Captivate’s Struikelblokken

Sorry, this is the first time I post a blog in my mother tongue, Dutch! If you are curious, use a translator


Slechts heel sporadisch verschijnt een vraag in het Nederlands in dit portaal, alhoewel het bedoeld is voor ALLE Captivate gebruikers. Engels domineert, zoals jullie wel weten, niet enkel de IT-wereld. Ik wil jullie echter allemaal welkom heten, aarzel niet om een vraag in het Nederlands te stellen, ik verzeker je dat je prompt antwoord krijgt als het in mijn mogelijkheden ligt. En je zal wel zien dat ik heel regelmatig het portaal bezoek.


Captivate is een eLearning instrument met ontzettend veel mogelijkheden. Dat is wat overdonderend als je er kennis mee maakt. Hoe start je? Daar is heel veel over geschreven, elke trainer en gebruiker heeft daar wel zijn eigen idee over. Als trainer voor heel wat informaticatoepassingen gedurende een kwart eeuw, heb ik ook mijn eigen idee over dat onderwerp. Wat specifiek Captivate betreft is dat idee ook voortgevloeid uit contacten met gebruikers op de Adobe forums (waar ik moderator ben) en klanten (ben niet enkel trainer maar ook consultant). Eerlang gaat mijn website online (momenteel is enkel mijn blog op het web ), waar je hier meer zal kunnen over lezen, ook in het Nederlands. Maar dit is één van mijn belangrijkste aandachtspunten:

Stap-voor-stap handleidingen helpen maar zijn minder belangrijk dan het verwerven van inzicht. Enkel inzicht laat toe om het geleerde te transfereren naar nieuwe situaties.

De drie belangrijkste struikelblokken, zijn net die onderwerpen waarvoor je inzicht dient te verwerven. Ik heb er al een artikel aan gewijd in het Engels, maar er mogen geen links meer gepost worden in een blog post. Zoek maar even naar ‘Skills for Newbies’.

Jullie krijgen echter de primeur: een interactieve gepubliceerde Captivate presentatie, die ik gebruik bij elke basistraining in het Nederlands. Niet enkel als presentatie, het is het project dat de cursisten zullen realiseren gedurende die training. Voor een geavanceerde training wordt dit tevens de ‘toets’ die de cursisten dienen te realiseren om hun verworven basisvaardigheden aan te tonen. Presentatie heeft een aangepast Thema, een Quiz, en een grondige kennis van de Tijdlijn (Timeline)  is vereist. Dat zijn de drie fameuze struikelblokken:

Interactieve Presentatie


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Atrasando o próximo código em segundos.

Como está você, espero que bem!

Dando sequência a Ações Avançadas no Captivate 2017, vou apresentar um código que atrasa em segundos a próxima ação.

Imagine que você deseja criar uma balão e deseja que o mesmo fique por um determinado tempo na tela, uns 15 segundos para que haja tempo de leitura.

Para isso, adicionamos uma Ação Avançada chamada de Atrasar Próximas acoes em: e você entra com uma literal com o valor desejado, vejamos na imagem a seguir:

A Ação que adicionei, fará com que, o slide demore 10 segundo antes de continuar.

Você poderá atribuir essa ação para diversos Comandos, diversas tipos de ações. É uma Ação bem interessante para leitura do slide, apresentação de uma imagem, Gamificações entre outros.

Abraços e até o próximo tutorial.

Fabio Oliveira – Fojool

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International Yoga Day

Many nations have started celebrating June 21st as the International Yoga Day. Most of us identify Yoga with fitness today, even though Yoga refers to a group of physical, mental and spiritual practices or disciplines. In particular, Surya Namaskar (literally, “Sun Salutation”) is a specific practice that incorporates a sequence of gracefully linked asanas (poses); and is a popular exercise.

In tune with the spirit of this day, I am happy to present before you a Captivate project I made for this occasion. Since Surya Namaskar is typically the exercise with which you start your day, I would like to introduce this as the “Hello World” version of my first project. My aim is to explore various features of Captivate as I develop this project with your feedback. Through the coming weeks, I will share refined versions of this project, as it evolves. Each time, I intend to focus on one or two key features of Captivate which I used in that version. Given the vast expertise of the members in this community, I hope to spur discussions and conversations around the features, how they have been employed in this design, better ways to do it, tips and tricks, etc. Hoping to see the experts in this community weighing in with their experiences and suggestions.

