Fueled by a wider adoption of mobile learning, microlearning based training has gained momentum in the last 2 years. In this article, I outline why you should adopt a combination of microlearning and mobile learning in 2018.
Reasons You Should Adopt The Combination Of Microlearning And Mobile Learning Now
At EI Design, we have been offering learning and performance support solutions for over 16 years now. During these years, we have seen the evolution of formal training from predominantly Instructor Led Training (ILT) to online training or eLearning.
Over the last 5 years, we have seen a steady increase in the integration of mobile learning as an integral part of most organizations’ training deliveries.
- Usage of learners’ smartphones and tablets under Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) policy has helped mobile learning gain further momentum.
- Increase in the millennial workforce too has contributed to its wider usage.
Alongside, we saw the introduction of microlearning.
- Initially, it was used to offer Performance Support intervention and support to formal training.
- Over the last 2 years, we have seen it mature to become a mainstream offering that can be used for both formal and informal training.
It is interesting to note that while the demand for short, focused training has always been there for learners, the increased mobile learning adoption has facilitated the usage of microlearning as a mainstream training strategy.
In this article, I outline why you should adopt the combination of microlearning and mobile learning/mLearning in 2018.
Before I outline how you can leverage on the combination of microlearning and mobile learning/mLearning in 2018, let me recap a few highlights and benefits of both.
What Is Mobile Learning And What Are Its Key Highlights?
Mobile learning is learning “on the go”. It is a learner-centric approach, and its significant highlights are as follows:
- It offers access to learning assets anytime and anywhere.
- It is designed to empower learners. They can choose the pace at which they want to consume the content, and when they want to.
- Mobile learning features a multi-device support, so the same course is available to the learners across devices (from desktops/laptops to tablets/smartphones). Thereby, it offers learners the flexibility to learn on the device of their choice.
- While we may be connected to the internet most of the time, we sometimes need the flexibility to learn even when we are offline. Mobile learning solutions also address this need.
- Mobile learning techniques can be applied to most of the corporate training needs. These include diverse training needs like induction and onboarding, soft skills, professional skills, compliance and so on.
- Furthermore, mobile learning is a great fit to offer Performance Support Tools that bring in specific learning aids to learners at the moment of their need.
What Is Microlearning, And What Are Its Key Highlights?
Microlearning, as the name suggests, is a series of short, bite-sized learning nuggets. However, they are not just shortened versions of the traditional eLearning topics (that is, not eLearning lite).
- They are designed to meet a specific learning outcome.
- They normally have a short run length (between 2–5 mins and not exceeding 7 mins).
The demand for microlearning-based training has always been there. Although it is in the last few years, L&D teams have seen its value, particularly in:
- Offsetting the challenges of short attention spans.
- Fit in training on the job.
- Higher completion rates.
In the first avatar, microlearning was designed to support formal training, but with the wider adoption of mobile learning, it is now being used for:
- Formal training
Through a learning path that strings multiple microlearning nuggets. You can use microlearning-based techniques to address most of your corporate training needs.
- Performance Support intervention (Through Performance Support Tools or PSTs/learning aids)
To reinforce formal training, as a just-in-time aid to facilitate the application of acquired knowledge or to meet a specific challenge. The usage of microlearning-based techniques as PSTs help organizations meet the tougher mandate of performance gain and demonstrate its desired impact on the business.
- Supporting ILT training/offer blended training
Through a series of nuggets that can support pre-workshop preparation or sustain learning as a continuum once the facilitated session is over.
Why Should You Adopt The Combination Of Microlearning And Mobile Learning/mLearning In 2018?
Microlearning and mobile learning/mLearning make great companions, and you can use them to multiply the impact of your training delivery.
- Short nuggets (microlearning) can be taken on the go (on smartphones or tablets that are an integral part of mobile learning).
- This is not all; there are additional gains that you will see when you use the combination of microlearning and mobile learning/mLearning. You will be able to:
- Offer a better learning experience.
- Provide learning as a continuum (in contrast to discrete, traditional eLearning).
- Offer personalized learning.
- Leverage on trending approaches like gamification, videos, interactive videos, and so on.
