As an employer, there are several advantages to using micro-learning as part of your training strategy.
In addition to increasing the efficiency of knowledge transfer by 17%, according to a 2017 Journal of Applied Psychology paper, these advantages can roughly be broken down into three main areas:
- Time and Cost Savings: Micro-learning reduces or eliminates the need for travel, reduces time away from the workplace, and makes scaling your training programs more cost-effective.
- Better Agility and Consistency: Training is accessible 24/7 and can be completed by employees on a self-paced basis. New content can be quickly created and existing content can be easily updated and republished or repurposed.
- Increased Employee Engagement: Micro-learning by definition is short, so learners will usually finish a Microlearning ‘nugget’ within a 1 to 5-minute window. This helps negate the impact of the “Forgetting Curve” and faster completions can improve training completion rates.
It is the last of those advantages, ‘Engagement’, that we will be focussing on in this post.
Why? We feel that to be truly considered micro-learning, training needs to be something more than just short.
Whilst short CAN equal higher engagement, it doesn’t always equate to training being informative or educational. Just having short bursts of content available to learners isn’t enough.
With true micro-learning, each session or piece of content should be able to engage employees independently, even if it’s the only piece of training consumed in that sitting.
So, how can you increase employee engagement? This isn’t always the easiest thing to achieve, so let’s look at three creative ways to engage employees with a micro-learning LMS.
You may not have heard the term ‘prizing’ before in the context of learning and development, so let’s define what it means first.
The Cambridge English Dictionary defines Prize as ‘to think that someone or something is very valuable or important’.
In the adjective version, ‘Prizing’ means to place value or importance on the outcome, in the case of prizing in education, the value is placed on the outcome of a micro-learning nugget or another piece of training collateral with the potential to win real life prizes or rewards..
Micro-learning often features elements of gamification that reward the learner as they progress through a course. The collection of badges or other tokens as signs of progress can be a good incentive to ensure engagement is maintained until the training is complete.
Prizing can be a particularly effective engagement technique to use when designing longer employee training programs that are split into multiple micro-learning segments because the badges or scores are maintained over multiple sessions.
The rationale behind this is backed up by research that suggests mobile apps that save and track user progress have much higher engagement rates than mobile-optimized websites or desktop web viewing.
EdApp offers direct tracking of performance, course completions, and usage through a simple, gamification-based reward system. Learners are allocated stars according customizable criteria that they can then use to redeem for real rewards, and they can see their progress towards the next reward from their user profile.
An example of a prizing feature that offers learners the opportunity to win is the ‘Spin-the-Wheel’ mechanic.
But learning doesn’t have to be all fun and games. Another way to add prizing to your employee training program is to award certificates at the completion of training.
Prizing usually contains some combination of badges, levels or other progress indicators, and this is great way to motivate employees to compete against themselves.
Prizing can be even more effective when combined with leaderboards, which can encourage healthy competition between employees and are often an integral feature of learning engagement in 2020.
EdApp’s leaderboard feature can combine seamlessly with the prizing mechanic to reward top performers with instant prizes. The prizing in Leaderboards also allows Account Managers to directly award prizes to learners.
The use of leaderboards in eLearning is not without controversy, with some researchers claiming their use could actually have a negative impact on learning outcomes.
For example, if the competitors were not of comparable ability, the less skilled competitors became less motivated as the task seemed unobtainable. Whereas, the highly skilled competitors found the activity too easy, eventually also making them less motivated.
So, it is very important to use Leaderboards correctly to increase learning engagement. But how do you do this?
Leaderboards typically function in two main ways:
- They rank individual success according to the meeting of certain performance criteria.
- The scores act as competitive indicators of progress that relate the player’s own performance to the performance of others
So, when you are setting up your LMS leaderboard to enhance learning engagement its best to ensure that the requirement for progressing up the leaderboard it tailored to the employee’s job.
To put it another way, placing someone 100th out of a possible 101 is unlikely to increase engagement in future training efforts nor make the employee feel proficient in whatever task was covered in the micro-learning.
So make sure you form targets for your employees and set specific, realistic and clear goals.
This ensures employees do not become disengaged due to not meeting criteria that are not tailored or matched to their specific job roles.
To effectively engage employees, introduce separate leaderboards for each department according to learning objectives.
The final learning engagement strategy we will look at is peer-learning.
Peer-learning can take several forms, with the common factor being that knowledge is shared not by an instructor or another authority figure, but by people on the same level teaching each other what they know.
In a workplace context, this simply means employees teaching one another.
Worldwide a huge 75% of all internet usage now originates from a mobile device. This creates new opportunities for peer-to-peer collaboration and social sharing within a training context.
Peer-learning in the workplace can be formal or informal. An example of formal peer-learning could be a discussion board set up for employees enrolled in a particular training course.
An example of informal peer-learning could be employees exchanging information about the same course informally via Facebook messenger.
The latter example also crosses over into ‘Social Learning’, which is a very similar concept to peer-learning, but may involve people outside of the immediate organization or department and is almost always informal. Social learning helps friends, colleagues, and others acquire knowledge on any topic and in any environment – via conversing casually with or through social media like Facebook or Twitter.
This type of peer-learning is low-pressure, creates great learning engagement, and is compatible with the types of interactions that younger employees are comfortable with such as Likes, Shares, and Reposts.
This is not to say that you have to design your whole training solution around Twitter or Facebook, but using a mobile-first approach that leverages familiar-looking technology and actions that your employees already use in the social lives is a great way to improve engagement.
By using these three creative strategies you can increase learner engagement with your micro-learning programs.
Whether you choose to implement prizing, leaderboards, peer learning, or even all three into your training strategy, you may be surprised at the return on investment.
As a final thought, the simple act of making it easier for your employees to share their knowledge may be all you need to foster greater learning engagement.