Here is the file – InternationalYogaDay

Here is the HTML5 preview – Play

In this article, my focus is on “responsive learning” and “text to speech”

With the rapid rise in usage of mobile devices, it is becoming important to allow learners to learn, anywhere, anytime. In general, responsive design can be a bit overwhelming for anyone who is new to design. Luckily, Captivate makes it easy even for a newbie to build responsive content with its Fluid Box feature. If you have not tried “Fluid Box” feature, check out below blogs Feel free to “experiment” with this project and try out other layouts and let me know what you think.

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Responsive eLearning with Captivate 2017 – Part 3: Adding Fluid Boxes

In the first and second part of this blog-series on responsive eLearning with Captivate 2017, we learned how to create a new responsive project and rescale the maximum width and height of the responsive project.

Now let’s learn how to add Fluid Boxes to the responsive project which will help you quickly and easily format slides; and adjust the layouts to fit the content needs.

Fluid Boxes are intelligent containers in responsive projects. They can either be added to the slides or can be inherited from the master slides. Objects placed in Fluid Boxes are automatically aligned so that learners always get fully responsive experience regardless of their device or browser.

Watch this step-by-step tutorial to learn how to add, select, rename, and resize Fluid Boxes in Captivate 2017:

In the next part, we will learn how to add different objects to Fluid Boxes in Captivate 2017.

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Pausing Timeline and Audio clips


I have been writing quite a few posts about the Timeline, and maybe you also viewed the interactive presentation for which I posted  a link in this article. At that moment it was not possible to include a published Captivate file in a blog post here, as I could in my personal blog. This feature is now available, and I wanted to try it out with another interactive movie. You are welcome to play with it, it is rescalable HTML output. Give feedback to the portal developers (maybe also to me?).

Audio types

The way different types of audio react to an absolute Pause of the timeline, and to a Pausing point (slide related or related to an interactive object) is probably the most difficult to understand. Audio can be played in Captivate in 4 ways:

  1. Background audio: is the most insenstive to pausing. It can only be paused by the Pause button on a default playbar. It cannot be paused by a custom Pause button or the command Pause, and also never by a pausing point. The project in the movie has no background audio (find it distracting for most eLearning courses).
  2. Slide audio: is synchronized with the slide timeline (which is the reason why the CC feature only works for slide audio). It will be paused by an absolute Pause, possible with the Pause command, the Pause button on the playbar or a custom Pause button. However the situation is totally different for a Pausing point. It is not paused by default by the pausing point of an interactive object, but can be paused by checking the option ‘Stop Slide Audio’ in the Options tab. However pausing points linked to slides (question slide, score slide, D&D slide) or interactive learning interactions (like the games) will never stop slide audio.
  3. Object audio: is audio attached to an object. It can be paused by an absolute Pause, but there is no way to do this with any Pausing Point. These three types of audio can be managed in the Audio Management dialog box as you’ll see at the end of the movie.
  4. The most recent way to play Audio is using the Play Audio command as standalone (simple) action or in an advanced/shared action. This type of audio can NOT be paused at all, not by an absolute Pause, not by a Pausing point. It can only be paused by the command Stop Triggered Audio. Contrary to what most users think, you don’t need to launch that command to allow playing another audio clip with Play Audio. When a new clip is launched, the first one will be stopped automatically.

Interactive movie


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eLearning Community – June Update

Thanks for all your feedback on last release –

For this release, we have introduced a new feature along with few workflow improvements based on your feedback. We look forward to seeing your feedback.

What’s New – 

Introducing HTML5 Previews of Captivate projects

You can now upload the zipped output of your Captivate project that contains the HTML5 file.

How do I create a zipped file of my HTML5 project in Captivate?

  • On the Captivate button bar, click Publish > Publish to Computer.
  • On the dialog-box that appears, choose the option Zip Files.
  • Choose the output format as HTML5.
  • To create the zip file of the project, click Publish.
  • Navigate to the directory of the published project and upload the zip file.

Once you upload the zipped file and submit your blog, you can see the play button in your post.

