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Learn in bite-sized bits with new micro-course app

These days, it seems like people barely have time to write a proper email, (and don’t even think about handwritten letters), much less sit through hours and weeks of a class, even if it’s online. But the rise of MOOCs and startups like Khan Academy are bringing education to the masses in more convenient means than ever, at little or no cost to the student.

And now, Russian startup Coursmos is breaking down that concept into even more consumable chunks, through its micro-lesson e-learning iOS app.

Cofounder Pavel Dmitriev told TechCrunch, “Coursmos’ micro-course formats provide quick-to-digest, low-commitment lessons that course takers can complete when they have three free minutes, not thirty.”

So instead of blocking out your schedule to attend an online course, you can learn about business essentials or Photoshop basics on the bus to work, or even on a commercial break during your favorite primetime TV show.

Coursmos built a new schoolroom, but will the students come? The challenge, according to TechCrunch, is getting enough crowdsourced content, and populating the courses with enough quality material to drive users to the app, and the eventual website. Coursmos is competing with the likes of YouTube, a massive community full of free user-created content, including thousands of how-to videos and tutorials. So Coursmos is giving its instructors an option to charge for courses, and the startup will take “9% of any fees to fuel its own business model.”

The DIY movement is still hot, and it’s translating to new approaches in education, as Coursmos has clearly recognized. Everyone can be a teacher, and everyone can be a student. Teach it yourself, learn it yourself – and more importantly, on your own time, as attention spans shrink and schedules become busier.

As we rethink what “getting an education” means, startups have the opportunity to create niche approaches, pairing different techniques with the right technology, for the right demographic. Which educational model will rise to the top?