Are You Developing A Microlearning Strategy? Ask The Right Questions To Get The Right Direction
While creating a learning strategy, we have to take into consideration the very important aspect of ROI. Success of any training cannot be evident in anything else but the application of the acquired skill in a workplace; for this re-enforcements are imperative. To instill confidence in the learner as well as to provide a continued refresher of the skills acquired, we have to look for ways to provide support on a continued basis – whether our preferred way of learning delivery is through technology-aided learning or classroom/instructor-led training.
While classroom environment is definitely a strong platform to impart certain communication skills, especially the physical skills, a classroom-only approach has its own limitations – including low retention rates and lesser reach. On the other hand, eLearning has an enormous reach and can be utilized to deliver training to learners of varying profiles. However, retention of eLearning courses is also dependent on how well we are able to support and re-enforce the learning over time.
Microlearning is the process of learning in small and manageable nuggets. The information presented is focused and precise. Microlearning is a great way of providing continual re-enforcement for learning. It can also be a stand-alone learning strategy, where an entire curriculum is based on short-term learning activities, lesson plans, projects, and assignments that the learners can consume and complete with short bursts of learning.
With increased access to technology and media, modern learners are consuming microlearning throughout their day. Whether watching a YouTube video on how to work on a new software, reading a blog on best practices of organizational development, listening to a podcast of a recent webinar on time management or simply asking colleague for advice – we are learning in short instances.
In microlearning, the topic is broken down into smaller chunks of information. With the advent and immense popularity of mobile-based learning, learners can access this information whenever they need it or even on-the-go. Thus, in microlearning, lessons are short with no defined duration, and can be learned anytime, anywhere, at one’s own pace.
While developing a microlearning strategy, it is necessary to meet learning goals, align to the needs of the learners as well as the organization. So, while conducting Training Needs Analysis for microlearning, ask yourself 3 main questions and answer them to get the right direction.
1. What Is The Training Need And Does Microlearning Fulfill It?
Microlearning can be utilized in many ways. Some eLearning experts claim its efficacy as a support tool while others can vouch for its success as asole training delivery mechanism for their learners. It is best to ascertain training need and then align the strategy accordingly. If learners have shown success with an existing platform of learning delivery, then it is wise to include it in the learning strategy and re-enforce it with microlearning opportunity. This way learners do not feel uncomfortable with a new medium, and can take their time getting used to it.
2. Who Is My Audience And Will Microlearning Suit Their Learning Needs/Preferences?
Any kind of training has to align with the needs of the learners for them to be successful. The obvious question to ask when creating a microlearning strategy is whether learners have the necessary tools to access and consume learning in an uniform manner. For instance, when creating short learning nuggets, it is important to ascertain if the learners have video-players installed in their hand-held devices. Or when creating audio podcasts, it is important to make sure that learners have access to headphones to hear it without disturbing their colleagues or while travelling.
Another question to ask is whether learners have been exposed to microlearning instances before and how was the experience for them. Many times, most learners do not even realize it when they are consuming microlearning, so ask pertinent queries that will reveal how much the learners are inclined towards learning in short bursts.
Demographics of the learners also play a very important part in the success of a microlearning strategy. Ascertain the age, gender, and professional experience as well as the educational qualification of the learners to create microlearning that is best suited for them.
3. How Will Microlearning Be Best Delivered And Evaluated?
While microlearning is suited for most audiences and their learning preferences, it is best suited for learners who want to learn quickly and efficiently. The short bursts of learning are thus very appropriate for mobile platform, where learners can access them as per their need and learn efficiently. So, when creating a microlearning strategy, it is important to think about the best delivery options. Most learning experts would suggest a multi-delivery option as a way to go because it provides an option of learning on handheld devices while on the go as well on privacy of a cubicle while at the office desk.
To be able to track learning, microlearning can be delivered through the organizational Learning Management System (LMS). It is important to ascertain that the LMS supports mobile devices of the learners. Many modern Learning Management Systems are available as apps for all leading mobile platforms and this can be utilized for an effective microlearning delivery.
Online forums and discussion boards can also add value to microlearning by providing a platform for discussion and query resolution after learners have consumed the learning nuggets.
Microlearning is bite-sized learning created to cater to multiple learning needs - immediate learning requirements, learning re-enforcements, spaced learning and so on. Short and focused snippets of information is the key to avoid information overload and with the help of modern technologies such as, smartphones and tablets, microlearning can be an effective tool for learning anytime and anywhere.