices. This is ideal for people with busy schedules who cannot attend traditional educational facilities. Finally, it is also flexible when it comes to content, as people can choose from a variety of media such as videos, infographics, articles, podcasts, etc.
Microlearning content allows people to absorb key concepts quickly and take away the most important tidbits without being overwhelmed or bored. They don’t have to worry about cognitive overload creeping in and causing them to forget their newly acquired knowledge within minutes of training.
Microlearning resources are often presented in a format that is easily accessible and shareable on social media platforms. People can easily browse content using the apps they already know, rather than having to master new software.
Microlearning through social media platforms
Video sharing platforms
Video sharing platforms like YouTube and TikTok have become a hub for microlearning. This is because they host millions of videos covering a wide range of topics. These platforms also allow for short videos of up to three minutes that are easy to consume and share. Videos usually contain eye-catching graphics, animations and special effects that grab the viewer’s attention. It is important to emphasize that these platforms promote user-generated content and encourage viewers not only to watch videos, but also to create their own videos. Finally, it’s easy to find information on virtually any topic in seconds thanks to advanced search algorithms.
Photo sharing platforms
Photo-based platforms like Instagram and Pinterest share some of the same features as the platforms listed above. Their visual content consists mainly of photographs and infographics. However, some of them have adopted short videos. They are a great choice for refreshers such as compliance checklists. One advantage is that content is easy to organize, as these platforms use boards and collections to help users select microlearning resources and return to them whenever needed.
Facebook and LinkedIn are some examples of networking platforms where people create groups and networks to connect with others and share similar interests and knowledge. They also have news feeds that allow users to easily access and consume microlearning content shared by other users or organizations, such as articles, videos, and guides. These types of social media are usually seen as more professional than their social media counterparts. For example, LinkedIn is usually a popular resource if you want to learn from industry experts.
Microblogging platforms like Twitter typically have a character limit for posts, so they’re excellent for sharing short bursts of information. Their real-time nature also means that users can quickly and easily share updates and breaking news on a particular topic. Additionally, users are able to create a series of linked tweets on a particular topic.
What will happen to microlearning in the future?
More and more people are likely to turn to these platforms for their educational needs. After all, many of us resort to a video tutorial on how to complete a task over reading a manual. Advances in technology such as virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR) will also enhance the microlearning experience and allow users to engage with learning materials in innovative ways. Finally, the future likely holds more thought leaders on social media. This could lead to the development of more specialized communities dedicated to specific topics or interests, job roles or industries.
Social media platforms are not always the bad guy. They have played a significant role in shortening our attention spans. However, they also contributed to the popularity of microlearning and allowed more people to access educational resources. Visit our list of the best microlearning content providers, evaluate outsourcing solutions and see which company has the qualifications you’re looking for.