- See a significant impact on the mandate of performance gain.
- Obtain higher completion rates.
- See a higher probability of users revisiting and reviewing collateral when they have the need.
- Achieve an increase in the application of acquired knowledge.
I hope this article gives you the required insights on why you should adopt the combination of microlearning and mobile learning/mLearning in 2018. With this combination, you will be able to see more engaged learners and higher impact training. If you have any queries, do contact me at email@example.com.
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When Microlearning made its advent few years ago, most L&D professionals thought it was another way of chunking large modules into smaller modules and present it to their learners. Some thought it was a nice way to introduce learning bytes through smartphone as Smartphones were making rapid progress at the same time.
The exploration phase ended couple of years back when organizations started looking at Microlearning as a serious learning intervention and not just as another refresher for the main learning.
The new thought is that Microlearning needs to be treated for what it is and should be tailored with a specific learning objective with its own activity and summary. A Microlearning course should be self-contained and not as a shorter chunked piece of a large course. This new thought is what is sweeping the learning landscape.
Mapped to Learning Objective
The learning objective should be clearly defined and the content as well as the activity should be mapped to this learning objective. When this Microlearning course is provided to the learners, they don’t think that is another drab piece of content that is just put out to force them into learning something that is not relevant or dated.
Innovation with Microlearning
At Tesseract Learning, we constantly experiment with various new ideas and we have come up with few demos that show the capability of Microlearning as standalone piece of serious 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, Tablet or a Smartphone.
Microlearning can be used in a variety of situations. It can be given as a quick refresher to backup the classroom or face-to-face training. Or, it can be implemented as a quick learning nugget to reinforce a concept. It can be provided as a standalone activity before a training to enthuse the learners on what is to come. There are endless possibilities.
So far, we have delivered Microlearning for Healthcare, Insurance, Manufacturing, Banking, FMCG and Hospitality industries. Couple of case studies are given below.
1. The customer wanted a short course on the drug discovery process that would help learners understand how much time it takes to come up with a new drug in the market. For this we created a short course with the requisite content and a decision tree activity to sensitize the learners about the process.
2. The customer wanted to train their employees on the basic concepts of housekeeping. We created a Microlearning module that covered aspects like making a bed and an associated activity.
Microlearning can be implemented in any industry and benefits are multi-fold. We shall discuss on the benefits of implementing Microlearning in our next blog.
If you would like to view some of our interesting Microlearning demos, please do write to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Microlearning based trainings, particularly as Performance Support (that is, specific job aids or learning aids to support formal training) have been around for few years now.
In the last 2 years, we have seen acceleration in adoption of Microlearning for formal training. Using a series of Microlearning nuggets connected over a learning path or learning journey has proved to be an effective way to offer formal training.
With an increased maturity on its usage for formal training and informal training, Microlearning is one trend that is here to stay.
What is Microlearning?
The concept of Microlearning is not new. In traditional eLearning approach, the Instructional Designers would focus on chunking the source content into manageable bites of information that are easy for the learners to assimilate.
Microlearning has its roots in the same concept and in today’s context it is a short, focused learning nugget (designed to be 2-5 mins long and normally not exceeding 7 mins). It always has an associated outcome (it is this aspect that differentiates it from being merely an eLearning lite).
Given its size and precise definition, it is designed to promote learning on the go. Increased usage of mLearning or mobile learning as a core part of learning strategy has further accelerated the usage of Microlearning.
How can Microlearning be Used in Corporate Training?
At EI Design, our Microlearning based training is a mature practice that has evolved steadily over the last few years. We have established the practice for Performance Support Tools (PSTs or job aids) and now we offer it not just for informal learning but increasingly for formal learning.
The range of our corporate training solutions that use Microlearning-based training approach include (but not limited to) the following:
- Induction and Onboarding
- Soft Skills
- Professional Skills
- Application Simulations
- Product Training
- Sales Training
- Compliance Training
- Change Management initiatives
From this huge repository, I pick 5 killer examples that showcase Microlearning-based approach for employee training.
