I already bothered you with a scoop about microlearning– learning in small pieces of about 10 to 15 minutes each. It meets the requirements set by short attention spans, learning by repetition, and flexibility in temporal learning. But how to translate this into a practical approach?
I guess we agree that just cutting a learning activity, e.g. an online lesson, into chunks only formally fulfils the definition of microlearning and is not really beneficial to reading smaller chapters in a printed text book. In contrast, it may result in annoyed students who feel like making only little progress in their learning paths.
Microlearning should take advantage of multimodal presentations, interactive assignments, and collaborative functioning, which are the real benefits of technology-enhanced learning.
This article from the magazine eLearning Industry highlights some activities that meet those requirements. Podcasts, infographics, videos. Branching scenarios, task-based simulations. User-generated blog posts (or wiki entries). Like to have some examples?
What about letting your students make a short video how they perform a practical task (e.g. adding a layer in their graphic design software), upload this on a platform and let fellow students comment- resulting in a reviewed library of hands-on videos?
What about presenting students short work-related situation (a customer calls you and asks…. What do you suggest to him?) and later presenting all the answers online so fellow students can learn for each others answers?
What about teaching students procedures by asking them to create checklists for each other and then let students study them one per week?
You may realise I already incorporate a collaborative learning scenario in every example. Of course you can prepare the tasks for the students and just let them study or answer. But especially microlearning, when content is small and therefore reading followed by peer-review or commenting is done quickly, provides a powerful base to include collaboration and thereby learning from each other.
Microlearning- when used for the right scenarios- is a very convenient way to meet todays need for temporal flexibility while at the same time enhancing learning by (spaced) repetition and reinforcement.