We’re happy to have a guest blog today from Christopher Pappas, founder of The eLearning Industry’s Network, which is the largest online community of professionals involved in the eLearning Industry. Christopher holds an MBA and MEd (Learning Design) from BGSU. eLearning Blogger | EduTechpreneur | eLearning Analyst | Speaker | Social Media Addict
Modern online learners are busy folk. They don’t have time to sit through long lectures or comprehensive online training courses. They need targeted information… and they need it now. This is why microlearning is becoming increasingly popular. In this article, I’ll share 9 microlearning tips and tricks that every elearning pro should know to create memorable microlearning experiences.
One of the most common misconceptions about microlearning is that it’s all about the clock. In truth, this bite-sized approach involves extensive planning, organization and effective learning goal setting. Time may play its part, but chunking and content curation are also important considerations. In this article, I’ll highlights 9 microlearning tips and tricks to help you create memorable microlearning online training experiences.
- Stick with One Subject
Microlearning gives corporate learners the information they need quickly so that they can complete a task or solve a problem. Hence, each microlearning activity should focus on one subject and explore the important sub-topics or steps. You’ll create individual microlearning online training materials for each skill and process that’s involved. A brief tutorial might teach them the sales process, while a branching scenario builds their communication skills. It’s all about bite-size information that they can use in real world environments.
- Make It Multiplatform-Friendly
Many corporate learners use their mobile devices to access microlearning materials. In fact, that’s one of the key benefits of microlearning. Corporate learners have the power to gather information and build their skills on-the-go, even if they’re working on a tight schedule. Opt for a responsive design tool that allows you to create one master layout that adjusts, depending on the mobile device. For instance, a corporate learner accessing the online training content on their PC will get the same online training experience as someone using their smartphone. Mobile microlearning helps to increase learner engagement and participation by making the training more convenient. Thus, corporate learners get more out of the microlearning experience and retain more information.
- A Video’s Worth a Thousand Words
Online training videos are entertaining, informative and interactive. Instead of having to read a block of text, corporate learners have the ability to watch a video that distills the information. Thus, they can get the knowledge they need in a fraction of the time. Training videos also provide a visual representation of the topic or task. For example, rather than studying a bulleted list of the steps involved in a process, corporate learners can see them in action. As a result, they are able to model the behaviors and actions to improve their performance.
- Let Corporate Learners Take Care of Repetition
One of the most common microlearning mistakes is following the laws of repetition. In traditional online training courses, repetition helps to improve comprehension and knowledge retention. For example, highlighting the key takeaways two or three times throughout the course in case anyone missed them. However, microlearning is meant to be short and sweet. This means that corporate learners can repeat the microlearning activity or reread the content if they need to review it again.
- Back It Up with Links
There are times when your corporate learners need more information, but you don’t want to turn your microlearning into a full-length online training module. This is when links become valuable tools. Instead of trying to cram in facts, stats and ideas that won’t fit, incorporate links for external online resources. For instance, a hyperlink that redirects to a video or webinar you hosted last month. Another option is downloadable online training content that corporate learners can view offline, such as PDF tutorials or ebooks. Just make sure that you check your links from time to time to verify they’re still active and relevant.
- Aim for 5 Minutes or Less
Time is not the ONLY factor to consider, but it is one of the most important. Microlearning materials should be 5 minutes or less, if possible. However, there is a caveat to this. The content must also provide a complete picture of the topic, not just a fragment. You can’t leave your corporate learners on a cliffhanger and then ask them to start the next activity. Microlearning must serve as a learning micro-unit, meaning that it sustains its own learning objectives and can stand alone. If it doesn’t pass this litmus test, then you may need to rework the training.
- Create Microlearning Support Resources
Microlearning is a valuable support tool because corporate learners can quickly assimilate information during their “moment of need.” If they are on-the-job and struggling with a task, a micro tutorial or video can help them brush up on skills. It’s also ideal for product knowledge training. For example, create a 2- to 3-minute simulation or video that highlights the features and benefits of each product. This is yet another reason why creating multi-platform friendly online training content is a good idea. Corporate learners have the power to access targeted support resources from anywhere in the world, including the workplace.
- Compile an Online Microlearning Library
Gather all of your microlearning assets and create a clickable online library. Categorize all of the materials by topic, objective or department to make it even more convenient. Your online library can include podcasts, brief videos, infographics, simulations or serious games, just to name a few. The purpose is to centralize all of the content so that corporate learners can peruse activities when they have a free moment. It also serves as an amazing job support. Verify all of the links periodically and invite corporate learners to add their own links. The online library can even become a self-paced course, allowing corporate learners to pick-and-choose when and how they complete their online training program.
- Be Selective
The last tip I’ll leave you with is being selective about when to use microlearning. In some cases, bite-size isn’t always best. For example, complex ideas or tasks usually require more comprehensive online training courses. However, microlearning can still serve as a valuable support tool.
Elearning professionals should be well-informed about this bite-sized approach. Learn more about the ways microlearning can be incorporated into the learning lifecycle.