Skip to main content

Wordle was released in October 2021. Six months later, it has more than 300,000 daily players, and the New York Times has bought the daily word game for a seven-figure sum. It’s also spawned hundreds of copycat games, each with a slight twist on the original format.

This shows the dizzying popularity of daily puzzles and games.

Wordle works because it’s challenging, fun, and snappy. It keeps players coming back everyday in the hope they won’t break their streak. Plus, it exercises the brain, improves strategic thinking, and even broadens players’ vocabulary.

There are plenty of parallels between this and modern learning techniques. So what can this format teach us about learner engagement and knowledge retention?

The rise of micro-learning

Micro-learning is part of a significant trend towards more interactive, highly-focused education. Like Wordle, micro-learning activities are challenging and fast-paced. They consist of short learning activities and small chunks of information, often delivered by video or another eLearning format.

Studies have shown that micro-learning is more efficient and effective than traditional learning systems. But because these systems are so ingrained in our pedagogical culture — and in some cases prescribed by the curriculum — it has been difficult for educators to make use of this bitesize format in the past.

Online learning has changed everything. It’s more advanced than ever, and allows educators to experiment with micro-learning to challenge learners and improve their knowledge retention. But micro-learning is about more than chopping up lesson plans and delivering short-form activities. To be effective, learning activities must be interactive and continual, even in a scaled-down format.

How micro-learning improves knowledge retention

A study by Carnegie Mellon University suggests that interactive learning is six times more likely to help students learn than passive activities like watching videos. So while video is a hugely helpful format in terms of delivering information, it’s not the best way to help students retain this knowledge.

The Forgetting Curve shows that information is forgotten at an alarming rate. In fact, half of what a student learns is typically forgotten within a day. That means hours of prepared learning materials are essentially fruitless — unless you reiterate this information at regular intervals.

Recapping lessons during class isn’t the best use of tutor or student time. Each learner will retain and forget different information, and it’s not viable to cover everything multiple times. Instead, tutors must regularly check and test learning for each student, then personalise their learning plan based on their current knowledge, confidence, and capability.

Spaced repetition is the best way to improve knowledge retention. It enables students to recall up to 85% of the information they’ve learned, up from 20% with no repetition. That’s why daily quiz questions that prompt learners to revisit their previously learned knowledge are key to unlocking knowledge retention.

Gamifying learning with daily quiz questions

If Wordle’s success has taught us anything, it’s that people love the challenge of a daily puzzle. It stimulates our minds, creates a sense of achievement, and even releases the feel-good chemical dopamine when we manage to solve the puzzle.

Imagine finding a puzzle that does all this, but also helps learners build career skills, too.

Impact Focus Plugin For WordPress

Impact Focus is purpose-built to improve long-term knowledge retention. With this micro-learning tool, you can send daily quiz questions to your learners by email. Engaging with these questions helps learners recall what they’ve learned — and the more they do it, the longer they’ll retain this information. You set the questions, so they can relate to anything and everything you’ve covered with your students.

With Impact Focus, you can establish the key areas where learning recaps are needed for individual students, helping you create a personalised plan to plug knowledge gaps and provide further challenges for every student, promoting engagement and success.

Find out more about how Impact Focus works, and how you can use it to test knowledge, motivate learners, and improve knowledge retention.

Rebecca Munton

Rebecca is a creative content writer for Discover eLearning. With a background in marketing for eLearning, she writes useful content to help staff and students get the most from digital technology and Discover eLearning's award winning WordPress-based solutions.

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.