Click the Play button to launch the preview. The newly created post now contains the preview of the uploaded project. Similarly, you can create other blogs with HTML5 previews and build a portfolio, which you can then share with others.

Use this platform to create a compelling online presence to showcase your work.

Search enhancements

On the search results page, you can now further fine-tune the search by choosing one of the following options to sort the search results:

  • Newest First
  • By Relevance
  • Oldest First

We have also improved the performance of the search.

Get started

Whether you’re a rookie or a seasoned eLearning professional, now is as good as time as any to refresh your Captivate skills. The Get started section contains procedural-based articles to get you up and running with Captivate in no time. Download the sample files and walk along the way.

We hope to shorten your learning curve with the series of Get started blogs and we will update this section frequently to add more instructional content.

Miscellaneous fixes

  • You can now edit your comments after posting one, anytime.
  • There is a new section called Recent articles.
  • You can submit bugs or request for a product feature/enhancement from your profile drop-down list.

Please continue to share your feedback for this release & thoughts on how to improve this platform. Thank you!

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How to quickly and easily create a basic eLearning module using PowerPoint & Adobe Captivate 2017

While I generally don’t recommend it, very often eLearning developers are called upon to create simple course modules very, very quickly. Often the basis for such courses is a Microsoft PowerPoint file. Captivate can import PowerPoint files on Windows machines, and Captivate 2017 makes it easy to create multi-state buttons to handle the course navigation.

The easiest way would simply be to leave the PowerPoint import settings alone, and let your learners click through the deck. But what if you don’t want to use a playbar, or you have reasons for adjusting the navigation? Captivate makes that really simple too.  In the below video I walk you through the entire process of adding custom navigation buttons to a basic PowerPoint module. Along the way I provide some time saving shortcuts, including how to create an object style to use across multiple buttons, and how to use a Master Slide to add navigation controls to many slides at the same time.

Step 1: Create a project from PowerPoint

Create from PowerPoint button

Just Click on the large ‘From PowerPoint” button on the Captivate launch screen.  You’ll be asked to select a PowerPoint file. It can be either a *.pptx file, or the older *.ppt format.  Once you have confirmed the file to import, Captivate will open an import preferences dialog like the one below.  By default, Captivate will add an interactive click box to allow mouse clicks to move the project forward one slide at a time. In this case we are going to create our own navigation, so you’ll want to change that setting to Automatic advancement.

PowerPoint Import dIalog for Adobe Captivate 2017

Step 2: Create a new master slide.

Select Window: Master Slide View to move to a master slide editing mode. Select the blank slide from the list of master slides on the left. Right click the blank slide, and select duplicate slide. In the property inspector on the right, change the name of the newly created slide to ‘Navigation.’

Step 3: Adding universal Navigation Controls

You will be able to add elements to the slide that will appear on the top of any slide that uses the new master as a template.  The best way to make a button in Captivate is to use a smart shape, and enable the ‘use as button feature.’ To do so, select the shape tool from the large button bar. Now select a shape that you find appropriate for a next button. I like the right pointing chevron shape.

Step 4: Format your shape & Make it a button.

Select the shape you drew on the screen. In the property inspector, check the ‘Use as button box.’ This will convert the shape into a multi-state button. You’ll see a new ‘Actions’ tab appear in the property inspector. From the actions tab, select the ‘On Success’ drop down. Ensure that the action is set to go to next slide for the ‘Next’ button.

Step 5: Modify the style of the shape in each state.

Go back to the style tab in the property inspector and select the fill color you prefer for the default appearance of the shape. You can also add text at this point by double clicking inside the shape, and then typing your label. At the top of the property inspector you will find an object state drop down menu. Captivate will automatically add three states to buttons on master slides. (Default, Hover, & Down) Select the Hover state, and then change the color formatting of the shape in it’s hover state. Then change the state of the object to Down, and alter the color of the down state to meet your needs.

Step 6: Create a new style, based on the customization that you made to the shape.

You can save all of the elements of a shape’s style – from format, to fill color, line color and font size. To do this, select the tiny little menu button just above and to the right of the style menu. Select the ‘Create New Style’ option from the menu, and give the new style a name like ‘myCoolButton.’

