Trialling micro-learning design to increase engagement in online courses

Article


Kossen, Chris and Ooi, Chia-Yi. 2021. "Trialling micro-learning design to increase engagement in online courses." Asian Association of Open Universities Journal. 16 (3), pp. 299-310. https://doi.org/10.1108/AAOUJ-09-2021-0107
Article Title

Trialling micro-learning design to increase engagement in online courses

ERA Journal ID125189
Article CategoryArticle
AuthorsKossen, Chris (Author) and Ooi, Chia-Yi (Author)
Journal TitleAsian Association of Open Universities Journal
Journal Citation16 (3), pp. 299-310
Number of Pages12
Year2021
Place of PublicationUnited Kingdom
ISSN1858-3431
Digital Object Identifier (DOI)https://doi.org/10.1108/AAOUJ-09-2021-0107
Web Address (URL)https://www.emerald.com/insight/content/doi/10.1108/AAOUJ-09-2021-0107/full/html
Abstract

Purpose: This paper reports on how micro-learning design principles are being trialled in an Australian and a Malaysian university to make online courses more accessible and attractive, and a more positive experience, with the aim of increasing student success. Central to this approach is segmenting materials into “bite-size” instalments by way of short micro-lecture presentations and reducing other content. The aim of this “less is more” strategy is to reduce unnecessary cognitive load as an impediment to learning so that focus can shift to prioritising the most essential skills and content. The purpose of this trial is to explore the efficacy of micro-learning as a means for increasing student engagement and learning. Design/methodology/approach: The trials involved a mixed mode methodology drawing on qualitative and ratings data from course satisfaction surveys and records on grades and completion. Findings: To date, results have shown significant increases in student engagement and satisfaction, and also performance. Our application of micro-learning included reducing volume of content based on its practical value, use of novelty (e.g. infusing guest presenter input) and design of practical and collaborative student activities. Research limitations/implications: Early results are encouraging regarding apparent utility for engaging learners and ease of application, i.e. implementability and transference potential. However, the rapidly expanding area of online learning requires further research to establish a well-validated evidence base for effective online teaching practices. Practical implications: The findings are relevant to universities involved in online and blended learning. Micro-learning design methods show promise in being able to address major engagement barriers including cognitive overload. Social implications: More students are struggling with learning in today's social environment brought about with the massification of higher education. Micro-learning seeks to address major barriers these learners face with methods that go beyond traditional teaching practices. Originality/value: Findings here are encouraging and contribute to existing understanding on ways to increase learner engagement in the competitive and fast-growing area of online learning for universities globally.

KeywordsMicro-learning, Online learning, Online learning design, Online student engagement, Online learning delivery, Cognitive overload
ANZSRC Field of Research 2020390405. Educational technology and computing
Byline AffiliationsUniversity of Southern Queensland
Wawasan Open University, Malaysia
Institution of OriginUniversity of Southern Queensland
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