Caregivers are hardly strangers to learning new things. For those recently navigating a new diagnosis or changing treatments, they’re often processing new information—something that can be overwhelming, especially for a new caregiver. The breadth of information all at one can be a lot for anyone to handle.
For caregivers experiencing this, a new form of learning – a technique known as “microlearning” – could be the key to overcoming information overload. The bite-sized way of introducing new information can help caregivers stay grounded and avoid stress. Plus, it can even be applied to give seniors a fun and approachable mental workout.
What is microlearning?
A concept developed for learning new ideas in small increments or “bursts,” microlearning can be a manageable and engaging way to try to learn about a new idea or skill, often done in sessions less than 10 minutes. The format keeps the listener’s attention span and increases the chances of retaining information by not going into too much.
The first known use of the term was in a book called “The Economics of Human Resources,” by Hector Correa, published in 1963. However, it’s most often associated with e-learning, which didn’t take off until the 1990s and has seen a resurgence with learning apps and YouTube videos.
Rather than receiving a constant flow of new information, a learner can focus on one concept and approach at a time. The trend of microlearning has become widely embraced, meaning it’s easy to find videos and e-learning resources in microlearning formats on just about anything.
According to a LinkedIn report, “The #1 reason employees are not engaging in workplace learning is because they don’t have the time.” Microlearning instead creates an opportunity for professional development on a tight schedule, particularly for time-constricted caregivers.
Caring for someone with dementia? Explore the free video series on Microlearning for Dementia and on caregiving for yourself as well as someone else. Both series feature videos less than seven minutes long, making it easily accessible for those on a tight schedule.
Videos aren’t the only format for microlearning, however. Many podcasts are taking on microlearning, as well as training platforms and books.
We live in an information-rich society with constant access to the internet, articles, memes, etc. It can make managing information and retaining it hard to deal with. The bite-sized information can help keep focus and allow a more engaged way to process what you have consumed instead of constantly moving on to the next lesson.
This same approach can be a great way for seniors to learn new skills or concepts and combat boredom. The short bursts of information keep the lessons from becoming stressful or frustrating by keeping the focus small.
Whether seniors and caregivers want to expand their vocabulary with apps like Word of the Day, learn a new language with apps like Duolingo or just discover fun facts from sites like InstaNerd they can share with those they love, microlearning can be a great way to learn, explore and work their brain along the way.