“As an Instructional Designer, I Feel Learner Engagement Is a Big Deal And One Cannot Afford to Ignore It…”
Microlearning is an emerging instructional design strategy and has been a buzzword both in eLearning Industry and Learning & Development landscape. In this blog, we will dive deep into microlearning to find its characteristics.
Today’s millennial workforce is overwhelmed, distracted, stressed out and disengaged more than ever. And this younger generation wants to have a complete control over what they learn, how they learn and when they learn, provided the learning is completely relevant. Given their low attention spans and heavy distractions, long and boring content (aka information dump) makes no more sense in the present context. So it’s time to design eLearning with a more holistic learner-centered approach, and that’s what we call “Microlearning” (micro-learning or micro learning). It is an ideal eLearning solution for corporate learning environment that supports blended learning / mobile learning strategy / formal training.
What is Microlearning?
Microlearning is a learning strategy that involves bite-sized learning nuggets (small and focused segments) designed to meet a specific learning outcome. To put it simply, the learning content is chunked to reduce learner’s cognitive overload making it easy for learners to absorb and recall. And this results in better learning retention. On top of that, it is easily accessible via mobile devices providing just-in-time performance support.
Microlearning could be anything that provides a brief learning experience. For instance, it could be a mini eLearning module with a smaller chunk of learning content or a video tutorial or even a quiz or an infographic.
How Does an Effective Microlearning Course Look Like?
An effective microlearning course:
Provides deeper learning on a specific concept or a performance objective
Is bite-sized, effectively chunked and easily digestible
Designed for exact moment-of-need – Right information at right time
Ideal for extended performance support providing a better mobile learning experience
Focused on a single performance objective, concept or idea
Is usually 4 to 5 minutes in length, or shorter
Well, microlearning is going to be one of the hottest eLearning trends in 2017. Most of the organizations have already started implementing microlearning as part of their corporate learning culture.
Are your training strategies not meeting the current learning requirements? Are you unable to keep your modern learners engaged? Then it’s time you switch to microlearning for a more targeted learning and performance support. After all, training programs need not be boring and tedious. We, at Swift, help you devise better microlearning strategies that fit your learning culture whilst driving your learning and development programs with the better completion rates. This means a better eLearning return on investment (ROI) with better business results.
Today, several organizations are planning to convert their Instructor-Led Training (ILT) to online training (eLearning or mLearning). In this article, I highlight the top 10 benefits of converting your Instructor-Led Training to eLearning.
Converting Your Instructor-Led Training To eLearning: 10 Benefits
The triggers for conversion of ILT to eLearning or mLearning are many. The push is coming from learners on one end (who seek the flexibility of a self-paced eLearning training offers). Organizations see this as an option to reduce costs and reach out to a wider audience in a shorter time.
Before I outline the benefits of converting your ILT/Instructor-Led Training to eLearning, a word of caution – this exercise is not about conversion of the existing Powerpoint slides to an online format. Instead, you need to treat your existing source content as the baseline or raw content, and plan to go through all stages of eLearning development. One of the models used extensively in eLearning development is the ADDIE model, comprising the following 5 stages that you can use as you convert your ILT to eLearning:
I am highlighting this important perspective because without going through this rigor during the conversion of ILT to eLearning, you will not be able to see the required benefits.
Next, let me outline the top 10 benefits that you will see as you convert your ILT/Instructor-Led Training to eLearning. I have structured these benefits into two levels:
Benefits for organizations
Benefits for learners
Benefits For Organizations
Savings in cost. The most significant benefit that organizations see is cost saving. With a one-time investment on the conversion of ILT courses to eLearning, the online training can be used repeatedly. It helps organizations save on the recurring costs of travel. as well as on the instructor fees.
Scalability. The second significant benefit to organizations is the potential of scalability that the online training offers. Now, they can reach out to the entire audience (spread geographically) with one version and at the same time.
Unlike ILT, which heavily depends on the capability of each trainer, eLearning provides an identical and consistent message to all learners.
Leverage new and emerging trends.
With changing learner demographics (read that as inclusion of Millennials as a significant part of the global workforce) and the range of learning strategies that are available in online training, organizations are spoilt for choice. Along with the conversion plan of ILT courses to online, they can enhance its impact and eventual ROI by opting for current and trending approaches like:
mLearning or mobile learning.
Provide the online training in multi-device format (across desktops, laptops, tablets and smartphones).
Microlearning and learning paths.
