4 Steps for designing an effective Microlearning program

According to a survey conducted by Grovo—a leading company in microlearning:

  • 74% of management training attendees agree that large volumes of information, as given in most management training seminars, are difficult to remember and apply
  • 92% of managers agree that they’d be more likely to use learned managerial skills if management training was presented in a more interesting way
  • 1 in 3 respondents say they hardly ever receive follow-up sessions to reinforce their management training

If, like us, you have first-hand experience of a similar kind of management training, then we are sure none of the above stats will come as a surprise to you. We are all aware that traditional training is phasing out (at least in certain domains). Learning and development (L&D), as we know it today, is undergoing massive changes and that’s where microlearning comes in.

Microlearning is the delivery of bite-sized training. It embodies adaptive learning by taking into consideration individuals’ training needs based on their current level of knowledge and expertise.

Microlearning courses can be produced in 300% less time and at 50% less cost than traditional learning. It also creates 50% more engagement.

Traditional principles of instructional design will not cut it any longer in the shifting landscape. So, we bring you the four steps you need to design an effective microlearning program, along with a list of tools you may want to explore to aid you in the process.

 

Identify the Problem

Why is this training important at this point in time?

Understand and establish the constraints around your organizational processes, technology, and participants’ psychology. This will help you stay focused throughout the design phase and will expedite your decision-making process. Microlearning is not necessarily the answer for every scenario. For example, it’s not appropriate for dealing with complex topics that require more immersive and deeper training methods. However, if your objectives range from reinforcement, induction, IT systems implementation, and security awareness, then microlearning is definitely the way to go!

 

Design the Program

At C2C-OD, we are big fans of accelerated learning and one of its leading principles is SAVI. This simply means that when designing a program you should think of all the learning types you may encounter that learners engage with best.

So, what does SAVI stand for?

S – Somatic

A – Auditory

V – Visual

I – Intellectual

Your microlearning module needs to engage all 4 learning types, at the same time. Just publishing a podcast or a PDF document will not have the desired effect. The best approach is to include audio, video, as well as text. Throw in some quizzes also to stimulate your intellectual learner.

Moreover, don’t try to cover too much in just one module. An individual piece of microlearning should ideally cover a single objective.

When designing the module, don’t forget to add in the fun factor. Gamify it! Reward people for proving their expertise over time and challenge them to move up leader-boards to be seen as champions or subject matter experts. Gamification is a great way to incentivize people to come back for more.

 

Get to the Point

According to ATD Research, the typical duration of an effective microlearning module is about 10 minutes. So, you can imagine, that every second is absolutely critical! There is nothing wrong with diving in directly into the topic. In fact, that’s a surefire way to keep your audience engaged, since that’s what they are expecting. Make the microlearning piece only as long or short as necessary. Ensure that only relevant information is included in training, and exclude extraneous details whenever possible.3

 

Measure the Effectiveness

Like every other learning intervention, it is important to measure the effectiveness of your microlearning course. Some of the questions you can ask to measure if the microlearning program is effective enough in achieving the desired results are:

  1. Was the training valuable and worth your time?
  2. Did you enjoy it?
  3. Was it interesting and engaging?
  4. Will this training improve your skills and enable you to perform your job/role more effectively?

These questions will help your business to assess the effectiveness of your microlearning program by measuring the results achieved.

Collecting direct feedback is often the most effective way to measure a training program’s success. Another alternative is to take a deep dive into the build-in analytics of the tools that you are using. It can help you understand how employees are progressing, how quickly they are completing each module, and how often they are logging into the system to access their online training. All of this data provides the opportunity to gauge the effectiveness of your training and customize it to meet the needs of your employees. For example, if you find that most of your employees are taking much longer to progress through a module than expected, you may want to assess its difficulty level to see whether it’s too challenging.4

Microlearning has the potential to boost learner motivation and increase training effectiveness—if combined with mobile technology.

There are several software companies out there that can help you author and create some great content. Here are a few, based on ease of use and industry reviews:

  1. Elucidat
  2. Articulate
  3. Lectora Inspire
  4. iSpring

Microlearning is indisputably the future of learning. It is all set to transform how we learn. Your role as an L&D professional is to help businesses understand this need and support employees to leverage the most effective microlearning tools and formats.

 

What are your thoughts and experiences on microlearning? Are there any resources you want to share on this subject?

We’re looking forward to an insightful conversation.

Endnotes:

  1. 2017 Digital Trends Report – Grovo
  2. FCS learning
  3. ATD Research Report
  4. eLearning Industry
  5. http://in.pcmag.com/
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