Empowering Diverse Learners: Crafting Microlearning

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As educators and instructional designers, it’s our responsibility to ensure courses are accessible and engaging for students of all ages and abilities. It’s also essential we consider the diverse needs of learners. We often hear discussions around addressing disabilities, unique student needs, equitable language, and representation. We must address those factors for learners, but it’s also essential to create the type of content that resonates with them, meaning it is practical, short, easy to consume, and applies to their careers. Microlearning is a tool to meet the diverse needs of learners in engaging ways in our virtual classrooms.

Artwork by Malvika Shah

Here are some key strategies to create microlearning components that foster inclusivity and address the diverse learning styles of our students:

Personalized Learning Experiences

Recognize that each learner is unique. Tailor your microlearning components to cater to different learning preferences and offer students choices. Offer a variety of content formats, including videos, podcasts, interactive quizzes, infographics, downloadable PDFs and presentations, articles, and hands-on activities. This enables learners to engage with the material in a way that suits them best.

Bite-Sized Modular Content

Break down complex concepts into smaller, manageable chunks. Design microlearning components that are concise and focused on a specific learning outcome. This approach allows learners to absorb information when they have limited time.

By creating short modules, students can work with one concept at a time. From an instructor and instructional design perspective, modules make it easier to move parts around to adjust the course and to take elements of one course and apply them to another.

Multilingual and Captioned Resources

Embrace linguistic diversity by providing captions and transcripts. These tools assist students who speak a different language and have disabilities. These tools have become increasingly popular when learners need to watch or listen to media without volume. Consider that students may be in a busy classroom, in their office, in transit, or headphones are not handy.

Gamification and Interactivity

Integrate gamified elements and interactive features into your microlearning. Gamification can enhance motivation and engagement, while interactive elements like quizzes, simulations, and discussion boards encourage active participation. Don’t get stuck on the execution and feel that you need to learn how to use gaming tools in the classroom. Start with Kahoot or an interactive slide presentation. Encourage students to create games and quizzes from tools they use, and can teach you how to use them. These approaches create an inclusive and dynamic learning environment where students can be teachers.

Assessment Variety

Implement various types of assessments that challenge students to demonstrate they’ve met the learning objectives while preparing them for their careers. Various assignments throughout a course provide students with multiple avenues to demonstrate their learning. Give students options for submission. For example, they can create a video or write a paper. They write an APA paper or a white paper. They can conduct a lab alone or lead their classmates in a lab. Allowing students to create and choose their submission empowers them to take responsibility for their learning.

Inclusive Language and Cultural Sensitivity

Pay attention to language to ensure it is inclusive, respectful, and bias-free. Consider cultural nuances, idioms, and jargon, and avoid examples or references that may exclude or marginalize certain groups. Foster an environment where learners feel valued and represented.

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Continuous Improvement

Survey students throughout the term formally and informally to gather feedback. Use the information to adapt, adjust, and improve your content.

By incorporating these strategies into our microlearning components, we can create online classrooms that celebrate diversity, promote engagement, and empower every learner to thrive.

Learn more about customized design solutions and how you can incorporate microlearning.

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Angela Britcher

Angela Britcher is an instructional designer and content creator with The Babb Group. She is also an adjunct professor of business and communications.
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