A study conducted by Deloitte shows that an average employee can only dedicate 1% of their work week for training, which breaks down to 24 minutes in a typical 40-hour work week, or 4.8 minutes a day. You can overcome this challenge through Microlearning and using personalized learning paths to deliver exactly what the learner needs in the short amount of time they can spare for professional development.
Use gamification elements to pump up learner engagement levels among the modern learner demographic and to encourage them to keep coming back.
Supplement formal training with Performance Support Tools (Just-in-time learning aids) to push learning acquisition to application on the job.
Higher training efficiency.
Show that adoption of online training improves training efficiency. Not only do the learners go through more training material (as compared to ILT), this is done in a shorter time with much lesser disruption to their time on work.
Benefits For Learners
Providing flexibility to the learner.
eLearning is “learning on the go” and provides an anytime-anywhere access to the learners. This flexibility is the most significant benefit from the learner’s perspective.
Providing control to the learner.
By definition, the eLearning approach is learner-centric. The self-paced core of online training empowers the learners and gives them control to take the training at their preferred time, on the device of their choice, and at the pace they are most comfortable with. This is not all; online training is always available to them should they need to refer to it or go back to refresh.
Shorter seat time.
As you convert ILT to online, you would find that the run length of the eLearning programs is much shorter (typically the reduction can be 50% or, in some cases, even to 33%). As a result, learners are spending much lesser time to achieve the same learning outcome.
Extending the learner engagement.
Unlike ILT session engagement that normally ends with the conclusion of the facilitated session, with online training, you can continue to engage the learner. After the primary training is over, you can create learning paths to offer reinforcement/remediation and supplementary learning nuggets.
Higher retention of learning.
Several studies indicate the retention levels of eLearning-based training are significantly higher than those of ILT sessions. A study conducted by the Research Institute of America in 2014 showed that the retention rate was in the range of 25-60% for eLearning as opposed to a mere 8-10% for face-to-face training. This value-add directly impacts the ROI of training.
I hope this article provides the required insights on the 10 benefits of converting your ILT/Instructor-Led Training to eLearning. Do contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org if you have any queries.
Today, most organizations use eLearning as a significant part of their training delivery. As traditional eLearning moves towards mobile learning or mLearning and provides learners the flexibility to learn on the device of their choice (notably tablets and smartphones), the eLearning adoption is gaining further momentum. eLearning and mobile learning provide several benefits to organizations. However, the focus is now shifting to determining its impact and the Return On Investment or ROI of online training.
Measuring The ROI Of Online Training
In this article, I will begin with a quick summary of the benefits that eLearning offers, what ROI is, and how you can measure it. I will also outline the ROI methodology we use.
What Are The Advantages Of eLearning?
I am quoting extensively from my earlier article Return Of Investment (ROI): Are You In?. This article had originally appeared in CrossKnowledge’s Learning Wire Blog. It also outlines the measures to maximize the ROI.
Over the last two decades, most organizations have made investments in eLearning primarily for the following benefits:
Anytime, anywhere access (on demand availability).
Self-paced, interactive, and more engaging learning (learner perspective).
Less disruptive delivery (in contrast to ILT).
Cost-effective (particularly when reaching out to a large audience).
Consistency of message and easy updating of content.
Easy tracking of learner progress and completion (business perspective).
While the eLearning advantages are well accepted, increasingly organizations are seeking ways and means to determine its impact on learners as well as on business. Let’s see what Return Of Investment (ROI) is and how you can assess if your eLearning or online training initiatives are generating the required ROI.
What Is ROI?
ROI is the return on investment that an organization makes (ROI = Gain or Return/Cost). It can be determined through two factors namely the Investment made (or cost incurred) and Value/Gain accrued (or return).
A successful eLearning initiative should be able to demonstrate gains that are more than the investment.
How To Determine Costs And Assess Returns?
Costs are fairly easy to define and would normally include the cost of eLearning course development as well as associated costs of team members (including teams that are associated with the development process and Subject Matter Experts).
Typically, there would also be associated costs of the supporting delivery (Learning Management System, Administrative cost of managing the initiative, and other related infrastructure required for delivery).
Determining the “value” or “gain” is far more tricky. We nail this by looking at the gains for the organization as well as for the learners.
Let’s begin by re-looking at the gains most organizations seek when they adopt eLearning and see how many of these translate to reduction in costs and hence improvement in returns.
Less disruptive delivery.
This translates to man-days available now to the organization that would have been allocated to travel and training in the ILT mode.
Reduced travel costs.
These can be determined easily.
