For Learning Technologies 2016 our RICS Online Academy Manager, Alex Noble, was invited to present a morning seminar ‘Micro Learning and the Rise of Mobile’.
Here is what Alex said on the day to a packed audience at Olympia London:
The Rise (and rise) of Mobile
The world is going increasingly mobile. By 2020 it is expected that the world will consume 10 times more data via mobile devices then they do today. For those who can barely put down their phone that is quite an incredible statistic.
This is spilling into the workplace, where workplace phones are still not quite mature as a tool for learning, so we often think of tablet devices. Gartner predicts that by 2017 50% of employees will be required to bring their own device to work. In the interest of portability, the tablet device is increasingly the tool of choice for professionals with other hybrid devices such as the Microsoft Surface blurring the line between tablet and laptop.
The challenges for learning designers and developers
When you become aware of this change, you have to adapt. For us at the RICS it has means altering the way we approach our online training site and also our online training. Micro Learning is the perfect learning theory for this environment.
Micro Learning focuses on smaller bitesize chunks of learning that are more informal in nature. The easy access of online learning automatically satisfies this criteria and catering to busy timelines and short attention spans is a must for the modern training business. Take for example Facebook, while admittedly the content is naturally more addictive but the common theme is that it is short digestible updates and posts that engage the user. It used to be common place to decry the infinite scroll of death found on many courses but with the right kind of content you can make it appealing to want to scroll further to find more chunks of learning material.
Taking Inspiration from existing technology
The model employed by the likes of Twitter and Facebook are quite clear in terms of size but we must still fit them into a learning context. The key here is the type of resource but also the length. For the type video is the natural option here due to the ability of platforms like Vimeo and YouTube supporting multiple devices without any additional work.
It is cost effective to product in comparison to traditional e-learning with much less complication for the end user. For the timing, the initial feedback from our courses has suggested that 5 minutes is the best amount of time for a video. Building a course in this fashion allows a user to explore say an hours learning at a speed and pace that suits them.
The Hurdles for the Future
While the industry standard of SCORM allows users to track the progress of a learner in a linear course very closely, video is yet to offer a compelling alternative to understand how a user has engaged with it as a resource. The likes of Tin Can and H5P are looking to bridge that by adding a layer of activity to the idea of watching a video. It is not just about how long is spent watching a video but you would still need to make sure there is a level of understanding. There is also the issue of producing video and then requiring edits. A video must be designed in such a way to minimise the exposure to changes in dates or anything else that would require re-filming so it is not for everyone.
See it in practice
Our latest E-Learning course Practical Ethics utilises these principles to create a new kind of course on the RICS Online Academy. In this interactive video course, learn from the experiences shared by three industry professionals about the different types of Conflict of Interest, what to do when offered a bribe and explore case studies of the kinds of ethical dilemmas that you might face at work. All the resources are 1 to 5 minute videos and the course is designed to be responsive and mobile friendly and you can even complete quizzes and other interactions as you watch. We would welcome any feedback about the style of this course and look forward to developing more.