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Two Good: Why Social Learning And Microlearning Make A Great Combination

July 19, 2016 | By Asha Pandey


EI Design Why Social Learning and Microlearning Make A Great Combination

In this article, I will provide insights on why it makes sense to use social learning and microlearning in conjunction. I will also outline how you can use them practically to double the impact on the learning in your organization.

Social Learning And Microlearning: A Great Combination

Let’s begin with a quick recap on the definitions of social learning and microlearning and then see why they are a powerful combination.

What Is Social Learning?

In simple terms, social learning is learning with and from others. You do that pretty much every day in some way or the other – when discussing a problem or challenge to a colleague or a friend, as part of a group discussion, when interacting with others in a conference, or when using online social media channels like Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and so on.

What Is Microlearning?

Microlearning is a short, focused learning nugget (often 3-5 mins long or shorter) that is designed to meet a specific learning outcome. You can use it to offer formal training, but it serves its purpose better when used in informal training (with a focus on performance gain).

Some of the aspects that make it a high-impact learning medium are its learner-centric nature, multi-device compatibility (smartphones/tablets/desktops/laptops), design and delivery in rich media formats, and flexibility to provide just-in-time training to enhance performance.

Microlearning nuggets can be easily accessed, quickly completed, and applied by the learners.

7 Reasons Why Social Learning And Microlearning Make A Great Combination

The world had become a global village long ago and the shrinking continues to happen – the number of businesses that thrive on effective coordination between teams operating from diverse geographic locations with a focus on faster turnaround times is only increasing. In these circumstances, there is ample scope to provide learning and training solutions by getting social learning and microlearning to tango.

Here are 7 compelling reasons why you should combine the power of social learning and microlearning and increase the learning impact in your organisation:

1.“Personal” Experience.

Both social learning and microlearning give the learners a “personal” experience as they do not take place in a typical formal learning environment.

2. Easily Accessible.

Both social learning and microlearning are accessible to users at the time of their need.

3. Bite-Sized Information.

People spend time on social media looking at smaller pieces of information (short posts, YouTube/other short videos, images, and so on). This is in line with the way the microlearning nuggets are designed.

4. Less Time Consuming.

They spend smaller amounts of time while on social media (often shuffling between logging into social media sites and carrying out other things). Hence, they are more attracted to shorter learning nuggets.

5. Multi-Device Compatibility.

People access social media on multiple devices and microlearning is a great fit for learning on-the-go.

6. Specific Focus.

Most social media posts and information pieces have a specific focus and so is the case with microlearning nuggets.

7. Flexibility To Incorporate Different Features.

Microlearning can be made more effective by including social learning features such as chat, comment, like, share, and so on.

How Can You Practically Leverage On The Combined Power Of Social Learning And Microlearning To Double The Impact On Learning?

Leverage On Microlearning

    1. Use microlearning for formal learning (through a series of micro-courses available to the learners as a defined learning path to foster learning in stackable bites).
    2. Make sure that the microlearning nuggets feature interesting formats (videos, interactive videos, animations, scenarios, etc.) that engage the learners and ensure the completion of the learning task.
    3. Interject learning aids (just-in-time job aids) that are available to learners within their work-flow and can help them solve a particular problem, address a specific learning need, or help them cross over a challenge. Essentially, these learning aids encourage the learners to quickly apply the learning on the job.

Add The Social Learning Aspect

    1. Encourage your learners to comment or rate your microlearning nuggets. You can even poll them on their efficacy.
    2. Have your learners talk about what they are learning, what caught their interest (or otherwise).
    3. You had been asking learners questions or “testing” their knowledge through assessments at the end of your formal training courses. It’s time you did the opposite. Get your learners to ask questions. Don’t bury them under the weight of “Retake the Course” to help them get clarity on what they need to know. Let them ask what they did not understand in the training and walk away wiser.
    4. Have them exchange stories on what worked, how they were able to use a certain microlearning nugget on the job.
    5. Encourage curation of learner-created microlearning assets.
    6. Provide forums to handle queries and provide support (on how the challenges were handled).

I hope this article gives you compelling reasons on why you must leverage on the combined power of social learning and microlearning. Use the power of microlearning with an extended twist of collaborative learning and generate a positive impact on your learning. If you have any questions, do contact me.

You can also refer to my previous articles:

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