IRRI Education, the educational arm of the International Rice Research Institute (IRRI), is driving efforts to strengthen its online learning platform through the introduction of over 50 microlearning modules or micromodules.
“This endeavor is reaching new heights of disseminating cutting-edge technologies, and knowledge riding on IRRI’s research and innovations to a broader audience and fostering development in rice sciences,” said Gopesh Tewari, Head of IRRI Education.
IRRI Micromodules are short and interactive e-learning courses presented in SCORM (Sharable Content Object Reference Model) multimedia format, covering a wide range of agricultural topics, including the latest technological innovations, best practices, concepts, and trends. The introduction of over 50 micromodules represents IRRI Education’s commitment to capacitating diverse learners, marking a milestone in its pursuit of excellence through education.
Unlike traditional learning modules, they follow the concept of microlearning, breaking down complex topics into bite-sized information to enhance retention and achieve better learning objectives. This approach also allows for easier creation, maintenance, and distribution of courses, resulting in higher completion rates. Additionally, micromodules feature knowledge checks, links to supplementary materials, and full-text publications for further learning.
"We see the need to empower the agricultural sector through enhanced educational communication. Through this online learning initiative, we bridge the gap between technical experts and the public, leveraging the pivotal role of educational technology and innovations in equipping our stakeholders with the latest knowledge and breakthroughs in agriculture,” said Gaurav Jaiswal, IRRI Education educational technology specialist in an interview.
The benefits of microlearning modules are numerous. They allow for flexible learning, as learners can access the material at their own pace and on their own schedule. They also cater to different learning styles, as they offer a range of interactive and engaging activities that cater to visual, auditory, and kinesthetic learners. Moreover, microlearning modules are cost-effective and efficient, as they require fewer resources and time compared to traditional learning methods. These benefits align with IRRI’s mission to provide accessible and sustainable solutions to improve the livelihoods of farmers and communities.
IRRI Education also utilizes the capacity of its team and a range of resources that include a customized Learning Management System (LMS), web development, instructional design, and content development. LMS enables them to provide courses that are tailored to the needs of their target learners and partners. Web development helps them to attract new learners and continually improve their platforms. Instructional design supports the delivery of courses by outlining and updating course curricula and identifying appropriate delivery methods. While the content development team works with subject matter experts to develop e-learning content that is engaging, interactive, and reviewed by experts to ensure quality. These resources are used together to create effective microlearning modules that support their learners' educational goals.
“Our microlearning modules will focus on food, land, and water-based systems. While we are a rice-based research organization, we aim to expand our reach and impact by providing a diverse range of topics in these fields,” Jaiswal added.
By utilizing a participatory and experiential learning approach, learners will have the opportunity to apply their knowledge in practical situations, increasing retention and application.
Since its launch in 2022, the micromodules have already gained significant engagements, with over 1000 impressions on social media.This early success highlights the quality of the content and the relevance of the topics covered, and serves as proof of the meaningful impact IRRI Education is making on the rice education landscape.
IRRI Education offers courses on various topics, including sustainable rice farming practices, crop management, and climate-smart agriculture. Some of these modules cover topics like rice-farm management, weed management, and site-specific nutrient management, among others. Access and watch the micromodules by logging in to openlearning.irri.org.
This online learning initiative is open to institutions and organizations who share IRRI’s vision of promoting sustainable agriculture and making meaningful impact by providing education and training to agricultural sectors. For the development of such micromodules, you can reach IRRI Education at firstname.lastname@example.org or visit our website at education.irri.org.