Using Microlearning and Social Learning to Improve Teachers’ Instructional Design Skills: A Mixed Methods Study of Technology Integration in Teacher Professional Development

George O Hanshaw, Janet Hanson


The purpose of this mixed-method study was to test the usefulness of a new technology-based instructional design, using microlearning and social learning, to improve employee skills on the job.  Researchers collected data from professionals responsible for instructional design at their workplace (N=51). Participants engaged in a fully on-line training at a time convenient to them over a two-week period. A learning management system supported the content delivery. A social learning component included video demonstrations of the content and participants asynchronously sharing their learning with other participants. Researchers performed follow-up interviews (N=10) to develop a deeper understanding of the participants’ perceptions and to validate self-reports collected in a Likert-style quantitative survey. Participants created work samples used as evidence of their learning from the training. Three themes emerged from the qualitative analyses including, participants wanted training that provided skills useful immediately on the job, sought to expand their perspectives by learning from others, and to expand their skills in their craft beyond those of other designers. Participants’ reported that opportunities to share their learning with others made the learning “more personal” and provided a “bigger picture,” or broader perspective. Participants’ reported the instructional design increased their motivation to engage the content and that their skills improved. Positive reports of the effectiveness of the microlearning component were not consistent, however, with the statistical results. There was a significant negative correlation between microlearning and the social learning component and the dependent variable of the study, participants’ perceptions of the effectiveness of the instructional design.

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Copyright (c) 2019 George O Hanshaw, Janet Hanson

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