So, You Want to Use Microlearning?
3 Key Training Content Considerations for Microlearning
The trendy method of corporate training, microlearning, has earned its reputation by enabling employees through a quick, individualized approach. This training method allows trainees to learn information in small, digestible portions, also called “bite-sized learning.” The information is so concise that the learner can immediately learn a new skill and then put it into practice. It sounds simple enough, but it’s more than just chopping up a thirty-page manual into flashcards. Modules are enhanced by making the material interactive, through varying kinds of media. Though this approach can be ideal for our ever-shrinking attention spans, some content should simply be taught through other means. Microlearning loses its unique power if done incorrectly, leaving both trainers and trainees dissatisfied with the results. The trick is knowing when to use it. Here’s how.
Is Microlearning a Good Fit?
There are several factors to be aware of when considering whether to convert training content into microlearning. Be sure to evaluate the content before actually building the modules. If it just isn’t converting smoothly into a microlearning format, then try a different method.
Being able to break down the content into simple modules will indicate that microlearning is a good fit. Complex content probably won’t translate well into bite-sized chunks. This kind of information requires more time and attention to detail. Instead, complex content more likely calls for macrolearning (processing a lot of information at once to gain understanding). Content that requires extensive practice or repetition also falls under this category.
Once you’ve divided the content into easy-to-learn modules, organize each module into a narrative. The modules should be straightforward with a distinct beginning, middle, and end. This is usually achieved by guiding the learner through a step-by-step approach. Be sure that the user interface is also free of clutter. Learners should be able to navigate the courses easily, without having to figure out what to do next.
Interactive visuals (e.g., video, interactive PDFs, and VR) are the most effective method for presenting training content. Usually, a module will only contain one learning strategy, remaining consistent and concise. The same can be said of the transitions between the sections of the module. For example, these indicators are often in the form of an arrow or button – the less text, the better. At the conclusion of the module, it’s also helpful to direct the learner to the succeeding module.
Microlearning is convenient for most training because the format makes information easily accessible. It’s engaging for those of us with desk jobs, and its accessibility is also ideal for employees who travel often. Five-minute modules can be done waiting for the train or sitting in a taxi. Moreover, microlearning is mobile-friendly, taking the form of apps, ebooks, etc. The goal is to make microlearning available anywhere, so it should be reliable offline as well.
A successful module assesses the learner’s ability to absorb and practice the new skill. Quizzes and other testing methods perform this function. Just as the training content should be concise, the assessment should also be brief. Accurate testing of the learner’s understanding also depends on a high degree of authenticity. It can be difficult to find the balance between brevity and presenting the learner with a real-life application.
Microlearning can be applied to all kinds of content, and it’s a highly effective way to train employees. From compliance training to systems training, it can turn a bulk of information into easily digestible segments. Its’ simple navigation, accessibility, and individual-based assessments make it a convenient option for many employees. However, microlearning isn’t a “cure-all”. Complicated content that is mostly information-based or requires a lot of practice is likely better taught through other means. Start by assessing your content. Then, determine the best training method. The results will reflect your preparation.