Microlearning, using small bite-sized chunks of learning that are easy to access and quick to digest, is one important way to empower your employees.
In this blog, I’ll briefly summarise the top 10 tips for creating microlearning programmes that deliver the knowledge your employees need.
1. Know what you want to achieve
This is basic and applies to any learning programme in any format. Start by understanding the necessary knowledge area, your audience and your learning objectives.
2. Use bites
With microlearning, the whole point is to break the content down into multiple small digestible bites that are quick and easy to access. Define a single learning objective for each learning bite. This might be a piece of supporting information you want to communicate, a behaviour you want to affect or change, or an action you wish to prompt.
Remember: one microlearning module = one learning objective.
3. Link your bites
Treat your microlearning modules as part of an integrated curriculum or programme – this can be done in any modern learning management system (LMS). If you have broken down your overall topic area into a collection of small microlearning modules, make sure they are presented in a sensible sequence and, when combined, do still cover the whole topic with no inadvertent gaps. If your learning platform can manage and present the collection as a sequenced programme or curriculum, then so much the better.
4. Allow rapid individual access
One of the key benefits of microlearning is the ability to provide immediate, just-in-time training and support to people at the point of need. Make sure your learners can easily find and refer to microlearning modules when they want to. A mobile learning App can provide your learners with easy access to your microlearning conent.
5. Use multimedia and various content types
The combination of text and a picture can work well on microlearning, but make sure you get the typography and design right. For variety, use a mix of text, images, and videos and, if budget and time allows, include some simple interactions and animations – variety helps.
Remember: you are targeting people in different environments, so always provide a transcript or subtitles as an option to an audio narration.
6. Keep it short
If you have successfully narrowed the learning bite to one learning objective, then keeping it short shouldn’t be too hard. Focus is crucial. Try to keep the learning down to around two or three minutes – or your audience will lose interest.
7. Use quizzes and assessments
Quizzes and assessments are a good way to assess learner understanding, but they are also useful for prompting repetition and driving home learning points. If quizzes and assessments are done well, then learners will usually find them fun. Micro-assessments are useful to quickly evaluate learners’ knowledge and can be harnessed to survey worries, attitudes, confidence, and so on.
This is a basic, but very important technical point. Make sure your content is created to automatically support various screen sizes (desktop, tablet and smartphone) and orientation (landscape versus portrait).
9. Use spaced learning
Educators have long appreciated the value of spaced learning – the elongation of knowledge retention through the delivery of learning interventions over a period of time, rather than all in one session. If your learning platform is able, then space out the delivery of content, rather than dump it on the learner in one hit.
10. Don’t be afraid to use repetition
If a learning objective is particularly important, or you are not confident your audience has grasped it, repetition is a powerful way to increase knowledge retention around a specific item. You simply repeat the item, or better still, vary the form of delivery with a different piece of training.
Remember: microlearning is a lot easier to change, add to and update than a traditional 45-minute eLearning course.
People have been learning through what we now call ‘microlearning’ for all of human history – the point is to be able to translate this effectively into the digital equivalent, making sure that knowledge and understanding are communicated, received and retained. The technology makes this possible, but it still needs humans to make it work.