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Small is powerful – Bite-sized learning through the Mobile platform

Bite-sized learning nuggets have become an extremely effective way to impart mobile learning, for an array of topics. As the name suggests, each learning nugget is about 3-5 minute long, which can be consumed in one go. This provides the learner concise and relevant information that is easy to retain and apply.

The merits of bite-sized learning are many. When delivered through the mobile platform, they become more accessible and provide an opportunity for learning anywhere and anytime.

  • Bite-sized learning modules aim to engage the learner through a short burst of information that is relevant to the nature of their work – directly or indirectly. It can be a small soft-skill based module to develop their interpersonal skills or a short module on the relevance of a particular feature of a new application. Because it takes very little time, the learner is able to absorb all of it in one go.
  • With no additional frills, the short learning modules deliver information in a concise and concentrated manner. The learner does not have to go through irrelevant information and waste precious time. A single capsule deals with only a particular topic, so the learner can choose what he or she wants to learn.
  • Bite-sized learning works on the ‘pull’ approach of learning – where learners are encouraged to assess their own learning needs and access learning as per those needs. Not only does this encourage learners to be more invested in their learning, it also provides an opportunity to learn when the need is most – for instance when going in for a presentation or when in doubt over a particular topic.
  • The bite-sized structure of the modules makes them a perfect accompaniment for blended learning. Applications or courses that are learnt in classrooms or through e-learning can be suitably supported by bite-sized learning through mobiles. Summarized topics, important facts, or even graphs and images, can be part of the small learning nuggets that can reiterate what was taught in the classroom or e-course.
  • Assessments and small assignments can also be made available through these nuggets. The learners can take small quizzes or activity-based tests which can not only provide a tool for learner-assessment but also increase the learners’ engagement with the content.

Bite-sized learning does not however mean just chunking of courses into smaller modules.

  • With only 3-5 minutes in hand, a sound instructional strategy needs to be in place to determine what can be imparted in that time and the best way of doing so.
  • Design needs to be light and effective to ensure that the learner does not take too much time to access the module on the mobile device. Using HTML5 for developing the content can be a good idea, though it limits interactivity.
  • Audio can be judiciously used to counter the frugality of design. It need not be just a voice over for the text on the screen. It can be interactive – providing interesting anecdotes or facts in addition to the text.
  • The modules need to have easy navigation to provide the learner a hassle-free experience.
  • Lastly, the learning needs to deliver on the promise of accessibility and should be available on multiple mobile platforms – be it the i-Phone, Blackberry or an Android-based device. Fortunately, development technologies have taken massive strides in the past few years to ensure that this flexibility is available for all mobile content.

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