Alongside gamification, mLearning and xAPI, ‘micro-learning’ has become one of the buzzwords within the e-learning industry over the past few years. In this article, we'll explain the optimal way to deliver additional resources with your next micro-learning course.
Benefits of Micro-learning
As many of you know from my previous articles both on this website, the eLearning Architect knowledge base and within our weekly emails on e-learning, I am a big fan of breaking down content and delivering it in bite-size lessons (i.e. micro-learning).
There are several reasons for this (for a thorough overview of why micro-learning is the way forward check out this article).
But here are the key reasons:
- Learners control which content they want to see and don't have to commit to starting a full course to benefit
- In addition to delivery via the LMS, content can be delivered in alternative formats and through different delivery mechanisms instead of being kept hidden away on the LMS (i.e. sending out snippets via email)
- Individual lessons can be quickly updated without needing to adjust the whole course
- Progress is tracked within the LMS rather than within the course itself (which provides many benefits)
Different ways to deliver additional resources
There are two main ways to deliver additional resources alongside your e-learning content. Let's go through each of these individually and then compare the advantages of each.
1) Add additional resources to your course content through the rapid authoring software itself
Within the ‘rapid-authoring’ tools used to create e-learning content (such as Articulate Storyline and Adobe Captivate), developers can add additional resources to the player templates.
Have a look at the image below for an example of how this looks in Articulate Storyline. These resources can be viewed and downloaded directly from the course itself.
2) Add additional resources to the Learning Management System (LMS)
Within any modern LMS, the administrator can upload additional resources alongside the course itself.
Check out the images below to see an example of how this same course could look in the Litmos LMS if it was broken up into micro-learning nuggets:
So which is the best? Let's look at the benefits of each:
Benefits of adding resources to the course
Quicker development time - Who creates your e-learning content? If it's created externally, it’s easier to ask the developers to add the additional resources to the e-learning course. When they deliver the final, published course to you, it will be delivered in a ZIP file that can be quickly uploaded to the LMS. Easy-peasy.
Quicker migration to a new LMS - If you're moving all your content from one LMS to another (by the way, his is a huge, painful job - so choosing the right LMS in the first place is vital!), it would be much quicker to move the content if it is all stored in individual ZIP files. Case in point, if you are migrating from one LMS to another and you have 50 courses, it would be much quicker to migrate 50 individual SCORM files. If you have 50 courses that comprise 10 lessons and 5 resources each, you will have 750 files to migrate! (50 courses x 15 items – is my math ok?).
Benefits of adding resources to the LMS
Instant access to resources - Learners will have immediate access to all additional resources as soon as they've logged into the LMS and navigated to the course. It's common knowledge that reducing the number of clicks required to get from A to B will increase the likelihood of web users from finding what they are looking for, so by placing the resources right in front of learners means they have access as quickly as possible.
Resources become useful as individual tools – Often a learner needs a quick answer or something that they can print off and take into the field. A full-blown e-learning course is not useful in either of these scenarios and therefore providing quick access to resources can turn your LMS into a much more useful platform.
LMS search functionality - Most modern LMS have extremely powerful search capabilities. If content is buried in the SCORM file, you lose all that search functionality. By adding individual components to the LMS, you can add useful keywords to each item to allow learners to quickly search resources that they may not otherwise discover.
Progress through each course can be seen from within the LMS - This is useful both for the learner, who can see their progress each time they log into the LMS. But also for tracking purposes too; if someone only completes the first of five lessons, that will be tracked and reported from within the LMS.
Which should you choose?
If the long list of advantages for hosting resources in the LMS doesn't give it away, the answer to that questions is simple - do you want to provide your audience with the best possible experience or not?
If the answer is yes (and it should be!) you must opt for adding the resources to the LMS. Yes, this will create more administration work as you add new courses. But the benefits to the learner are numerous.
How do you have your LMS set up? Do you keep your resources in your courses or in the LMS? Has this article changed your opinion on how you might do this in future?