5 exciting micro-learning platforms young professionals can subscribe to

The internet has always got something to teach. From skills like Business and Financial Modelling and Data Science to others like spinning a pencil and belly dancing.

Online learning has come a long way since Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) were first introduced in 2008. MOOCs took advantage of the internet’s accessibility and distribution to deliver quality education comparable to what you get at an Ivy League institution. And for free!

I am a beneficiary. Thanks to Coursera, I am adept at Financial Accounting and I have a better understanding of how to master any new subject. I also have a basic understanding of Data Science thanks to Dr. Steve Elston. edX allowed that to happen. More importantly they have made quality education accessible to all.

Ivy League education is available to everyone

Today, it is quite possible to get an Ivy League education without leaving the comfort of your home. But “Ivy League education without leaving the comfort of your home” is both a blessing and a curse. Maybe, there’s a reason Ivy League education happens at Ivy League institutions.

I’ve had a checkered experience with MOOCs. For example, last year I was one of the many students of the Data Science course on edX. And even though history was not on my side, I was convinced this will be the one course that I completed successfully. I love big data, and I love learning. That should make for an easy ride. Except I’m a young professional with a busy schedule.

And young professionals with busy schedules are what MOOCs are not made for. You start hitting walls too fast. I’d come home late and would doze off while trying to complete a lecture. Then there’s the school-style assignments that come with them.

Don’t get me wrong, long lectures assignments, peer-reviews are good, but when time is a luxury they’ll be the ones to throw you out of the class. I was left behind, again, and with a painful heart and disappointment, I abandoned ship.

Apparently, I am not alone.

MOOCs haven’t lived up to their huge potential

Studies have shown that less than 10 percent of people who sign up for MOOCs actually complete them. Damning statistic if there ever was any. It’s clear that online education providers so far haven’t lived up to their potential. Arguments in favor of MOOCs have it that it’s just a matter of motivation and determination. Sure, in a perfect world, self-motivation wins every time, but in our world, motivation and will-power are limited resources and can get you only so far.

This explains why micro-learning is quickly becoming the alternative to traditional MOOCs. For the uninitiated, Micro-learning is a way of teaching and delivering content to learners in small, very specific bursts.

Micro-learning, unlike traditional e-learning, focuses on meeting the demands of today’s learners. It best suits their information-rich lifestyles and allows them to access little chunks of information literally at their fingertips, anytime and anywhere. No more lengthy and boring lectures, and no more rigid schedules. For the first time, people can learn in their spare time and only what interests them.

As a young professional, this makes perfect sense. I can quickly take short lessons on a commute, or whiles I drink a cup of coffee! Instead of playing Clash of Clans, Temple Run and the myriad of mobile games that I am inclined to play in my free time, I can quickly get 10 tips on delivering eye-popping presentations to my boss at work. How cool is that!

Several startups (my startup is one) have begun to look at education in this novel way and are re-developing traditional e-courses into bite-sized courses that learners, especially busy professionals can take whiles they’re on the go. In this post, I list some websites and mobile apps that offer the experience of micro-learning. You can certainly check them out to find out if they meet your needs:

Coursmos is an open online education platform that specializes in micro-courses. Their platform aggregates videos from other educational resources and makes them into bite-sized modules. Videos last up to 5 minutes. They have both free and paid courses and charge users a fixed amount of $9.90 monthly. Coursmos is available on web and mobile.

Curiosity is a video-centric educational resource that also aggregates educational videos from other websites and helps learners to discover them. They have free and paid courses as well. They’re available both on web and mobile.

Launched in May 2013, Curious is a micro-learning startup that is also primarily video-centric and they have a specific purpose. “Curious doesn’t work great for mastering college-level topics,” said Justin Kitch, founder and CEO of Curious. Curious brands itself as a platform for lifelong learning — learning for it’s own sake. They’re currently only on web.

Enki is a mobile application that is enabling technologists to learn continuously via the means of ‘snackable’ mobile learning. This enables software developers to stay fresh in topics that are useful for them at work. The application provides daily programming “workouts” that hardcore devs or newbies can use to either learn new concepts or reinforce their knowledge. They’re currently in beta and one would need to sign up for an invite which hopefully doesn’t take too long to show up in your email inbox.

My co-founders and I have also built our own mobile application LiteLearn, which is a micro-learning application for young professionals and managers just starting out in their careers. For just 5 minutes a day, professionals can take bite-sized courses which would help them to improve their careers everyday.

We’ve taken award-winning courses from some of the world’s most respected Human Resource consultants and distilled them into short, engaging chat conversations you can snack on during your commute. You get all of the great advice in a fraction of the time it takes on traditional MOOC platforms.

For us, LiteLearn is a way of solving a problem we have faced ourselves and which millions of young professionals are facing. We are currently only available on the Google Play store. An iOS version is is scheduled to be released soon.

The Future
Micro-learning is the future of training in the workplace and we are happy to play our part in making knowledge easily accessible to a young workforce. There are exciting times ahead!