Microlearning holds a great deal of appeal in today’s fast paced corporate training world, where convenience in terms of time, ease of access, and precision of information, is of the utmost importance. It is particularly appealing to busy corporate learners, who can get essential and just-in-time information at their own convenient pace.
Both formal and informal training can be imparted through a microlearning strategy, though its usage is more common in informal training scenarios. In most cases, microlearning has a learner-centric approach as it provides need-based information in a short span of time. There is no overload of information, and knowledge retention is easier.
From the business perspective, microlearning is appealing because it is fast and affordable. Due to its short duration, microlearning costs less than traditional e-learning, and can be created, deployed and updated quickly.
But, creating effective microlearning is not an easy task. To be effective, small, relevant, and digestible information must be provided in an engaging package that closes immediate knowledge gaps. Here are eight tips for creating effective microlearning.
Know your learners. It is important to know and understand your target audience before you select a learning strategy. In today’s digital world, the attention span of learners is diminishing so effective microlearning needs to cut through the noise and drive engagement.
Identify a single precise learning objective. Learning objectives are the outcomes that your learners achieve at the end of each course. An effective microlearning storyboard should focus on only one objective per asset. This objective should be a behavior, which the learners are expected to attain or adopt at the end of the course.
Make sure the objective, identified in your microlearning, is attainable and results in behavioral change of the learners.
Apply the “Learning By Doing” mantra to your content: Content used in traditional e-learning courses cannot be used ‘as is’ in microlearning courses. Microlearning cannot be effective by simply adding interactivities and videos unless you fundamentally change the nature of the content.
Learners need to be able to apply training content to close their performance or knowledge gaps. To make this possible, you have to present your content in such a manner that learners can be involved in the learning process.
For example, a microlearning course on, ‘How to Fill an Appraisal Form’ will be effective only if the learners can actually practice filling out a form directly in the course.
Identify and focus on must-learn content. This is the golden rule for creating effective microlearning content. Ideally, a microlearning course is between five to seven minutes. Unlike traditional e-learning courses you do not have the option to gradually build-up your content. In microlearning, you have to be precise, providing a short introduction but then going straight to the main point.
To create effective microlearning, identify and differentiate between must-learn and learn-on-need content. Focus on must-learn content and then provide links to learn-on-need content so that learners can explore later in their free time.
For example, if the objective of your microlearning course is to teach the soft skill to communicate more effectively with your manager, you can create a short demonstrative video. The video might depict a subordinate and manager interacting, highlighting the key points that make their communication successful. This is your must-learn content that the learners need to understand and apply to close their knowledge gap and achieve behavioral change. At the end of the course you can provide links for additional information like reference articles, blogs, case studies etc. related to the topic. This is your learn-on-need content that the learners can explore later in their free time.
Use real world examples. Learners will learn the most if they can relate with the content. So use scenarios, real world examples, and experiences in your storyboards. Learners will be able to relate with those examples and be motivated by them. As a result, knowledge retention will be quicker.
However, do not put too much detail into your examples and do not add too many subplots. Keep it simple and short. Otherwise, the learner might become cognitively overloaded and the main objective of the course will be lost.
Encourage learners to develop their own stories. Effective microlearning needs to involve the learners from the start. They will learn and retain information only if they can relate to it and apply acquired knowledge in real life situations. Your course should invoke curiosity, raise anticipation and make them think.
Use videos, infographics, and demos. Incorporating different multimedia elements like videos, infographics, and demos is an effective way of ensuring knowledge retention and creating impactful microlearning.
Videos, images and graphics create a strong impression on the learner’s mind, while audio narration helps in retention of information. Provide video control to learners so that they can pause, rewind and play the video at their convenience.
Infographics create a powerful visual impact and help in visualizing and remembering information. Use engaging and visually appealing images to highlight key points of a topic that learners can quickly go through and keep in mind.
Interactive demos are also very effective for microlearning as they give the learners the opportunity to actively take part in the learning process. Simulations, interactive drag and drops, games, click and reveal etc., give the learners the scope to practice their attained knowledge and retain information. For interactive demos like ‘Test Me’ or ‘Drag and Drop’, you can provide immediate feedback to accentuate the process of knowledge retention.
Use active voice and conversation tone. Effective microlearning storyboards should always have active voice. Since the idea is to keep it clear, simple and focused, try to avoid narratives. The tone should be conversational as it helps the learners relate to it.
Microlearning is indeed the future of learning. Modern learners are hard pressed for time and their attention span is short. They want bite-sized information that is focused, and can be absorbed on the go, at any point of time, on any device. To achieve this desired result, microlearning must be efficient and engaging. The design has to be visually appealing and the content precise, leading to the rapid attainment of expected learning outcomes. However, it should be remembered that microlearning is not a substitute for traditional online training, but a complementary part of a blended learning program.