From content-based learning, to a truly learner-centred approach

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Using micro learning in VET. Recently, I had the privilege to present at the Industry Training Solutions Summit and one of the topics for discussion was the effect of micro learning in the workplace. As the discussion began, many claimed more flexibility was needed within qualifications to meet industry requirements, and more funding options for skill sets.

Can we use the concept of micro learning to deliver courses based on training packages?

Considering the increasing use of technology in training and education, and the time constraints of adult learners, micro learning can help RTOs to create more effective and industry relevant training.

But what is micro learning?

It can be particularly important in a competency-based training environment, because is does not focus on content, but on the application of the new skills and knowledge acquired by the learner. In other words, it is essentially learner-centred and empowers learners to use the skills learnt.

The basics of using micro learning blocks have three main components: single concept, multi-modal and workflow.

Single concept: Micro learning isolates individual ideas and covers them systematically. This is particularly useful when working with units of competency. Trainers can break the unit into its basic components (i.e. focus one element/PC at the time, focus on the outcome of that element/PC for a specific context at the time, focus on a specific skill (PE) at the time), and develop a flexible program that allows trainers and learners to obtain the most from the unit of competency. Each component is covered with the focus on the application of what has been learnt in the workplace. 

Multi-modal: Micro learning should be designed using mixed media (blended delivery) to reinforce the single concept (i.e. videos, job aids, workshops, practical demonstrations, assessments and so forth).

In the workflow: Micro learning, like all competency-based learning, should be delivered and assessed at the place where real work happens (or using a relevant simulation).

Another benefit of using the micro-learning concept is that it supports the process of unpacking units of competency. To use micro learning, trainers need to break the unit down into the individual concepts and skills associated with the task to be taught, and understand the environment where that task will be performed. Trainers need to consider whether the training program addresses all those single concepts, reinforces them through various media and they are delivered as part of a typical working sequence.

Designing training in small doses can support learners to avoid overloading working memory, maintaining motivation, providing immediate application to skills learnt, and providing greater control to their own learning journey.

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