Archive for category Microlearning

Jawbone – my personal micro-coach

I was given a Jawbone for my birthday five weeks ago (nice 21st gift I hear you say!). A Jawbone consists of a wristband with a motion sensor which gathers data on my activity levels and sleep, and sends it to the UP application on my iPhone.  I manually enter mood information – when the mood strikes me to do so…  I could also enter information on my food and drink intake if I chose.


My wristband transfers data wirelessly to the UP app.  While I don’t fully understand how Jawbone works, I do know that it’s a great example of how micro learning (a series of short learning activities) combined with personalised data-based feedback can enable behavioural change. In this post I’ll focus on how Jawbone has helped me to learn about my well-being and adopt healthier behaviours.

UP1 goals

I set goals for daily hours of sleep and number of steps.  (I have also set a weight goal, but have not bothered to monitor it.)

UP2 SleepWhen I wake each morning I open UP to check on my sleep.  UP has gathered enough data (it keeps 9 months of data) to detect my sleep patterns and gives me personalised feedback and tips.  In response to this I have increased my sleep target from 7 to 7.5 hours.  Because I enjoy achieving goals, my average sleep has increased in pursuit of the target.  Finally, after years of wanting to improve my sleep, I no longer feel lethargic by Thursday.  There is still room for improvement – UP recently recommended that my bedtime needs to be consistent, and provided a link to an article on how much sleep is enough.UP3 Sleep tip

UP4 StreakAs I have a big dog that needs to be walked twice a day I rarely miss my 10,000 step target.  I like to monitor my step progress during the day, and get a kick out of feedback that I’m doing well.  I have have not accepted UP’s suggestions to increase my walking target as I have heard from many sources that 10,000 steps is enough to keep me in good health.

UP Weekly Summ3I receive a weekly summary email which reports overall progress, highs and lows of the week, compares my results to the previous week and my historical averages, as well as sometimes to average data for women in my age group.  The fact that I often walk over 60 kilometres per week demonstrates the cumulative effect of daily goals.

In addition to goal tracking and customised tips, microlearning also comes in the form of generic well-being tips with links to more detail.  I read all 3 to 4 tips daily, and click through perhaps 3 times a week.  I find the tips relevant and helpful to making minor adjustments to build a healthier lifestyle.

I’ve not turned on the feed to Twitter or Facebook from UP – I don’t need the public accountability to motivate me, and I don’t want to bore anyone with my statistics.

The experience of building my awareness and changing habits through a powerful combination of an ongoing flow of information, tips and personalised data-based feedback has me thinking about how to apply this in my Learning & Development role.  Micro-learning possibilities include:

  • breaking down bigger courses or replacing part of a course previously delivered in a single ‘event’ into a series of smaller pieces of information or activities and drip-feeding them to participants. Micro-learning could be used to either replace an entire ‘event’ based course, or as pre- or post-learning.
  • asking a group of people a daily or weekly question with responses posted on Enterprise Support Network (ESN)
  • encouraging SMEs to post a daily tip or ‘how to’ instruction on our ESN
  • sharing a daily link to existing performance support materials

To identify where and how we could readily use performance data to provide an ongoing flow of personalised feedback and improvement tips I need to improve my understanding of data available in my organisation.  I’ll post about this when I’ve looked into it.

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