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Almost two years ago, I asked for your help in identifying your training needs in digital journalism. More than 700 of you responded to a survey, with three-quarters supporting the idea of bite-size lessons delivered via your smartphone.

The idea was to overcome the biggest obstacle to training for journalists — lack of time — by providing learning in five-minute chunks that could be consumed while on public transit or waiting in line. In the past decade, mobile microlearning has taken off in other industries but not yet in journalism.

Now, the results are back from that first course in digital journalism delivered via mobile microlearning. And you responded enthusiastically.

All of the 35 journalists who took that first course — The 5 C’s of Writing News for Mobile Audiences — would recommend it to other journalists interested in the subject.

You can sample the first mobile-microlearning course in digital journalism

And now you can sample the course yourself. All you have to do is try a five-minute lesson and take a 10-minute survey on how we should price the courses: bit.ly/pricesurvey19. Then, we’ll provide a preview of the full course that you can take on any mobile browser. Please answer the survey by March 31.

Journalists who took the course had higher test scores

Here’s more about the effectiveness of the course from the 35 journalists who took it last fall under the auspices of the Information Experience Lab at the University of Missouri:

  • 80 percent of the learners obtained higher test scores after completing the course, and that increase in scores was statistically significant. Before the course, participants had an average score of 56. After the course, participants had an average score of 73, an increase of 17 points. If we exclude guesses, their scores went up 56 points.
  • 89 percent said they had learned new things.
  • 86 percent said they found it convenient to fit the short lessons into their daily routine.
  • 76 percent said the course was fun.  
  • After the course, learners reported that their confidence level in writing headlines and news stories for mobile had increased.

Journalists who took the course describe it as “fun,” “interesting” and “convenient”

In their comments, the learners described the course as “fun,” “interesting,” “short and helpful,” “convenient” and “easy to use.”

Here is what they would tell other journalists about the course:

  • “It's very convenient and easy to use during a busy day. Easy to stop and start if interrupted. Good lessons to learn.”
  • “It's quick and informative and could really change the way we approach writing for mobile audiences. I really liked the 'Be chunky' tip. I think most readers would respond well to those type of stories.”
  • “It was informational and helpful when it comes to learning new ways of writing stories for our mobile audiences. This course helps create a guideline at what to keep in mind when writing for mobile audiences.”
  • “That it provided excellent tips and insights for writing for mobile in a fun and non-time-consuming format.”
  • “It’s a new way of approaching mostly familiar topics, quick, informative and easy-to-use.”
  • “I liked the interactive exercises that let you form headlines and repurpose texts from stories, to try out the techniques yourself.”

How to take the pricing survey and access the mobile-microlearning course

Again, here’s how to access the sample lesson and the pricing survey: bit.ly/pricesurvey19. Complete it and take the full course: The 5 C’s of Writing News for Mobile Audiences.

Please take the survey by March 31, and help us tailor the pricing to your needs.

Armed with that information, the next step is to seek funding to bring you a library of mobile-microlearning courses in digital journalism.

Linda Austin  
   
Nonresidential fellow



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