No associated costs for trainers.
These can be identified easily.
Next, let’s take a look at the gains that accrue on account of effective eLearning course designs:
Immersive and engaging learning translates to better assimilation. This in turn leads to proficiency gain and a tangible increase in productivity.
More learners across the organization can be trained in lesser time (while they get the flexibility to learn at their own pace).
Coupled with tracking, the eLearning initiatives can be scheduled and completed faster as compared to ILT sessions.
What ROI Methodology Can Be Used?
Most of us are familiar with Kirkpatrick’s model of evaluation. In today’s context, adding Phillips’ ROI calculation as the fifth level makes this framework even more useful and relevant. By using Level IV evaluation data, we can convert the results into monetary value. Then we can easily compare them against the cost of the eLearning program and determine the ROI.
To give you a sense of how it can be practically used, let me summarize the approaches we typically adopt:
Level 1:Reaction is measured by taking feedback from learners. We have used online surveys in the past but now we add features of “Like the course” and “Recommend the course” options within our eLearning course framework.
Level 2: Learning can be easily measured through scoring patterns in the end of course assessments.
Level 3: Behavioral changes are certainly more difficult to assess. We use a combination of techniques to assess how much of the newly acquired learning is being applied on the job. This could be measured through improvements in efficiency or doing the same task with a new approach.
Level 4: Business impact is generally measured through productivity gain, impact on quality measures through reduction in re-works, getting higher number of work assets first time right, and so on.
Level 5: ROI is normally calculated by converting the business impact gains (as shown in level 4) to a monetary value.
I hope this article was useful in understanding the ROI definition and more significantly, what ROI methodology will enable you to measure the ROI of online training. At EI Design, we do workshops that can enable you to adapt the standard ROI methodology to your organization. Do reach out to me if you need further details.
Neste tutorial, mostro como criar uma simulação de software como demonstração e treinamento, onde treinamento o aluno sempre terá de interagir para poder avançar para o próximo slide e gerar pontuações.
É uma atividade muito bacana, onde podemos coletar dados do aluno utilizando junto com SCORM em plataformas LMS.
Interactive videos can be used to create high-impact corporate training (for both formal training as well as for performance support). In this article, I showcase 5 killer examples of interactive videos for corporate training.
Interactive Videos For Corporate Training: How Is An Interactive Video Different From Traditional Training Videos?
Although using videos for training has been an established practice for several years, they fall short when the run lengths are long, as it gets difficult to retain the learner’s attention till the end. The passivity or lack of engagement becomes a drawback when cognition levels are higher and the learners are required to analyze and apply the learning.
This is exactly where interactive videos fit in.
Today’s technologies enable us to provide levels of engagement and interaction on videos that are typically part of any eLearning or mobile learning course.
As a result, we can leverage on the power of video and enhance the learning experience through a series of interactions that interactive videos provide.
What Are The Benefits Of Using Interactive Videos?
Besides providing a better learning experience through interactions, some of the other benefits of interactive videos are as follows:
High impact. You can enhance the impact of classic videos by up to 10X through interactive videos.
High learner engagement. Varied interactions and personalization will resonate better with your learners.
Meet the required cognition level. Interaction cues allow tremendous control to push cognition levels to analysis and application.
Appeal to varied learner profiles. Interactive videos are not intended for Millennials alone. In fact, they appeal to all learner profiles.
Enhance the impact of your mLearning or mobile learning solutions and leverage on the current trends. Today, interactive videos or learning experience.
How Can You Use Interactive Videos In Corporate Training?
When we look at the 70-20-10 model of learning, we see that usage of interactive videos maps to formal training as well as for Performance Support Tools. They can also be used to enhance your blended training delivery.
As formal training, they are a great fit for typical corporate training needs, including:
They find a great fit as Performance Support Tools (PSTs). By providing interactive video-based learning aids within the learner’s workflow, you will see the application of the formal learning increase.
This is not all. As you look at supplementing your Instructor Led Training (ILT) or Virtual Instructor Led Training (VILT) with online resources (moving to blended delivery), you can use interactive videos for role plays and reinforcement/simulations-based assessments.
In the examples that I have shortlisted to show how you can use interactive videos for corporate training, I have picked instances that map to these three ways to deploy them.
Before I move on to the 5 examples of interactive videos for corporate training, let me outline the key facets of an interactive video framework.
Highlights Of Our Interactive Video Framework
We at EI Design use a customizable interactive video framework to introduce interaction levels similar to the interactions that learners typically experience in a traditional eLearning or an mLearning course.
