7Taps is the best tool I've encountered for creating a quick microcourse. A microcourse is a miniature learning experience. It’s useful anytime you want to teach or explain something quickly and concisely, without creating a complex course or writing a long memo. Here's one I created with 7Taps about how to spend less time on email. It took me about 25 minutes to create. It takes about three minutes to consume.
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What is 7Taps
7Taps is a creation tool that lets you assemble learning cards into self-guided lessons. You can share a link to a lesson, email or text it to people, or embed it into whatever site, app or learning system you're using.
Why it's useful
Setting up courses online is usually complex and time-consuming. Most learning-management platforms, like Blackboard and Canvas, are designed for institutional use. They're expensive and complicated and not designed for creating quick lessons. Even services that are free and simpler, like Google Classroom, are designed for full courses, not for a quick 5-minute lesson.
It's easy to use
7Taps is the kind of thing you can start using as quickly as you can create a Google Doc. And the interface is so simple that you don't need to read instructions. Here's more on why this kind of microlearning is useful and tips on doing it well.
Types of learning cards you can create
You can create several kinds of learning cards to make an engaging microcourse. You can add as many cards as you’d like, in whatever order you’d like. It’s best to keep courses concise, so people can finish a session in five to eight minutes.
Text. Think Tweet-length messages. You can put up to about 50 words on a card, or about 220 characters.
Photo. Add your own images or gifs. Use these to add visuals to text cards or as standalone cards.
Audio that you record yourself. Unfortunately, you have to record these in a separate audio tool. I recommend the free Online Voice Recorder, which lets you trim your audio before downloading it as an mp3 file.
Video of you explaining something. You record these somewhere else, like Loom or YouTube. They can be up to 60 seconds long and up to 1gb.
AI-powered video with a human-like avatar reading your text. I've been surprised at how well this actually works. You can see an example in my free mini lesson on spending less time on email.
Link. You can include a learning card that links to content somewhere else.
Quiz cards let you reinforce what people are learning with simple multiple-choice questions.
Examples of 7Taps lessons
Audio and video can't be recorded in 7Taps, so you have to use separate apps to record your own multimedia.
Audio and video lessons can't exceed one minute. This is a helpful constraint for keeping things concise. But if you need to delve a bit deeper, you'll need to chop your video or audio into multiple parts.
No open-ended questions. You can link to a Google Form or other survey tool.
No discussion. You can link to a discussion board, but it's mainly one-way teaching.
A free account limits you to creating one microcourse. That's great for testing out the service, but if you want to do more, you'll have to spring for the $20/month plan. Tip: 7Taps does offer discounts for independent creators, freelance instructional designers, and educational institutions, so apply if that's you.
EdApp is a strong alternative to 7Taps. I’m working on new mini lessons with both. EdApp has an elegant toolset that’s a bit more complex and powerful for creating microcourses. It also has a free program called Educate All in partnership with the United Nations Institute for Training and Research.
Bites, another microcourse platform, lets you create short training videos on your phone. I found editing lessons with the Bites app on my phone to be much clunkier than editing with 7Taps on the Web. And Bites has fewer options for designing creative learning steps.
More on microlearning
This explainer on microlearning has insights about its strengths and limitations.
Take a quick free online mini-course about microlearning that Professor Jason Gulya made with Google Sites and 7Taps.
Attend the Microlearning CONF — a free microlearning one-hour conference event I’m planning to attend on April 28 at 4pm ET
Explore additional free resources on retrieval practice.
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