Step 7:  Create a back button

Repeat the process in steps 3, 4 and 5, changing the button success action to ‘go to previous’ slide for the back button. Change the text to ‘Back’ and change the direction of the back arrow to point to the left. You can use your ‘myCoolButton’ style now in the style menu to instantly update all of the style elements in the new button.

Step 8:  Switch the master slide for slides 2 – 17 to ‘Navigation.’

Close the master slide view by clicking the x button on the right side of the big button bar. Shift select slides 2-17 using the thumbnail icons on the left hand side. In the property inspector on the right, select the ‘Master Slide’ icon. Find the ‘Navigation’ master in the list, and select it. Your navigation buttons should immediately appear on each of the slides selected.

Step 9: Copy / Paste the single buttons on the start and end slide

While you won’t want to put a back button on the first slide or a next button on the last slide, you can easily copy and paste these buttons one at a time from the slide master.  Just go to the master slide view. Select the button that you want to copy, and CRTL + C to copy the button. Close the Master slide, and then go to the slide where you want to add the button.  Use CTRL + V to paste a copy of the button.

Step 10: Disable the playbar and border in the Skins

Under Window; Select Skins. You will see a preview of the project you are creating, with any Table of contents, borders or skins visible. In this project we don’t want to use the playbar, but it is enabled in Captivate by default. In the settings menu on the left, deselect the ‘Show Playbar’ option. Then select the tiny border icon, and deselect the ‘Show Borders’ option.

Step 11: Publish your project

Press the Publish button at the top on the big button bar. Then select Publish to Computer button. Complete the dialog, and press publish. You will be offered a chance to preview your project from here.

I’ve attached a sample of the output from this project in the zip file as well. Play

How do you expedite creation of PowerPoint based projects? Do you have tips to ease the process?

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8 Examples Of Video-Based Learning For Corporate Training

The usage of videos for learning is an established practice. It is seeing an acceleration in adoption on account of the wider usage of Mobile Learning and Microlearning. In this article, I share 8 examples on how you can use video based learning.

Video-Based Learning For Corporate Training

We all are aware of the popularity of videos. Let me highlight their impact through some statistics:

  • There are 22 billion daily video views: Snapchat (10 billion), Facebook (8 billion), and YouTube (4 billion).
  • By the end of 2018, 75% of workers at large organizations will have interacted with various kinds of video more than 3 times daily (Gartner Research).
  • 59% of senior executives agree that if both text and video are available on the same topic on the same page, they prefer watching a video (Digital Information World).
  • Viewers retain 95% of a message when they watch it in a video, compared to 10% when reading it in a text (WireBuzz).

What Is Driving The Wider Usage Of Video Based Learning?

It comes as no surprise that the usage of videos for online training (or video-based learning) is on an increase too. Videos are a high-impact medium, and an extension of video-based learning creates an engaging learning experience with high recall and retention. This is why they are a popular choice for learners of all profiles (including Millennials).

The usage of video-based learning has seen further acceleration in the last 2–3 years on account of:

  • Wider usage of mobile learning
    Today, this is an integral part of online training delivery for most organizations globally. In fact, it is steadily moving to a situation of ‘mobile first’ (that is, the training is consumed predominantly on smartphones) from the more prevalent format of ‘mobile friendly’ (that is, the training is expected to be consumed across devices that include desktops, laptops, tablets as well as smartphones). With this, the learners want to see online training in formats they normally view on their smartphones—notably, videos and apps.
  • Increased usage of microlearning-based training
    From providing support to formal training a couple of years ago, a microlearning-based approach is widely used today for both formal and informal training. It can be offered in various high-impact and engaging formats, and videos are a significant component. Learners love bite-sized videos that they can take on the go.

Are There Any Challenges Associated With Video-Based Learning, And How Can They Be Offset?

While video-based learning is an extremely effective approach to offer formal training as well as performance support intervention, the passivity of videos can sometimes limit the learning takeaways.

You are likely to face this challenge:

  • When run length of the video is long.
  • When you expect a higher level of cognition (beyond recall or understand to apply).

This, in turn, can impact the ROI of the training.

However, this can be offset by the use of interactive videos that flip the passivity of classic videos to highly interactive and enable you to:

  • Interject videos with interactions similar to eLearning (Hot spots, click to reveal and so on).
  • Checkpoint the learner progress and learning through quizzes and assessments.