1. Professional Skills Training for Instructional Designers (Content Types)
This example features a Microlearning course with a story-based visual wrapper.
Diverse microlearning formats (including videos in different design approaches) have been included in the flow of the course. The learner scrolls through to reveal content and interact at specific points to view the nuggets.
2. Account Management Fundamentals (Interactive Infographic based nugget)
This example features the Interactive infographics based approach is used to create a micro-guide wherein the progress of the learner is gamified.
The learners need to get a requisite number of points to move to the next level. They gain points from reviewing the content as well as challenges. Additionally, there is an expert who provides tips and key points to aid in solving the challenges. On completing a level, they get a badge.
3. Generic Compliance: Health, Safety, And Environment (HSE) at Workplace
This example features a video that uses high impact, contextual imagery and recaps the basic aspects of an HSE compliance course.
It reinforces the need for constant risk assessment of hazards at a workplace. Specifically, it uses a scenario to help learners identify a potential hazard and prompts the right action through the feedback.
4. Professional Skills Training (Time Management)
This example features a microlearning nugget that uses two innovative strategies, namely Scenario-based learning and Gamified activities.
5. Compliance (Data Protection)
This example of a Microlearning nugget, “A date with Data Dave” features interactive parallax-based scrolling (that is commonly used in websites).
It has engaging visuals, and conversational language, which engages and takes the learner through three offices with varying levels of data security. Along the journey, the learner is provided tips and best practices to protect data.
I hope this blog gives you pointers on how you can use Microlearning-based approach and address your formal and informal training needs. I hope the featured Microlearning examples for employee training show you how you can use the techniques to create engaging and high-impact corporate training.
If you have any queries, do contact me at email@example.com.
Want more insights on how you can use the power of Microlearning solutions to enhance the impact of your corporate training?
Schedule a call with our Solutions Architecting Team.
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An Informative Microlearning Case Study
A lot has been said of dwindling attention spans and the need for L&D Teams to have online training that can be short and effective.
Microlearning is a delivery format that owes its wide acceptance not only to the fact that it addresses the attention span challenge but also to the increased adoption of mobile learning or mLearning.
Microlearning-based training finds a natural alignment to the learning on the go that can be consumed by the learners on the device of their choice and when they need it.
What Is Microlearning?
Microlearning refers to short, bite-sized learning (often 2-5 mins long and normally not exceeding 7 mins run length).
Let me outline few of its highlights:
- A worthwhile point to be noted is that it is not “eLearning lite” (that is, a traditional eLearning course spliced into shorter nuggets), but it is designed to have an associated learning outcome. As a result, it can be consumed on its own or as a series of interconnected nuggets.
- Learning through shorter pieces is certainly not a new concept, microlearning has gained momentum in the last 2 years on account of its capability to keep pace with the way learners want to learn. It fits in well with our fast-paced lives and provides flexibility to learn on the go, complete the training in a short time and access it again, when required.
- While its initial foray was for Performance Support (job aids to support learners at the time of their need), today it is being used to offer both formal and informal training.
- Microlearning also offsets the other challenge of low engagement that traditional eLearning programs may have encountered. Given its delivery in wide-ranging, high impact visual formats, and its short run lengths, it normally has a higher completion rate.
- Microlearning also provides a more dynamic training delivery approach. The short nuggets can be quickly updated and redeployed. From a learner’s perspective, they can consume the learning nuggets based on their preference or need. They are no more bound by a rigid learning path often associated with traditional eLearning.
- Microlearning can be used very effectively to meet a specific need—that is, a specific action leading to a specific skill gain or clearing a problem. Thereby, you will see a higher performance gain with reduced investment.
- Microlearning approach also facilitates personalization of learning. Given its granularity, you can offer highly customized or personalized nuggets based on the learner’s preference or proficiency.
How Does It Fare Against Macrolearning Or Traditional eLearning?
Does wider adoption of microlearning means a demise of macrolearning or traditional eLearning? In my opinion—No.
Here is how I see both macrolearning and microlearning co-exist.
