Micro Learning Units
The complexities of our time call educators to support students actively to develop 21st century skills, such as communication and collaboration. This important task requires a set of soft skills (e.g. self knowledge, emotional intelligence) from educators who have traditionally been valued for their content expertise.
The focus on content puts many educators in a situation where the workload for content delivery is high and there is very little room to receive training in self development or intercultural capacity building (Brownell & Swaner, 2012). In order to support educators, Crossing Borders Education (CBE) has developed a set of resources that address readiness for 21st century modalities and transformative learning capacities which can be embedded within any content course.
The CBE – Micro Learning Units (MLUs) are concentrated learning experiences designed with our 21st Century Transformative Learning Framework as a foundation. Within the MLUs, the structure of peer interactions (face-to-face or online) is, therefore, based upon research in best practices for transformative learning and formatted in easy-to-use, adaptable 20-40min units that can be integrated into lesson plans of diverse subjects.
Enhancing the learning experience through:
- Facilitation rather than direct instruction
- Student centred learning rather than expert centred learning
- Online modules in small peer groups to support trust building
- Peer interactions to strengthen social learning & collaborative learning
- Inspirational and engaging multimedia to enhance experiential learning
- Reflective pedagogy to support transformative learning and perspective change
- Learners sharing insights with each other through ‘Participatory Culture’ (Jenkins, 2016)
Preparing the learning experience through:
- Assessment: Understanding who learners are prior to the learning experience is crucial for facilitating effective learning (Sousa, 1995; Wanschneider, 2015). MLUs have assessment of learning embedded throughout the experience.
- Mindfulness: MLUs contain activities that help the learner focus and engage in the experience more deeply.
MLUs are created with a simple pattern of instruction that addresses learners needs for structure and flow:
- Warm Up: preparing the ‘learning moment’ by setting a personal tone and by linking content to the background, knowledge and experience of the learner
- Read: introducing core content through short manageable chunks that are visual and interactive in order to keep learners attention
- Watch: exploring insights around core content through videos that link the cognitive process of learning to the emotional process behind learning
- Dialogue: applying and analysing the new content through dialogue interactions with diverse peers that help highlighting different angles of insights
- Reflect: linking one or two new insights of learners to their personal lives
- Act: demonstrating the new learning in a small, practical action
Additional to the unit “Reflect” we are implementing micro reflection moments throughout the learning experience in sections 1, 3 and 6 (Warm Up, Watch, Act).
Evaluation and Assessment
In keeping with best practices for teaching and learning, we provide brief surveys, prompts for exit cards, and other ideas about how to check in with participant learning.
- Pre-assessment: with each Warm-Up we provide brief activities that help facilitators identify participant readiness to engage material
- Brief Surveys: as part of the MLUs learners complete short surveys that on one side help seeing the impact of activities on learners and on the other side serve them for self reflection
- Methods for Feedback: learners respond with brief statements about how they experience the activities and what they perceive they gain from the content