What We Heard: The Three Big Buzzwords and Phrases of 2015

The year 2016 is almost upon us. Now is the time to take a few moments to reflect back on 2015.

This past year we once again saw strides being made in eLearning. Certain buzzwords we started hearing over and over again this past year. Some of these terms should sound familiar:

  • Millearnnials
  • Microlearning
  • The Myth of Learning Styles

Millearnnials, yes, Millearnials, not to be confused with Millennials! Millearnials are corporate tech-savvy workers of all ages who look down upon traditional learning environments and old-fashioned eLearning. This cross-generational learners want to use their smartphones and tablets to enable them to do their learning. They want media-rich and extremely relevant content in their learning experiences.

Lesson learned: It’s not just the Millennials who want to learn by mobile and through microlearning (see below), it can cut across generations.

Microlearning is a way of teaching and/or delivering content to learners in small, short specific chunks. To me, this is not a new, method of teaching and content delivery, we, as many of you probably agree, but, the term seems to be new. I seemed to have learned a precursor to this type of teaching back in my college days when one of my professors used to say, “The mind can only absorb what the butt can endure!” In that case, for classroom training, he was saying that you can only learn in class for the amount of time you can sit. When you’re uncomfortable, the class time should be over. Apparently this saying must have had some impact on me because I still remember it! Anyway, in the YouTube age, many of us want content in short, small edible bites so that we can learn short topics in short periods of time and we want it on demand. Instead of reading directions, we want to watch a video on how to do things and we don’t want a whole bunch of irrelevant content to get in the way. Here’s a great example, my daughter’s camera’s LCD screen broke when she dropped it. I could have sent the camera in to a camera repair shop and paid $150 USD just to get it looked at. But I found a YouTube video that someone from Germany had created on how to fix that very LCD screen with a part I could order from Amazon for less than $30. There was no speaking on the video, you just watched the close-up of how the entire process was done to fix the screen and put it all back together again. I did this, fixed my daughter’s camera AND saved a lot of money. When we create eLearning for our companies, we need to break down large topics into small, edible chunks in the same way. If we need to teach an enterprise software system, we can break it down into smaller tasks and create short, 2 to 3 minute videos or interactive learning bits to teach it in smaller chunks. This is what today’s learners and Millearnnials (see above) want.

Lesson learned: Present content in small, edible chunks!

The Myth of Learning Styles. Since I was a kid in school I remember teachers and even parents talk about a person’s “learning style”. And in college, working on my education degree, we learned that different people have different learning styles. That’s what we were all taught. Now we are told that was a myth, or more likely a miscommunication. This past year brought out a topic of discussion from the 2013 book, Visible Learning and the Science of How We Learn, by John Hattie and Gregory Yates. In their book they write about how the thinking of some people learn through words and others from images was never true. They wrote, “We are all visual learners, and we all are auditory learners, not just some of us. Laboratory studies reveal that we all learn when the inputs we experience are multi-modal or conveyed through different media.” I also find it interesting that if you google “learning styles myth”, you can find articles on that that go back to at least 2005 yet, we saw numerous articles that were published about it in learning magazines, newsletters, and blogs in 2015.

Lesson learned: Teach/present information and learning in a variety of ways.

Yes, 2015 was an exciting year for eLearning, and I expect that 2016 will come up with some new, different buzzwords and phrases to help move us along to get better trained for even more exciting challenges for the new year.

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