Unlike other online solutions offering interactive videos, our interactive framework:
Offers the flexibility of further customization based on the learning needs.
Offers multi-device compatibility: The videos work across multiple platforms such as Desktops, Tablets, and Smartphones (iOS and Android).
Enables you to include branching within a single video or multiple videos.
Allows inclusion of Gamification elements.
Provides room to include videos from online sources, like YouTube, Vimeo, etc.
Is compatible with AICC, SCORM 1.2, 2004, and TinCan. It can be hosted on LMS/LRS or can be run as a standalone piece on a web server.
Comes with SCORM-related features such as completion time, resume, and scoring in LMS/LRS.
Interaction points for learners: The framework is designed to break the monotony of the learning experience. This is reflected in the various interactivity types that the framework offers, which include:
Fill in the blanks.
Drag and drop.
5 Killer Examples Of Interactive Videos For Corporate Training – Created In Our Interactive Videos Framework
Here’s a short video that highlights the benefits of interactive videos with 5 examples on how they can be used to boost the impact of learning.
Example 1 – Application Simulation Video Made Interactive
This video showcases how we brought in engaging interactivities to an application simulation course of Microsoft Word application with the interactive video approach. The video (containing narration) features how to use Microsoft Word.
We’ve jazzed up the learning with interactivities such as click and learn, some review questions, and the summary of learning, which appear on the video as overlay popups.
Example 2 – Interactive Video For Compliance Training
This video nugget features high-impact, contextual imagery and recaps the basic aspects of a Health, Safety, and Compliance (HSE) compliance course. We brought in inline checks at the end of each feature explained in the video and created a trackable asset (the Interactive Video is SCORM compatible).
This solution is an example of how you can multiply the impact of your existing compliance-related videos and convert them into rich and interactive formats adhering to SCORM or AICC standards.
Example 3 – Interactive Video For Corporate Training On Managing Customer Expectations
This interactive video showcases how we have transformed a scenario-based video into an engaging, interactive experience.
The video is on Managing Customer Expectations, and while the story plays out in a logical flow, viewers get to pause the video at regular intervals and check their understanding of the concept along the way.
To keep the learners engaged, it includes review questions, click and display, hot spots, drag and drop, and other interactivities.
The scenarios in the video help learners relate to the subject and provide a realistic feel in terms of how they should treat customers and what they should do to meet customer expectations. The interactive video, being a short microlearning nugget, also helps learners learn the bite-sized way.
Example 4 – ILT Converted To Interactive Video
This interactive video solution showcases how we have converted an ILT session into an engaging learning experience.
In this video, we have an Instructor demonstrating the features and benefits of eBridge, our review and collaboration tool.
We’ve pepped up the learning journey with interactivities such as click and learn, info highlights, and drag and drop.
This solution is a classic example of how you can multiply the impact of your existing videos and convert the recordings of ILT sessions into a rich, interactive format.
Although the core is still the Instructor’s recording, the approach is now more learner-centric.
Example 5 – Training Video On Financial Subject Made Interactive
This video showcases how we have brought a relatively dry financial concept of Japanese Candlesticks to life with the interactive video approach.
The video features eye-catching visuals in the form of illustrations, icons, graphics, photographs, and animations with a voice over explaining the subject playing out in the background.
The interaction points in the video come in the form of options to take notes and voice controls to navigate through the video. Learners can either type in their notes or provide feedback by recording their voice.
Learners can also learn using the drop-down interactivity to choose the right options in a simulation designed exclusively to explain the concept of Japanese Candlestick charts.
I hope these 5 killer examples of interactive videos help you identify how you can use them for your corporate training. If you have any queries or need any specific support, do contact me at email@example.com.
Take a look at this video that showcases the key features of our interactive video framework. You can see the various interactivities that can be used to create an engaging learning experience.
Compliance courses are often driven by the corporate “compliance mandate” and tend to miss the ingredients for learners to relate to them, internalize the information, and apply it. As I see it, given the significance of the compliance mandate, there should be a higher focus on using approaches that appeal to the learners, impart learning that will stick, and finally ensure that this learning indeed gets applied at work.
Creating A Meaningful And Engaging Compliance Course
In this article, I will outline how we have made compliance courses meaningful to the learners, ensure the learning sticks, and increase the probability of this learning getting applied at work.
Why are compliance courses normally boring?
Compliance courses primarily revolve around dry concepts such as knowing a set of guidelines or dos and don’ts.