This is not all. You can have learning paths that have branching based on the learner’s choices. Unlike videos, the interactive videos can be tracked by an LMS.

8 Examples

At EI Design, we have a large practice that offers diverse formats for video based learning. We also have our own framework of interactive videos that can be customized for any specific requirement.

I pick 8 examples from our repository. They reflect diverse design approaches that you can pick from and also use the video-based learning formats for formal training or as performance support intervention.

1. Animated Videos Featuring Infographics And Text

This well-known video format uses a combination of animated visuals (infographics) and text. This versatile approach can be used to create a variety of learning experiences.

Animated Videos Featuring Infographics and Text
Animated Videos Featuring Infographics and Text-1

2. Scenarios Or Story-Based Videos Featuring People

This video format uses high-impact contextual imagery (of people, in situations that learners can easily relate to) with a narrative or story.

Scenarios or Story-based Videos Featuring People-1
Scenarios or Story-based Videos Featuring People-2

3. Explainer Videos Featuring Experts

Learners are enthusiastic about expert advice and guidance. This video format makes them available to learners exactly when they need learning support.

Explainer Videos Featuring Experts-1
Explainer Videos Featuring Experts-2

4. Explainer Videos Featuring Concepts Through A Story/Narrative

This is a great video format to introduce a concept in an easy-to-understand and engaging visual manner. These videos are sharp and focused, and they can be aligned to accommodate a serious learning outcome.

Explainer Videos Featuring Concepts Through a Story/Narrative-1
Explainer Videos Featuring Concepts Through a Story/Narrative-2

5. Videos Featuring Kinetic Text (With Static Background)

Sometimes, minimalism triumphs over visuals. This video format features text animations (with sound effects) that can be implemented to communicate the required message.

Videos Featuring Kinetic Text (with Static Background)-1
Videos Featuring Kinetic Text (with Static Background)-2

6. Videos Featuring Kinetic Text And Videos In The Background

This video format uses a combination of kinetic text animations with videos in the background to create a high impact experience.

Videos Featuring Kinetic Text and Videos in the Background-1
Videos Featuring Kinetic Text and Videos in the Background-2

7. Videos Featuring Whiteboard Animation

A picture is worth a thousand words. Describing concepts via images (featuring illustrations, animations) and audio creates high engagement, and the image stays with learners well past the learning stage.

Videos Featuring Whiteboard Animation-1
Videos Featuring Whiteboard Animation-2

8. Interactive Video

Although video-based learning is remarkable, you can step it up 10 times through interactive video-based learning. This approach combines interactions (corresponding to the learning interactions of the eLearning courses) to create high-impact learning experiences.

Interactive Video-1
Interactive Video-2

I hope this article provides insights on why you should adopt video-based learning and engage your learners.


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How to Use Scenario Based Learning for Corporate Training and Gain a Better ROI

At EI Design, we have been offering custom learning and performance support solutions to our customers across the world for over 16 years. Over this period, we have seen changes in many facets including technology (Flash to HTML5), delivery formats (traditional eLearning to mobile learning), and learner demographics (increasing percentage of millennials). With these changes, most of the popular Instructional Design approaches too have evolved.

In this blog, I show you how you can use the a powerful technique that is, Scenario Based Learning to design high-impact corporate training and do justice to your new mandates and in the process see an improved ROI.

What is Scenario Based Learning (SBL)?

Scenario Based Learning is a popular Instruction Design approach that uses real-life situations.

  • It helps learners learn through relatable situations.
  • It can also be used to check-point or validate their learning.
  • Additionally, Scenario Based Learning provides room for learners to practice what they have learned (in a safe environment).
  • More significantly, it can be used as a powerful approach to help learners understand the impact of their choices or consequences of their decisions.

How Can Scenario Based Learning Be Used to Create High-Impact Corporate Training?

As I had highlighted earlier, at EI Design, we extensively use Scenario Based Learning for our corporate training solutions to create high-impact learning and performance support solutions.

