Microlearning is exploding in popularity in the L&D, education and company training industries and it’s no surprise why. Despite an annual, worldwide spend of $200bn, work-related training for adults struggles with effectiveness while its methodology hasn’t changed much since the turn of the Millennium. So, whether you want to implement a new, effective training system or augment your existing one, if you want to improve the learning outcomes of your L&D programs you’re going to need a microlearning strategy.
6 tips for implementing a microlearning strategy
• Mobile Learning
There are many types of microlearning, but by far the most important is mobile learning. It’s fair to expect your entire workforce to own a smartphone nowadays and the short, bite-sized microlessons fit perfectly with that platform. Workers’ attitudes towards their devices are considerably different to those of work-related computers (which are regarded as tools) which instantly means that mental barriers to new information are lowered.
The computing power and the large, colourful screens of mobile devices also mean that learning content can be vibrant, interactive and engaging which will inherently improve effectiveness. However, arguably the most important reasons to bind a microlearning strategy to mobile devices is that courseware can be distributed globally in an instant. On top of this, by using the cloud and dedicated mobile apps, you can centralise courses and ensure that what the learner is accessing is always up to date. You can also make use of push notifications to inform learners of new courses, prizes won or looming deadlines. Finally, the ability for learners to access lessons anywhere and at anytime – and then perform the training at their own pace – means that your strategy will better gain the attention of the learner and the knowledge transfer will be much more effective.
• Responsive design
Traditionally, responsive design means working well on mobile and not just on desktop screens. This is very much true for microlearning: any content that is compatible for mobile rather than mobile first can offer a poor user experience that distracts from learning. However, ‘mobile first’ should not mean ‘desktop last.’ Many workers will still perform microlearning on company desktops and laptops and so your strategy should account for this. Ensure that your microlearning operates well in a full-size browser and not just on a small, mobile screen.
Traditional eLearning courses can take weeks to create. The people who create them are also usually from other companies who create one-size-fits-all courseware for multiple corporations. This means that not all content within a course is relevant and training often represents general advice or is soft-skill related. Producing targeted, personalised lessons which teach learners how to perform specific tasks (or respect specific policies) within an organisation is much more effective. However, adding agility to a microlearning strategy by way of using a Learning Management System (LMS) with integrated, template-based authoring tool brings enormous benefits. Firstly, creating lessons simply requires you to upload existing knowledge, questions and answers to a template. This process takes minutes. You then just press send to distribute it around the world: you can author a course in the morning and distribute it in the afternoon.
Another key benefit to embracing agility is that courses can be simply updated. A great deal of eLearning courseware contains information and case studies that are out of date and, subsequently, hard to relate to. Updating them frequently involves contacting original authors (or companies) and hiring them to update the course – which is an expensive and time consuming process. By embracing an agile, microlearning strategy you can easily add highly-topical case studies that might have appeared on last night’s news.
• Interactivity and gamification
A great deal of eLearning courseware has an interactive nature that doesn’t stretch far beyond clicking A, B, C, D or Next. However, mobile-based microlearning can improve your learning strategy by way of transforming lessons into interactive experiences and even games. Learning is at its most effective when it doesn’t feel like learning and so embracing gamification, in particular, is a great way to improve engagement and effectiveness. This can be further enhanced through the offering of prizes (offering many small rewards such as coffee and food vouchers is more effective than the opportunity to win one large prize) and leaderboards. Leaderboards motivate high-performing learners (or groups of learners) to do well in addition to encouraging poor performers to do better. Implementing these features into a microlearning strategy will ensure that learners’ learning barriers are lowered and they’ll be thinking about training knowledge rather than the rigmarole of having to do training before getting back to their ‘real work.’
• Peer Learning
Nobody knows your business better than your existing employees. As such, it makes sense to leverage their expertise when training others. Microlearning is so quick and simple to produce that even an extreme Luddite can easily create a lesson detailing client preferences or the foibles of operating a particular machine (or at least they can with minimal assistance). By adding this to your microlearning strategy, you’ll also be demonstrating to the worker that they’re valued, which makes them feel more productive. Learners, meanwhile, will see a teacher they know, a context they can relate to and a task they’re familiar with: a perfect trifecta for learning.
Also known as distributed practice, spaced repetition is an incredibly effective form of embedding knowledge that is empowered by microlearning. It’s the process of repeating learning over increasing time periods until forgetting is eliminated and knowledge is retained in long-term memory. It’s impractical to repeat long eLearning courses but simple to repeat microlearning. However, your microlearning strategy can be boosted further through using a dedicated Spaced Repetition feature – one which remembers the answers a learner got wrong so that they be can focused on moving forward. It’s also important to use the correct spaced repetition interval schedule.
Want help implementing a training strategy?
EdApp specialises in microlearning and offers all of the above features. You can try its authoring tool for free (in perpetuity). If you don’t want to use the integrated LMS you can export to SCORM and use what you’ve created on your own system. If this sounds of interest, get in touch at email@example.com. You can try EdApp by signing up here.