Micro-learning with Twitter

Wikipedia defines micro-learning as follows:

“Microlearning deals with relatively small learning units and short-term learning activities.”

So essentially, we are referring to creating small chunks of learning content and short learning activities, e.g. <

  • reading a short piece of text – blog posting, article etc
  • listening to a short piece of audio, e.g. a podcast
  • watching a short video
  • taking a short quiz
  • tweets

Twitter with its 140 character limitation is perfect for delivering short bites of learning content – and for creating a community of learners around that content.

140 University project was created as an example of micro-blogging.  It  consisted of knowledge nugget tweets that contained links to a supporting and explanatory resource.

Classes were available in a number of “departments”, including Art, Astronomy, Chemistry, Media Studies Music, Physics, Technology.

A separate Twitter account was set up for this activity to send out the tweets to followers

Each tweet consisted of

  1. a fact – an engaging statement that enticed the learner to click through to the link (ie a “teaser”)
  2. a link – to  supporting short resource – a web page, image  video, podcast.  The link was shortened using bit.ly to ensure there was maximum amount of room for the teaser, and to track clickthroughs. (See Sharing links and resources)

3 – Tweets were scheduled in advance. There are a number of tools to do this, See Managing multiple accounts: Scheduling tweets.
4 – Saturday was quiz day at the 140 University.  We asked a question.  Followers tweeted their answers. The following day we provides the answer and said who tweeted the correct answer first.

Daily micro-learning

One excellent use of micro-learning is to provide some daily – or at least very regular – bites of “learning” content.  This kind of drip-feed learning is very useful for gradually building a body of knowledge.

  • daily tips
  • daily vocabulary (for language learning
  • daily explanation of terminology
  • daily short fact of bite of information
  • daily article to read

Here are some other examples of daily micro-learning:

Cookbook@cookbook – The very popular Twitter Cookbook account packs the information for each recipe for 3-4 people into a tweet of 140 characters. Since it uses a coding system the Glossary page is needed to decode the tweet! Here is a sample tweet:

Baked French Toast: Beat4egg/¾c milk&crm/t vanil&cinn. Top6c bread in buttrdbkgdish. Chill8h; top w ¼c mltdbuttr/⅓c brsug.

Frenchmot@Frenchmot – Learning French by sharing. Interesting French words Here is a an example tweet

Inquieter : To Worry (So, 'Je suis inquiet' is 'I am worried') #learnfrench

HBR Management Tip of the Day@ManagementTip– Quick, practical management tips and ideas from Harvard. Business Review. Title is tweeted with shortened link to blog posting.  Example tweet:

HBR.org: Let Your Employees Succeed by Letting Them Fail http://s.hbr.org/cRum7l

Boise Public Library Book of the Day@boisepublib – The Boise Public Library’s mission is to assist members of the community to educate themselves and enhance well-being through library resources and services.  Example tweet:

Book of the Day! Daring Young Men: The Heroism and Triumph of the Berlin Airlift, June 1948-May 1949 by Richard Reeves http://ping.fm/a6DMX

Further Reading

Microlearning presentation at LearnTrends, Janet Clarey, 19 November 2009

Enterprise micro-learning, Marcia Conner, Fast Company, 13 October 2009