4 Tips on Building Effective Microlearning

Microlearning, which means learning through easily digestible, short chunks of content, is quite popular. Organisations have taken up on microlearning for several reasons, including its benefits to both learners and trainers. However, many have also fallen short in delivering a real, effective microlearning experience rather than just the same old content divided into pieces.

Here are four things you should keep in mind when implementing microlearning to guarantee better learning results.

1. Effective microlearning chunks only contain a single, specific learning objective

Sounds obvious, but it’s more important than you think. When fighting for our learners’ attention, we a have to deliver clear and concise messages. The learning objective needs to be very specific. For instance, “learn to use a fire extinguisher” rather than “learn the basics of fire safety”. Or “learn the anti-money laundering compliance process for high net-worth individuals” rather than “learn the anti-money laundering requirements for compliance purposes”.

Being very specific with the learning objectives helps to build effective learning content. As your microlearning nugget should be consumable in 3-7 minutes, you don’t have time for long documents, let alone introductions required by broad topics. By doing this, we do not impose cognitive overload on our learners. They engage with the content and can move directly to application, while things are still fresh in memory.

2. Microlearning requires new types of content

Many organisations fail to build effective digital learning experiences because they think they can get away with wrapping the old toys in a new package. The same is true for microlearning. Organisations fail to deliver, because they still use documents, files, traditional files and presentations – text based content!

When we need to deliver content adequate to fulfil our learning objectives in just 3-7 minutes, the reality is that text just doesn’t do the job good enough. Rather, we need to use content elements that visualise the situations and relate them to our learners’ tasks. Video is a great alternative, and animations, especially, are well liked in the learning community. Other great mediums include simulations, quizzes and other interactive content.

3. Effective microlearning is searchable

As explained previously in why your learning should be bite-sized, microlearning is great because it caters to our on-demand learning needs. From learning retention’s point of view, it is very unlikely that a one-time learning activity is sustainable for the long-term. Learning needs to be continuous, and we as well require refreshments from time to time. This means, that the microlearning should always be available, but more importantly searchable. Rather than taking the time to go through several documents, our learners can access the material through a quick search. This searchability means that our learners, the employees, can stay on their jobs while doing the learning – with as little downtime as possible.

4. Application and evaluation must not be neglected

Finally, as we’ve parsed our content in a single-objective, multimedia and searchable format, we need to remember two things – application and evaluation. Unfortunately often neglected, these parts of any learning process tend to be the most vital. We should strive to provide exercises for learners to apply their knowledge immediately. We have a plethora of ways of doing that digitally, such as different interactive elements. If, however, digital means are impractical, we should encourage learner’s to learn when close to their job setting to enable instant application. No-one has become a great mathematician without solving the equations, nor a great writer without writing a lot. Applicable to just about any job, this illustrated our need for more of the ‘application’.

To add to that, we should not forget evaluation either. As learning providers, we need evaluation to stay up to date with the skills and capabilities of our employees. Our learners need the evaluation to monitor their own progress, and perhaps even motivate them forward. If evaluation, which means collecting the learning data, is not done properly, elearning has become a tick-box exercise. In that case, neither the learners or the trainers have any insight to if learning is happening. And at that point, learning becomes an expense rather than investment.

Are you struggling to build effective microlearning or interested in implementing but not sure where to start? Drop us a note and we’ll be happy to point you in the right direction.