Although learners like taking courses that are user-friendly and easy to understand, they do not appreciate the traditional read-through/click-through information and quiz process, devoid of any ingredients to excite them. This impacts learnability and eventually results in lesser or no retention of learning.
Is it possible to integrate innovative learning strategies to compliance courses?
We have over a decade’s expertise in building compliance courses for various industries (most notably finance, healthcare, and insurance). Creation of immersive learning being our forte, we have infused life in compliance concepts, thereby providing scope for higher learner satisfaction and a better ROI for our customers.
We have adopted learning designs that provide an innovative, engaging, and learner-centric learning experience through:
Story based narratives.
What can be done to instill the spirit of “why comply” in the learners?
In this article, I will use a case study to illustrate how we have created an engaging learning experience that leverages the power of scenarios (with variations mapped to suit the compliance mandate).
Case Study (Introduction To The Code Of Conduct)
Rather than starting with the dos and don’ts of a typical compliance program, we used the creative Instructional Design approach to present the content to help learners realize why they need to comply and hence provide long-term gain to our customers.
We worked with our Subject Matter Expert and established the learning outcomes that learners need to achieve for the compliance mandate to be met.
How did we catch the learners’ attention?
In Introduction to the Code of Conduct, our course focused on:
The Code of Conduct and the reasons why it is created.
The application of the Code at work.
The situations when good conduct may be compromised or at risk.
How to choose the right path and avoid putting oneself and the company at risk.
How did we make this course more engaging?
The language and the examples used in this course are simple and easily understandable by all employees, whether it is a front-desk employee or a Senior Manager.
It is applicable to all industries, which means it is a generic Code of Conduct and not specific to any particular industry.
It does not cover all of the subjects in a typical Code so that they do not consider that they are now familiar with the Code and there is no need to read the actual document.
What was the essence of our learning strategy?
Our learning strategy was woven with a greater emphasis on scenarios, examples, exercises, and inline checks in interesting formats.
We used scenarios in two formats:
Quick check-point after a learning element is completed (recall/understand level cognition).
Application of the learning in a real-life situation through “Choose the Right Path” (analyze and be ready to use this learning at work).
We helped learners relate to these examples and scenarios and understand how to handle dilemma situations.
In addition, we provided tips and best practices and other useful information from domain experts.
Our purpose of turning acquisition of knowledge to application of knowledge was served with this apt mix of theory and application.
What more can be done to make compliance courses interesting and ensure that the learning gets applied?
Providing access on mobile devices (as well as desktops/laptops): The course is designed for mobile compatibility and runs seamlessly on PCs/laptops/tablets. This provides the required flexibility to the learner to access the course on a device of their choice.
Use Performance Support Tools (PSTS): In the next article, I will share a few examples on how you can complement or supplement Compliance through innovative value-adds, such as Performance Support Tools (PSTs). These are designed to help learners not just know about but also act in compliance on the job. This is one of our areas of expertise in terms of transforming acquisition of knowledge to application of the same.
Innovation and provision of that little “extra” is something we work on constantly. I hope this article was useful in providing pointers to create your own meaningful and engaging compliance course. If you have any queries, do contact me.
Blended training enables you to get the best of online training, yet not lose out on the impact of human interaction. In this article, I share tips and best practices that you can use to create highly effective blended training programs.
What Is The Blended Training Approach?
Put simply, blended training (or hybrid training) combines the usage of face-to-face, Instructor-Led Training (ILT) with online training (that is, eLearning or mLearning).
The blended training approach offers the best of both formats and you can “blend” them to create a high-impact corporate training.
Furthermore, it provides tremendous flexibility on how you can combine both ILT and online components in a manner that serves your learning mandate most effectively.
It is learner-centric and allows them a higher degree of control on how they can learn and at the pace they want to learn.
From an organization’s perspective, the blended training approach enables them to reach a wider audience in a shorter time. It also enables them to cut costs, yet provide a higher engagement and accessibility for the learners.
Are There Any Specific Models That Can Be Used To Determine How To Offer Blended Training?
While blended training has its significant advantages, a lot depends on the approach that you use to “blend” the face-to-face or ILT components with online training (eLearning or mLearning).
At EI Design, we have created three models that we use to determine how you should blend the two components. Our blended training design approaches would map to one of the following:
Model 1: Significant face-to-face, ILT training and a small component of online training.
Model 2: An even mix of face-to-face, ILT training and online training.
Model 3: Significant online learning with short and focused face-to-face, ILT training.