While much has changed over the last 16 years, our core design philosophy has not changed, and it continues to be to “Build engagement frameworks” by making learning:

  • Motivating
  • Interesting
  • Relevant and relatable
  • Experiential
  • Memorable
  • Continuous

We use Scenario Based Learning in the following ways:

  1. For knowledge gain: You can use real-life situations to substantiate primary learning. As these situations are relatable for learners, they will be able to connect and internalize the learning easily.
  2. For improving retention: Post the knowledge acquisition, the Scenario Based Learning can also be used to help learners practice. This keeps the “forgetting curve” at bay and helps learners steadily improve their proficiency in a safe environment.
  3. For an effective application of learning on the job: Scenario Based Learning can be used as extremely effectively as Performance Support Tools or learning aids that can help learners apply their learning on the job.

Can Scenario Based Learning Be Applied to All Types of Corporate Trainings?

 Scenario Based Learning can add tremendous value to most corporate trainings. The 7 examples featured here outline how you can use them effectively and improve your ROI.

  1. Sales Training
    This example is related to training salespeople in the retail segment. We have used scenarios to allow the learner to handle customer queries and asked them to make a choice about the right kind of reaction to a particular situation.Sales Training Scenario Based Learning and ROI
    Sales Training Scenario Based Learning and ROI
  2. Compliance Training
    We have used scenarios in the following three ways to achieve outcomes in this series on Generic Compliance:

    1. Validating learning.
    2. Application of the learned concepts.
    3. If the learning triggers the desired behavior.Compliance Training Scenario Based Learning and ROI
      Compliance Training Scenario Based Learning and ROI
      Compliance Training Scenario Based Learning and ROI
  3. Soft Skills Training
    To manage conflicts at the workplace, this course offers scenarios in the following two ways:

    1. Setting the context: The course begins with a branching scenario followed by each challenge being connected to a topic in the course.
    2. Validating the learning at an application level: Along the learning path, we’ve implemented multiple scenarios to keep a tab on the cognition level of the learned concepts.Soft Skills Training Scenario Based Learning and ROI
  1. Application Simulations Training
    This is an engaging application simulation on Salesforce where the simulation is carried out in an innovative format. Additionally, there is a challenge that uses a scenario based approach at the end of the simulation that puts the learner into a situation and asks him/her to respond.Application Simulations Training Scenario Based Learning and ROI
    Application Simulations Training Scenario Based Learning and ROI
    Application Simulations Training Scenario Based Learning and ROI
  2. Professional Skills Training
    This example uses a conversational scenario in which learners can engage in a simulated environment and perform activities where they make choices and view the consequences of their decisions. They are challenged to perform better and understand and apply their learning through gamified situations.Professional Skills Training Scenario Based Learning and ROI
    Professional Skills Training Scenario Based Learning and ROI
  3. Awareness Training
    This example uses interactive videos to build awareness on Travel Security for professionals travelling to various countries. Decision-Making Scenarios are used effectively to put users into potentially hazardous situations and then asked to make a decision; and based on this, they could view their consequences and, as a result, learn the best practices in a better manner.Awareness Training Scenario Based Learning and ROI
    Awareness Training Scenario Based Learning and ROI
  4. Quality Training
    This example involves solutioning for the process conformance mandate of quality certifications. Scenarios involving potential roadblocks in the certification process and making decisions to develop a project management and collaboration tool is the key highlight of this training.Quality Training Scenario Based Learning and ROI

Can Scenario Based Learning Impact ROI Positively?

Certainly, the effective usage of Scenario Based Learning will impact ROI positively. Let me illustrate how we have achieved this.

Our usage of Scenario Based Learning for corporate training helps our customers see the following impacts:

  • Demonstrable gain for learners: Reflected in performance improvement and triggering the desired behavioral change.
  • Demonstrable and positive impact on business as learners gain new skills or improve their productivity.
  • Improvement on ROI.


I hope this blog provides pointers on the possible ways you can use Scenario Based Learning for corporate training and see a positive impact on your ROI.

Need More?

Want more insights on how you can use Scenario Based Learning to create high impact corporate trainings and improve your ROI?

Schedule a call with our Solutions Architecting Team.


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Make Your Microlearning Interventions Work To Achieve Your Training Goals

Microlearning Interventions: How To Achieve Your Training Goals

When microlearning was invented or rather discovered, it was called bite-sized learning. I wondered if it had something to do with a “tea time” games that many people indulge in. No pun intended.

