Written by Ingrid Mosquera Gende, PhD.
Microlearning is the idea of dividing learning into small pieces. This idea could be very useful when too much information, all at once, is difficult to digest: splitting large chunks of information into smaller bite-sized pieces can be more easily processed. Therefore, students can get the sensation of improvement and can be motivated. Education has a lot of examples of this tendency nowadays: MOOCs, NOOCs, flipped classroom videos, GIFs, memes, imagines, tweets, podcasts, quizzes, and so on.
However, what I normally do with my students, and what I propose here to teach grammar, is to go a step further: make it an active experience. That is, the students are going to be the ones creating content, converting it into a microteaching or in an active microlearning experience, taking into consideration that teaching is one of the best ways of learning, and I really think that we, all teachers can agree on that,
If we ask our students to create their microcontent for their classmates, they are going to develop many competences. They will:
-Acquire a deep understanding of the content, in order to be able to sum it up with just a small resource.
-Develop skills related to summary and explanation.
-Develop their digital competence, if it´s the case that we are using technologies.
-Increase their motivation and interest in learning.
-Develop their soft skills, especially if they work in groups.
-Be aware of their own learning process, since they have to build their own knowledge.
-Reflect on their own learning process: metacognition.
-Make learning active and meaningful to the students.
-Put effort into their products, since their classmates are going to be able to see them.
Concerning grammar, here are some examples that could be used to develop active microlearning exercises in your classroom. Your students can:
-Create a GIF, a meme of an image.
-Create quizzes for the rest of the students using a paper and a pen or digital tools, such as Kahoot, Cerebrity, Google Forms or similar apps.
-Record a podcast.
-Explain any grammar aspect in front of the rest of the students, as if they were the teachers.
This can all be done individually, in pairs or in groups.
Everything can be shared in a blog or using any other digital tool, such as Symbaloo or Wakelet. Alternatively, if you do it without technology, you can display all the resulting products on a poster, so that everyone can look at it.
Therefore, as you can see, we are not talking about new resources, we are talking about the importance of co-teaching and co-learning, the idea of giving them the power and the control over their own learning, being able to critically understand the content and to make it theirs, so that they are able to transmit it to the other students.
In other words, the product may be a micro one, but the underlying process is far from it.