How Can You Determine What Degree Of Blending Would Be Most Effective?
As I see it, effective blending is both art and science.
Let me share some of the techniques we have been using. I share a Step-by-Step Toolkit that is particularly useful when you are looking at first-time conversion of an ILT program to a blended approach.
Step 1: Determine Why Blending Is Required
At this stage, you need to identify the triggers that are prompting the need to transform the training format and more significantly:
Are there any existing challenges in the existing delivery that must be offset in the new format?
What are the expected gains from the new format?
Step 2: Validate The Impact Of The New Approach (That Is, The Degree Of Blending)
Would the learners align to the new delivery format and get an enhanced value?
Would the program mandate be met?
Step 3: Identify The Required Technology Support
As you transition from face-to-face, ILT training to a varied degree of online training, you need to evaluate the options for delivery. This would include finalizing aspects like:
Virtual Platform to offer VILT.
LMS to offer online training.
Step 4: Review The Program Mandate And The Existing Content To Determine Its Suitability To Adapt To A Blended Delivery
Besides identifying the goals, the approach (the degree of blending), the technology, and the desired impact, you also need to do an effective mapping of classroom-based activities and exercises to online format.
Step 5: Assessment Strategy
You also assess the current Assessment strategy and how it should be adapted to a blended delivery.
Step 6: Once These Aspects Are Covered, You Are Ready To Go
Create the blended training program design.
Create an approach plan to implement it: Pilot, take feedback, and deploy.
Feedback and further improvement: After a suitable time, poll the learners and business units to determine its impact. Based on this feedback, determine if we need to recalibrate the previous blend.
Are There Any Best Practices That Can Be Used To Increase The Impact Of Blended Training?
There are several best practices that we have used successfully in creating effective blended training program designs. Here are a few best practices from our repository:
Before you begin:
Establish learner roles and responsibilities: As is true for a transition or transformation, there should be clarity on how learners and the organization would be able to leverage the blended training.
Provide clear instructions and communication for the program.
Create an effective support system for the learners as well as the corporate trainers.
Lay the foundation:
The blended training goals need to be identified in advance, and these should also reflect the intended gains expected from blended training. The goals should be SMART (that is, Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, and Time bound).
Start small, but factor for its scaling.
Identify the right project and identify the right team to manage.
Early success matters and provides crucial feedback to improve in future. Select a project that adapts more easily to a blended training model and can demonstrate clear gains. Have a dedicated team to monitor and manage.
Checkpoint for continuous improvement. Use the ongoing tracking and checkpointing to gather feedback for further improvement.
What Are The Tips That You Can Use To Create Highly Effective Blended Training Programs?
The impact of blended training program design can be enhanced by using the following tips:
Develop content in a manner that allows you to calibrate the mix of blending easily. This is vital for you to process the feedback and keep stepping up the impact of your blended training program.
Create learning activities that leverage on the power of both delivery formats. For instance, a role play (in a workshop) can be supplemented with online branching scenarios. This blending enables you to reinforce the learning and check how the learner is able to apply the primary learning in different contexts.
Use the online resources to support multiple mandates. You can use them to prep the learners before a workshop. You can also provide these as online reference materials that they can use post the workshop and on the job.
Tracking. The blended delivery facilitates keeping track of learner progress far more easily than ILT training. By the same token, it also enables you to share feedback with equal ease. Use these two aspects to keep the learners in sync with the learning mandate.
Assessment strategy. Online assessments provide you with an approach with which you can test and share feedback instantaneously. You can randomize the questions, have different set of questions for different profiles, and decide which ones should be formative/summative.
As I had mentioned earlier in this article, crafting the right blended training program design is both art and science. I hope the toolkit, the tips, and the best practices outlined here provide you the required ammunition to create highly effective blended training program designs. If you need any further assistance, do contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
While the concept of content chunking to create short training has been there for decades, microlearning is the flavor of the season and for several good reasons. This article addresses 15 questions on microlearning covering its definition, benefits, usage, impact, and why you should adopt it.
Why Adopt Microlearning? What Is The Relevance Of Microlearning Today And Why Is It The Flavor Of The Season?
We live in a world full of distractions and dwindling attention spans. Both these raise questions on how your learning strategy should be updated to offset these challenges. Let’s take a look at this and some of the related facets more closely to determine what approach would offset these.
Challenge 1: Limited Attention Spans
The proponents of the 90/20/8 rule have made interesting observations about human attention spans. According to them:
People are completely alert and attentive in the first 8 minutes.