Story So Far

Soon, the term caught the attention of Instructional Designers and L&D Managers, and they thought it was a good thing to have in your armory. Many IDs assumed that it was the panacea for all the ills that plagued the world of training. This was based on a notion that human memory can hold only so much information at a given point in time and therefore bite-sized learning addresses this head-on.

The Fallacy Of Attention Spans

It was hailed as the discovery of the decade and almost everyone latched on to the idea. However, here lied the fallacy. The theory was based on the idea that people have limited attention spans and human memory can only hold so much information. This, as pointed out by many experts, is pseudoscience and has no real-world empirical basis. I was recently discussing the same aspects with a leading expert and he confirmed that “if learners love something, they will spend hours on it”. Another fallacy that had taken shape albeit for a shorter period was that mobile learning equals microlearning.

Where We Stand Now?

So, as we stand today, we need to put away the idea of attention spans for good when it comes to microlearning. Also, we realize that microlearning and mobile learning are 2 different beasts! Microlearning comprises small nuggets of learning, usually spanning only a few minutes of seat time targeting a specific learning objective. Mobile learning, on the other hand, is learning that is accessible through your smartphones or tablets and is basically, learning on-the-go. Mobile learning naturally utilizes concepts of microlearning, but we can have microlearning concepts applied to traditional eLearning as well.

Microlearning At Work

Consider these examples:

  • Watching simple “How-To” videos on YouTube
  • Learning through picture charts or flashcards
  • Working through series of Practice Tests
  • Receiving e-mails on “Word for the Day”

Are these examples of microlearning or just short nuggets of information?

So, what really constitutes microlearning? What are the guidelines that we need to adhere to?


My understanding is that microlearning must incorporate as many of the following guidelines as possible to be truly “micro” in learning:

  • A standalone piece of content
  • Focus on specific learning outcome
  • Uses rich multimedia, game-based strategy, and so on to engage the learners

A Standalone Piece Of Content

My experience says that microlearning needs to be treated as an individual unit of learning piece. It needs to be mapped to a specific topic.

Instead of talking about histories, the short burst of learning needs to address a specific need or a problem. This little universe needs to have its own introduction, learning objective, the “how-to” content piece, an activity, and a summary.

It should not be a piece of a large universe. In other words, it need not be a part of a large course or a course that has multiple cross-references.

A Well-Thought-Out Learning Objective

The learning objective should be clearly defined basis the content that needs to be taught. Of the various ID models, I like the 4-mat model. I think it is quite relevant for microlearning. The 4 aspects are “what”, “why”, “how”, and “what if” can be easily used to create an impactful microlearning course. If we focus on what and how part of the subject, then it addresses the requirement well.

Using Rich Multimedia Or Game Based Strategy

While we may opt to adopt mobile learning, we may not be necessarily delivering effective learning. This is because, when we need to train our learners on a vast volume of subject material or when the subject needs to be studied in great details, microlearning is just not suitable. For example, learning to speak certain words or general communication in a particular language is perfect for a microlearning, but when you need to learn the complete language, then, it’s eLearning that comes handy.

You will also avoid microlearning when you want your learners to connect various interconnected topics together in a coherent, ‘macro’ picture. Microlearning, is just well, micro in every sense.

You will also avoid microlearning when you want your learners to connect various interconnected topics together in a coherent, ‘macro’ picture. Microlearning, is just well, micro in every sense.

Case Studies

1. The customer wanted a short course on the food processing that would help learners understand how food is sourced, processed and marketed. For this, we created a short microlearning course with the requisite content and interesting activities to sensitize the learners about the entire process. This was smartphone-only delivery.


2. The customer wanted to train their employees on the basic concepts of housekeeping. We created a microlearning module that covered aspects, such as how to make a bed and an associated activity.


At Tesseract Learning, we have implemented microlearning using unique activity-based nuggets, game-based nuggets and importantly being device agnostic. Learners get the same experience, whether on a PC, a tablet, or a smartphone.

Our ID Strategists are the right experts you can turn to for all such doubts. At Tesseract Learning, our ID Strategists will ensure that your custom learning, mobile learning, or microlearning matches the best standards available in the market.


Do also share your feedback and suggestions on this article in the comments section.

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