There will continue to be training needs that need the run lengths, structure and recommended learning paths that macrolearning or traditional eLearning offers. For instance, when you need to learn a complex application software, you need a traditional eLearning course rather than learning through a maze of multiple, microlearning nuggets.
On a related note, the same training can certainly gain by an addition of Performance Support (job aids) to offer tips, shortcuts, FAQs and so on.
My assessment is that macrolearning and microlearning will co-exist to address certain types of training needs. However, a lot of the training needs will map fully to microlearning approach with the flexibility to personalize.
What Is The Gain As You Opt From Traditional eLearning To Microlearning?
As I have highlighted, the wider adoption of microlearning will not see an end to traditional eLearning. I do see the following key gains:
- Microlearning-based training empowers learners by giving them higher flexibility and better control on how they want to consume learning.
- Learners are likely to show higher usage/referencing (particularly as Performance Support).
- It costs less and can be developed in shorter time as compared to traditional eLearning.
- It is easier to update and redeploy.
- It demonstrates higher completion rates.
- It is flexible and can be used to offer both formal and informal training.
- It can be used very effectively to bridge a gap.
- It can be created in diverse, appealing formats that suit the content and context best.
- It encourages sharing within the employees.
Microlearning Case Study
To help you see the difference in the 2 approaches (macrolearning vs microlearning), I pick a microlearning case study featuring a course on professional skills training. The traditional eLearning course is part of a suite of 15 courses for Instructional Designers.
This microlearning case study reflects how the learning path and the learning experience was updated as we transitioned the source content to microlearning.
Approach 1: Macrolearning Case Study
This demo uses a story-based approach (a storytorial) as an innovative and engaging strategy to present the information. The story revolves around a team of Instructional Designers creating an eLearning course.
Through the story and the interaction between the Instructional Designers, various content types and their visualization techniques are shown to the learners. This approach also helps showcase the ways in which Instructional Designers process and ideate to create a course.
Team introduction: Cast of characters, who are part of the storytorial approach.
Usage of storytorial: Used real-time situation to explain the various content types.
Knowledge checks: At the end of each topic, a knowledge check question is provided to the learner. This helps the learners to recall the learning from the respective topics.
Tips: The course also covers the tips on usage of content types.
Impact: The course enables learners to understand the different information types and map them to suitable and relevant visualization techniques. Using a story, the key concepts are presented in a way that can be practically applied to the actual work environment.
Approach 2: Microlearning Case Study
With the same content, we built a microlearning-based course with a simple but compelling narrative-based visual wrapper. Different microlearning formats were included in the flow of this course. The learner scrolls through to reveal the content and interact at specific points to view the microlearning nuggets.
Learning journey through multiple, microlearning nuggets: Simple and intuitive learning nuggets are used to create different interactions and videos.
Knowledge checks: These are used periodically to check the learner’s understanding of each content types.
Impact: As you will note, the usage of microlearning nuggets can infuse a different learning experience. Given the more specific focus and shorter run length, it is likely to resonate better with learners. Usage of high impact formats like videos will certainly aid in higher recall and retention.
Listen to the audio version of the article:
Fueled by acceleration in adoption of mLearning or mobile learning, microlearning-based training is here to stay. Given its flexibility, it can be used to offer both formal and informal training. I hope the featured microlearning case study gives you insights on how the technique can be used in contrast to traditional eLearning or macrolearning. If you have any queries, do contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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In this article, I will provide insights on why it makes sense to use social learning and microlearning in conjunction. I will also outline how you can use them practically to double the impact on the learning in your organization.
Social Learning And Microlearning: A Great Combination
Let’s begin with a quick recap on the definitions of social learning and microlearning and then see why they are a powerful combination.
What Is Social Learning?
In simple terms, social learning is learning with and from others. You do that pretty much every day in some way or the other – when discussing a problem or challenge to a colleague or a friend, as part of a group discussion, when interacting with others in a conference, or when using online social media channels like Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and so on.
What Is Microlearning?
Microlearning is a short, focused learning nugget (often 3-5 mins long or shorter) that is designed to meet a specific learning outcome. You can use it to offer formal training, but it serves its purpose better when used in informal training (with a focus on performance gain).