Once 20 minutes go by, the attention level starts showing a dip.
Once they hit the 60-120 minute range, the alertness level completely drops.
Challenge 2: Dwindling Attention Spans
If the findings of a study by Microsoft are to be believed, the human attention span (8 seconds) is lesser than that of a goldfish (9 seconds).
Challenge 3: The Forgetting Curve
Then there’s the “Forgetting curve” too that postulates that we forget nearly 80% of what we learn in 30 days if there is no reinforcement.
These three challenges are very real and need to be addressed for learning to be sticky, easy to apply on the job, and show a demonstrable gain that businesses want to see.
Let us see how microlearning can come to your rescue:
To begin with, you can use microlearning to supplement your formal trainings. This way, you can ensure that the reinforcement provided in the form of Microlearning helps learners retain the learning you offered them through the formal training.
A key feature of Microlearning is that it is short and learners would usually finish going through a Microlearning nugget within a 3 to 5 minute window. This way, it helps you negate the impact of the “Forgetting Curve” and offset the attention span challenge.
Short trainings then translate into faster completions, thereby fetching you better completion rates. There’s plenty more to Microlearning and the series of questions and answers that follows will help unravel each of these aspects one after the other.
In this article, through a series of questions and answers, I show how microlearning can come to your rescue. The 15 questions are logically grouped as:
Application of microlearning.
Design and deployment of microlearning.
Impact of microlearning.
Part 1: Microlearning Basics
Q1. What is microlearning?
As the name suggests, microlearning is learning in micro bites. It is a short learning nugget that a learner would usually complete between 2 to 5 minutes to achieve a specific learning objective.
While microlearning nuggets can be used for both formal and informal learning, they are used more often for just-in-time learning purposes (as Performance Support Tools).
They offer multi-device compatibility and appeal to learners because of the rich media format usage.
Q2. What is not microlearning?
Microlearning is not just breaking down a 10-hour training into small pieces.
It’s an action-oriented approach of offering bite-sized learning that gets learners to learn, act, and practice.
The ideal way to go about creating microlearning nuggets is to identify the larger learning objective and then drill down at micro levels.
Q3. Microlearning sounds a lot like Just-In-Time learning of the past. What are the differences?
Just-In-Time learning is normally associated with the concept of Performance Support rendered through Performance Support Tools or PSTs.
They are typically designed to address a definite learner need or a specific problem.
They are normally not tracked by Learning Management Systems and are designed to support the formal training (tracked by LMSs).
They are almost always embedded in the learner’s work-flow. In other words, they are used for informal training. PSTs use microlearning-based formats.
Microlearning nuggets on the other hand are short training nuggets that address a specific learning outcome. They can be used to provide both formal training as well as Performance Support or informal training. They can also be used to support ILT/VILT sessions.
Q4. How micro can you go with microlearning?
The idea behind creating effective microlearning nuggets is to keep them as crisp as possible
while ensuring that they are long enough to adequately cover a learning objective.
While there’s no perfect length as such for microlearning, ideally they should be:
Easy to internalize. They should be short enough for learners to consume them easily in one go.
Available to learners precisely at the time of their need. The microlearning experience should be such that it helps learners on the job at the moment of their need.
Designed to enable learners to act and practice. The microlearning experience should be action-oriented and help learners practice what they’re learning.
Part 2: Microlearning Benefits
Q5. How does microlearning empower learners?
With microlearning, learners get a chance to apply their learning as they are doing their work. The transfer of information happens at a desired level and at the learners’ own pace. Besides, microlearning empowers learners in the following ways:
It provides them with the flexibility to learn on any device, whenever they want to.
It avoids them the hassles of logging in to a Learning Management System and then going about their learning.
It provides them access to the learning material within their workflow.
Q6. What are the benefits to the learners?
The key benefits of microlearning from the learners’ perspective are:
Learner-centric. Microlearning nuggets can be embedded in a learning path in a flexible way, letting learners choose what they want to learn and when on the device of their choice. They also help address the different learning styles and preferences that learners have and bring in an element of personalization in the learning.
Just-in-time. Microlearning nuggets make great Performance Support Tools (PSTs) to help learners apply the learning precisely at the moment of their need.
Accessible. With every passing day, learners are getting more access to mobile devices such as tablets and smartphones. Microlearning nuggets can be easily made available to learners on the device of their choice.
Rich media. Learners today are used to viewing pieces of information in various rich media formats. The flexibility microlearning offers in this regard helps meet learners’ expectations to have an engaging experience.
