The L&D focus today is on engaging learning strategies that facilitate application of learning and can create a positive ROI. This article showcases 10 Microlearning formats that you can use (for both formal and informal training) to meet this mandate.
Microlearning refers to presenting learning in short nuggets (3-5 minutes long or even shorter) with a specific focus and to meet a specific learning outcome. Although it can be used for formal training, it is used more extensively in informal training to bring about performance gain.
Microlearning is learner-centric and is deisgned as a just-in-time learning piece, usually in rich media formats and is compatible with multiple devices (including desktops, laptops, tablets, and smartphones).
Microlearning nuggets offer a higher value when they are packaged as Performance Support Tools (PSTs), helping learners just when they are in need.
The fact that learners can access them on the device of their choice at the time of their need makes them ideal to bring about application of learning on the job.
We don’t remember things we learnt a month ago and that’s exactly what this “Forgetting Curve” diagram (by Hermann Ebbinghaus) illustrates – we forget 80% of what we learned in 30 days.
You can use microlearning in a learning path to offset this “Forgetting curve” and gain in several ways. You can use them to offer training as:
First and foremost, you can leverage on microlearning to provide reinforcement (post primary or formal training). This goes a long way in ensuring that your formal training is not forgotten but the acquired learning indeed moves to learners’ long term memory.
Unlike traditional eLearning, microlearning nuggets are usually designed to last between 3-5 minutes, which is perfect in terms of the human attention span and the working memory capacity of the human brain. The short duration of learning coupled with engaging approaches can go a long way in flipping the “Forgetting Curve” to a “Retention Curve”.
You will also see improvement in completion rates as you start using microlearning-based delivery. Breaking down the leraning into shorter bites shows the number of takers for it shoots up. Results from a survey reveal that of the 385 employees, over 50% of them expressed their willingness to use their company’s learning program if the courses are shorter.
On account of all these factors, microlearning is an approach that is here to stay. Let’s see what other benefits you will see as you adopt it.
There are several benefits of microlearning . Let’s take a look at these from both learner as well as business perspectives.
Microlearning addresses the challenge of short attention spans very effectively and helps you maximize the impact through short focused learning nuggets.
There is an interesting 90/20/8 rule, according to which:
This very succinctly summarizes why it makes business sense to adopt microlearning based training.
Other reasons that are helping microlearning based training gain momentum are:
Microlearning-based trainings certainly find a natural alignment to your millennial workforce. However, they are not limited to millennials alone.
As we know, irrespective of the age-group or learning preferences, we keep coming across challenges like “I want to learn but where is the time?”
We are equally aware of the dwindling attention spans that is applicable to all age groups.
All learners today seek is flexibility in learning, that is, on the device of their choice and when they want to learn. More so, they will not sign in to the Learning Management System to find the learning piece. They want it to be available within their workflow, on the device they access most (read smartphones).
On account of all these compelling factors, your strategy to use microlearning based training will resonate with all your learner profiles and not just millennials.
Today, you can take a pick from several engaging and innovative formats. All of these are multi-device formats (supported on desktops/laptops as well as tablets and smartphones). You can pick a particular format based on the nature of content and how it should be applied.
At EI Design, we use most of the popular formats shown here to create engaging microlearning nuggets for formal learning, Performance Support, as well as to supplement ILT sessions.
Take a look at this video to see how we have used each of these formats to offer microlearning.
Microlearning can be used very effectively to create sticky learning experiences for pretty much most of your corporate training needs. However, there are certain aspects that should be on your checklist to determine if a given training is apt for microlearning-based delivery.
You can refer to my article Is microlearning right for you? to take a look at a checklist that you can use to determine if your training would map to a microlearning format or not.
I hope this article provides the required insights on why you should integrate microlearning based training in your learning strategy. The gains that accrue are Learning and Development teams’ dream list ranging from high completion rates to sticky learning that gets applied on the job and finally triggering the required behavioral change. All of these lead to the ROI that can now demonstrate the required vale for business. Do contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org if you need any specific support in using microlearning .
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