Some of the aspects that make it a high-impact learning medium are its learner-centric nature, multi-device compatibility (smartphones/tablets/desktops/laptops), design and delivery in rich media formats, and flexibility to provide just-in-time training to enhance performance.
Microlearning nuggets can be easily accessed, quickly completed, and applied by the learners.
7 Reasons Why Social Learning And Microlearning Make A Great Combination
The world had become a global village long ago and the shrinking continues to happen – the number of businesses that thrive on effective coordination between teams operating from diverse geographic locations with a focus on faster turnaround times is only increasing. In these circumstances, there is ample scope to provide learning and training solutions by getting social learning and microlearning to tango.
Here are 7 compelling reasons why you should combine the power of social learning and microlearning and increase the learning impact in your organisation:
Both social learning and microlearning give the learners a “personal” experience as they do not take place in a typical formal learning environment.
2. Easily Accessible.
Both social learning and microlearning are accessible to users at the time of their need.
3. Bite-Sized Information.
People spend time on social media looking at smaller pieces of information (short posts, YouTube/other short videos, images, and so on). This is in line with the way the microlearning nuggets are designed.
4. Less Time Consuming.
They spend smaller amounts of time while on social media (often shuffling between logging into social media sites and carrying out other things). Hence, they are more attracted to shorter learning nuggets.
5. Multi-Device Compatibility.
People access social media on multiple devices and microlearning is a great fit for learning on-the-go.
6. Specific Focus.
Most social media posts and information pieces have a specific focus and so is the case with microlearning nuggets.
7. Flexibility To Incorporate Different Features.
Microlearning can be made more effective by including social learning features such as chat, comment, like, share, and so on.
How Can You Practically Leverage On The Combined Power Of Social Learning And Microlearning To Double The Impact On Learning?
Leverage On Microlearning
- Use microlearning for formal learning (through a series of micro-courses available to the learners as a defined learning path to foster learning in stackable bites).
- Make sure that the microlearning nuggets feature interesting formats (videos, interactive videos, animations, scenarios, etc.) that engage the learners and ensure the completion of the learning task.
- Interject learning aids (just-in-time job aids) that are available to learners within their work-flow and can help them solve a particular problem, address a specific learning need, or help them cross over a challenge. Essentially, these learning aids encourage the learners to quickly apply the learning on the job.
Add The Social Learning Aspect
- Encourage your learners to comment or rate your microlearning nuggets. You can even poll them on their efficacy.
- Have your learners talk about what they are learning, what caught their interest (or otherwise).
- You had been asking learners questions or “testing” their knowledge through assessments at the end of your formal training courses. It’s time you did the opposite. Get your learners to ask questions. Don’t bury them under the weight of “Retake the Course” to help them get clarity on what they need to know. Let them ask what they did not understand in the training and walk away wiser.
- Have them exchange stories on what worked, how they were able to use a certain microlearning nugget on the job.
- Encourage curation of learner-created microlearning assets.
- Provide forums to handle queries and provide support (on how the challenges were handled).
I hope this article gives you compelling reasons on why you must leverage on the combined power of social learning and microlearning. Use the power of microlearning with an extended twist of collaborative learning and generate a positive impact on your learning. If you have any questions, do contact me.
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Formal And Informal Learning In The Workplace: 15 Types Of Microlearning
A lot has been said about the challenge of dwindling attention spans. In fact, a recent study by Microsoft pegs that the human attention span at 8 seconds in contrast to a goldfish whose attention span stands at 9 seconds.
While I don’t necessarily buy the data of this report, the fact is that we all are multi-tasking, we live in a world of distractions, and we have limited attention span. Alongside high pressure at work (often with long hours that compete with our personal time), we need to find the time and do justice to training. In the last 2-3 years, microlearning has emerged as an effective approach that L&D teams can use to address some of these challenges.
What Is Microlearning?
As the name suggests, it is a short, focused training. It is normally 2-5 mins in run length (normally not exceeding 7 mins). Although it is short, it is designed to meet a specific learning outcome.
It has the following key characteristics:
- Multi-device support
- Rich media formats
- Action-oriented (wherein learners learn, practice or apply for the job)
What Is Not Microlearning?