Less time consuming. Microlearning nuggets can be completed quickly. The learning as a result is more effective and beneficial for learners.
Q7. What are the benefits for business?
The key benefits of microlearning for the business are:
Affordable and agile. Organizations need not spend a bomb on microlearning nuggets. Studies reveal that organizations end up bringing down the development cost by 50% with microlearning at a development speed of +300%.
Shorter development cycle. As microlearning nuggets are short, it doesn’t take long to build them. This short development cycle results in lesser expenditure and a quicker turnaround time for organizations.
Easy to update. The short turnaround time factor comes into play in case of updates to be made to the nuggets as well. As they are short, it doesn’t take long to fix/update them, thereby providing organizations with an obvious advantage.
Wider application. You can use microlearning for both formal and informal training needs. They offer you the flexibility to use them as Performance Support Tools (PSTs), as standalone learning nuggets or as part of a series of courses. You can also offer them through an LMS or integrate them in the learning path of a learning portal.
High impact. As microlearning nuggets help achieve a specific learning objective, they help create a high impact as learners get to learn exactly what they needed.
Q8. Why is microlearning gaining momentum?
Some of the reasons why microlearning-based training is gaining momentum are:
Increased usage of mobile learning or mLearning.
You can develop and update microlearning nuggets quickly.
The flexibility to use them for both formal and informal training needs.
It results in higher completion rates and higher impact.
It is perfect for learners with low attention spans.
It finds takers in the millennial generation and other learner profiles.
Part 3: Application Of Microlearning
Q9. Is microlearning relevant only for the millennial workforce?
Microlearning nuggets are designed in a way that appeal to Millennials. However, their appeal extends beyond the millennial generation and they find takers in all learner profiles as they:
Save learners’ time and offer them the advantage of completing the learning quickly.
Offset the challenge of dwindling attention spans.
Can be taken on the device of learners’ choice.
Need not be taken through a Learning Management System.
Can be made available within the learners’ workflow.
Q10. How can you use microlearning in corporate training?
You can use microlearning for varied corporate training needs, including:
As a supplement to formal training.
To supplement/reinforce online and ILT trainings (pre and post).
As just-in-time learning aids.
Q11. When should you not use microlearning?
Microlearning may not work in a few situations where the training program at hand is too complex and where it makes more sense to present the training as a single larger learning unit.
Otherwise, microlearning can be applied to almost all training programs in the form of standalone nuggets or as a series of nuggets threaded in a learning path.
Their widest adoption continues to be as Performance Support Tools or PSTs (just-in-time leaning aids).
Part 4: Design And Deployment Of Microlearning
Q12. How should the microlearning be designed?
You can go about designing an effective microlearning experience by following the given steps:
Step 1: Create the “Master Learning Blueprint” for your course and define the learning goals.
Step 2: Craft the “learning path”. You need to then convert your master learning goal into a series of nuggets. As and when your learners complete each nugget, they would get one step closer to achieving the larger learning goals.
Step 3: Scheduling the learning path/learning journey. Get your learners to complete these milestones everyday or based on their convenient time. This way, you can help learners reinforce the learning and practice what they have learned along the way.
Q13. What are the formats in which microlearning can be deployed?
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 Ttblets and Ssmartphones). 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.
Interactive parallax based scrolling.
Kinetic text based animations.
Complex branching scenario based simulations.
eBooks and flipbooks.
iPDFs (interactive PDFs).
Part 5: Impact And What More Is Possible
Q14. Can microlearning impact the ROI?
Any learning strategy that can impact Recall, Retention, and Application will be able to demonstrate a positive impact on the ROI. As we have seen so far, microlearning approaches appeal to the learners, lead to high completion rates, and package information that can be applied precisely at the time of need. Designed to meet the mandates of knowledge acquisition, application, and behavioral change, microlearning-based training will establish a clear value for the business and ROI.
Let’s take a look at the impact on ROI that microlearning creates in the light of Kirkpatrick’s model of evaluation.
Microlearning impacts Levels 1 and 2 directly. As a derived gain, it would impact Levels 3 and 4, thereby resulting in a positive ROI on training.
Q15. What more is possible?
As I have shown earlier, you can opt for a variety of interesting formats (mapping to your content).
Additionally, you can enrich the microlearning experience by using it in conjunction with other approaches such as:
I hope this article answers your questions on microlearning and why it makes sense to adopt microlearning based training in your learning strategy. If you have any queries, do contact me at email@example.com.