Bite-sized learning in library skill development: Micro Learning Application

Concurrent Session 1

Session Materials

Brief Abstract

The days of one-shot instruction are dead. Online and blended modalities allow education to be more adaptive, accessible, personalized, and customizable than ever before. This session explores the impact of just-in-time microlearning experiences to deliver academic support in the area of information literacy in higher education.


Educational thought leader with extensive experience in instructional and curriculum design. My background includes delivery and design of effective curriculum and training methods for faculty development and to improve student outcomes performance in higher education, vocational, and K-12 environments. I am looking forward to meeting you at OLC!
Dr. Holly Rick is currently Core Faculty in the PhD Management program at Walden University. In her role she focuses on teaching, program development, and research. Her research focus has been on career studies, information literacy and assessment. Her doctorate is in Organization and Management minoring in Leadership studies from Capella University. Holly Rick was the Research and Assessment librarian for the University of Phoenix. She managed the document delivery service and interlibrary loan process, manages the process for electronic reading reserves, and supports the faculty research for the School of Advanced Studies. Prior to this role, she was the Campus College Chair for the School of Advanced Studies in Business. She has taught in higher education for the past 10 years, has mentored students through their graduate and doctoral research, and is the owner of an Arizona based company. She sits on the professional development committee for the Mountain Plains Library Association and publishes within library and business conferences around how libraries can partner with others to promote professional development, building portfolios around professional development, and around the use of anxiety for persistence for online education.

Extended Abstract

The days of one-shot instruction are dead. Online and blended modalities allow education to be more adaptive, accessible, personalized, and customizable than ever before. One-shot instruction is not the most effective method of delivery regarding student learning outcomes in an online environment. Adult learners desire materials that are readily available, found in a variety of formats, and have an immediacy of application. Throughout a student’s academic career, they need additional support for information literacy instruction is responsive to their individual needs as they become more adept at scholarly research. This approach allows students the opportunity to take a micro lesson on a concept that they struggle with mastering. Microlearning is more flexible than one-shot instruction in adjusting to the appropriate level of rigor. Using academic analytics, instructional designers and curriculum developers can provide microlearning to students as timely support that helps advance and supports learner’s needs at a rate that is appropriate.

Just-in-time microlearning experiences prevent the student from “drinking from the fire hydrant” of information. In online and blended learning platforms thoughtful implementation of instructional design, usability, and cognitive load are achieved through just-in-time microlearning experiences.  This session explores the impact of the microlearning approach in delivering academic support in the area of information literacy in higher education targeting students in bachelor's, master's and doctoral programs.  Just-in-time micro scholarships can be tailored to the online learner’s level of readiness through tradition methods, like classroom activities, or adaptive technologies that utilize email and learning management systems.  By providing students with timely support in meaningful bite-sized pieces at the most high-risk periods of the student’s academic career, institutions of higher education can serve students while meeting academic and institutional retention goals.  Onboarding and new student orientations are moving away from the one-size fits all and towards on-demand formats as students often feel overwhelmed by too much information too soon and do not benefit from information that is not immediately applicable.  Information about using the library, finding services, creating search strategies may not be beneficial to a student until the student is required to use these skills in an assignment or other classroom activity. 

Just-in-time microlearning experience provides content when the student needs the specific information in condensed bursts of information that can be immediately applied.  Threshold Concepts such as searching as strategic exploration work well in a microlearning environment. To create microlearning activities, designers and developers begin with a specific threshold concept identified to ensure that the student will receive the explicit instruction that they need at the time when they need it. Microlearning experiences reach students in ways where one-shot instruction and classroom delivery are not able. Designers create microlearning with accessibility in mind.  By creating microlearning opportunities, information literacy instruction can be delivered in mobile settings, reaching students when and where they have access to mobile platforms. Microlearning activities can be embedded on a library website, or in a workshop with additional instructional support, or embedded with classroom assignments. From the works of Theo Hug, microlearning can be used to learn more about a topic within less than 15 minutes simulates the “need to know” information in a realistic way. These micro learnings can be assessed to validate if the student can apply the concept or if the student will require additional support on the topic.

A benefit of microlearning for information literacy is the ability of the Univeristy to support students with additional content at a time when a student appears to be struggling with a threshold concept. Experiences span across instructional materials including infographics, videos, interactive eLearnings, brief readings, emails or text messages. Microlearning is a natural fit for instructional design formats like multimedia, that increase student engagement.  Other benefits of microlearning include the ease of content management when keywords and tags are attached to individual microlearning files.  This convenience helps the organizational structure when creating and maintaining websites, blog sites, and eLearning libraries.

For this session, researchers will examine student feedback regarding microlearning for the content in the University of Phoenix Library and advanced research strategies the formats of short narrated video, video scribe, and interactive eLearning.  Each activity is designed to require between 2-15 minutes of instructional time for the student to complete.  After receiving information literacy instruction in a microlearning experience, students will respond to survey regarding their experience. 

During this session, participants are encouraged to experience several microlearning activities, learn where and how institutions of higher education are using microlearning, and obtain resources on best practices for developing microlearning.