Everything You Wanted to Know About Microlearning   

25Aug

In our previous post, we discussed what is microlearning and how it is disrupting the corporate training industry. In this post, we will elaborate on the various aspects of bite-sized learning, common misconceptions, overcoming the pitfalls, which technology you should use.

It’s about everything you wanted to know about microlearning. Do have a read!

Here’s a snippet from the previous post,

What is Microlearning?

Bite-sized learning is a modern-day standard of eLearning delivered in chunks or small units. The eLearning materials are designed in such a way that learners can easily grasp even huge volumes of training content by taking small chunks at a time. A microlearning-based online course usually comprises of 5-10 minutes of reading lessons. Organizations are now integrating bite-sized standalone lessons in their LMS courses that are targeted on just one certain learning objective i.e. one lesson will purely focus on one particular skill in any given LMS course. This way, employees, especially from the retail and customer service support, find it easy to acquire knowledge without having to worry about scheduling their hectic working hours for their training. 

Microlearning best practices for your business

If we talk about the evolution of the traditional corporate training, Learning Experience Platform is being widely accepted these days. The reason being, LXP supports microlearning for good reason. According to Josh Bersin, corporate training has taken a paradigm shift by breaking the walls of the traditional classroom to integrating the bite-sized learning experience into employees’ everyday workflow.  Here’s what he had to say,

“I’m not saying that learning management systems, learning portals, and online academies are going away. Not at all. But the writing is on the wall:  many of these platform vendors have to learn to integrate, display, and intelligently recommend their content in these real “systems of productivity.” Because that’s where we spend our time. The real key will be intelligently recommending the right content to each user in a personalized way – making learning ever-more relevant in the flow of work.”

Here is a comparison by Josh Bersin between microlearning and macrolearning –

microlearning vs macrolearning

Image Source: joshbersin.com

Microlearning is usually leveraged in two ways – The first one is the “how-to” approach in the corporate training such as “how-to” use applications including videos, infographics, screencasts, gamification, and reference images. The second method is bite-sized learning reinforcement i.e. your LXP admin will enrich your learners with additional information on a topic which is relevant to their job responsibilities. For example, the conventional emotional intelligence in eLearning programs will be replaced with bite-sized learning components such as infographics, podcasts, wallet cards, or mobile chatbots. (Emotional intelligence LXP course materials are intended for use by learners who make eLearning an additional part of their L&D offering.)

The customary slide-based LXP courses can also be used for bite-sized learning. You can add flashcards, videos, simulations, and short assessments to make the microlearning more convenient. Meanwhile, don’t forget to keep those courses lean.

The most popular use cases of microlearning in business include the following –

  • Onboarding and welcome courses
  • Compliance training
  • Product training
  • Soft skills training
  • Training on corporate software and CRM

Let’s take an example here to understand how microlearning can be used for in-house HR operations –

Let’s suppose there is a multinational company with over 200 locations across India. The organization introduced a new self-service application for managers that enabled them to modify/update the labor contracts for new hires.

However, the initiative was not that seamless as foreseen. Six months after that application was released, the HR department realized there were still many doubts and unattended queries related to the same topics. This was quite a time consuming and they wanted a stand-alone solution and hence finally integrated microlearning into their Learning Experience Platform.

They integrated the bite-sized learning modules into their FAQ application. This means whenever the user had any question, he/she could go to the FAQ app to find the answer within the video on the related topic. Such videos should be uploaded to the company’s Intranet so that the user can find them anytime.

Furthermore, the organization introduced the bite-sized learning modules along with a memo and a video to the managers across the 200 locations. New support calls were also forwarded to the videos. Within one month, this resulted in a 50% reduction of support calls on the specific subjects.

Common microlearning pitfalls and misconceptions

Microlearning comes with its own limitations. Not all types of corporate training programs can fit into a five-minute format of bite-sized learning fragments. While microlearning is ideal for memorizing facts, and step-by-step how-tos, the learning content chunks won’t help learners identify the learning gaps. Also, the microlearning doesn’t empower the learners with a deeper understanding of subjects. It’s a really bad idea to expect from bite-sized learning modules to study medicine or engineering.

Sometimes there’s no other way to learn something than hammering at a textbook or, say, taking part in live learning sessions.

What technology will you use for your bite-sized learning module?

Not all of the existing LMSes are capable of effectively managing the microlearning. Bite-sized learning modules can only yield desired results when the users have completed effectiveness depends in part on ease of access. If learners are not able to find content/resources when they need the most, it’s less likely that they’ll put the effort in to access and make use of microlearning pieces. In order to make the full use of this kind of eLearning methods, your LMS should have an advanced search engine and provide excellent tagging so that learners can find what they need.

A big mistake in microlearning is developing without a plan. A strategic plan for use and management is important. You must plan for versioning, hosting, and management. Who is going to review the content before it is sent to the masses? Is the content going to be subject matter generated (SME) or user-generated with SME approval? Microlearning might be small but it needs a plan.

To conclude…

Microlearning can be a great way to keep your training fresh, accessible, and relevant. Need help deciding if microlearning is right for you? Contact our consultants today.