Microlearning is more than splitting the larger eLearning course into shorter nuggets. As I have highlighted, it is aligned to a specific learning outcome and should trigger the learner to act.
How Can Microlearning Be Used?
Microlearning is short, focused, available on mobile devices and can be adapted to offer both formal and informal training. Here are a few options:
- Formal training
You can transform your traditional eLearning format or microlearning format to a series of microlearning nuggets that are connected seamlessly through a learning path. These are designed for mobile learning or mLearning format giving the flexibility to the learners to consume them on the device of their choice and at a pace that works best for them.
- Supplement formal training
You can also use types of microlearning to supplement your formal training.
- It can be offered as nuggets to provide a reinforcement to the primary, formal training. Alternately, you can offer a series of nuggets to challenge the learners (micro quizzes).
- You can also design them as a series of nuggets for practice and eventual mastery.
- You can also use it to supplement your Instructor-Led Training (for instance, for online pre/post workshop material or practices sessions).
- Performance Support Tools (PSTs) or job aids
Microlearning finds a perfect match to offer performance support to the learners. PSTs are just-in-time learning aids that are available in the learner’s work-flow and are designed to address certain needs. They could offer a quick fix, a ready reckoner to support their task, or a checklist that enables them to create the output with the required quality. Microlearning can be used very effectively to meet these specific just-in-time learning needs.
What Are The Various Types Of Microlearning?
They are a great fit to summarize the key takeaways. The visual approach to summarize the key aspects leads to higher recall and retention.
2. Interactive Infographics
Like infographics (in terms of visual-based approach), the interactivity enables you to layer information and pack more details. As an extension, they can be used as short learning guides.
This is probably the most common format for microlearning and can be used to provide quick and just-in-time access to specific information.
4. Interactive PDFs
The more current avatar of the traditional PDFs, that allow longer reams of data to be packaged in meaningful info groups that the learner can browse through easily.
5. eBooks And Flipbooks
They make handy job aids wherein you can pack great visual appeal and interactivities. They are multi-device and can generate HTML5 output. You can also integrate audio and video to further enhance the impact.
View (Video-Based Learning)
1. Animated Videos
A popular format that can be adapted to create a variety of learning aids. It can also be a part of a traditional eLearning (context-setting or learning summary).
2. Whiteboard Animation
A picture is worth a thousand words. Explaining concepts through pictures (featuring illustrations, animations, and audio) creates a high engagement, and the image stays with the learners well past the learning interaction.
3. Kinetic Text-Based Animation
Sometimes, when minimalism scores instead of visuals, the animation of text (with sound effects) can be used to convey the required message.
4. Explainer Videos
As the name suggests, these are great to introduce a concept in an easy to understand visual manner. Sharp and focused, they can be aligned to meet a specific outcome very effectively.
5. Interactive Videos
While video-based learning is great, you can top it up through interactive video-based learning. You can add interactions (matching the learning interactions of eLearning courses) to create high impact learning experiences.
6. Expert Videos, Webinars/Recorded Webinar
We look forward to expert advice and insights. Using this approach makes them accessible to learners when they want to review or at the moment of their need.
These are again very useful formats that can be accessed on demand by the learner at the moment of their need.
1. Interactive Parallax-Based Scrolling
Another very interesting format that uses the parallax approach that is commonly used in websites. It uses the same technique to simulate a learning path that the learner can “scroll through”. Alongside the learning path, interactions and quizzes can be added.
2. Mobile Apps
A very powerful approach to offer learning is through a mobile app that is being talked about as the “future of learning”. Not only is it the right fit for learning on the go; it brings in the added advantage to do both online and offline viewing (when there is no internet access).
3. Complex Branching Scenarios
When you need to simulate complex, real-life situations that learners need to handle and gain mastery on, this format is the right fit.
Take a look at this video to know the 15 types of microlearning that you can use for formal and informal learning:
I hope this article provides you enough and more choices to select types of microlearning that would work in your organization for both formal and informal learning. If you have any queries, do contact me at email@example.com.
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