Microlearning as a tool allows for a great deal of flexibility. It should not be misunderstood as useful only during the training. The beauty of microlearning lies in its ability to be utilized at every stage of the learning value chain.
Micro assets ranging from videos, images, podcasts or quizzes can be used at any stage of the learning cycle. The way it is used can also vary from either being a standalone piece or a series of short nuggets such as a quick assessment to take feedback of the training or a short video on the latest product feature update. Learners progress through many stages in the learning lifecycle and microlearning principles can be used at each stage in varied ways to make the training most effective.
Here are the ways in which microlearning can be used throughout different stages across the learning lifecycle:
1. Pre-training engagement
Before conducting any kind of training, it is important to know what the learner wants. Before the training, learners need to be asked about what they want to learn and told about the scope of the training that is going to take place. For example, learners can be asked about what areas they might want more information on. This can be done through a microlearning tool such as an interactive quiz or a quick survey.
Through microlearning, learners can also be given an idea of what the training is going to be like, how it will be beneficial to them and why it is necessary. This will not only keep them informed about what is coming their way but also motivate them to do well and look forward to the training. This can also help organizations identify knowledge gaps and situate the training in a way that fills those gaps.
Such a pre training engagement can be done through videos, diagnostic quizzes, infographics, short video messages from leaders and other types of creative micro content. For example, in case of a new product training, there can be clear pre-training communication on the new direction the company is heading into, the scope of the new launch and how it will impact the brand and the employees. Such engagement will also make employees feel like they are important. Open and straightforward communication about what’s coming up can keep learners excited and well informed in advance.
2. Effective delivery of training
Once the needs of the learners are identified and they are kept waiting through engaging techniques, it’s time for the actual training to start. Employees can be granted access to micro modules that break vast information into smaller, more digestible chunks. With microlearning, learners are less likely to feel overwhelmed or anxious as information is presented to them over time and in smaller portions. Each such portion can be aimed at achieving at changing a specific behavior or enhancing knowledge about a particular topic. Learners can also choose to browse on their own through the knowledge bank and pick to learn what they are interested in. Intelligent search tools can also help employees look for exactly what they are looking for through keywords, giving them just-in-time information at the click of a button.
Microlearning allows for more flexibility as the learner can focus on learning only one thing at a time. Learning is much more effective as it keeps the learner engaged with visual and auditory aids that keeps the curiosity levels to dig deeper high. It is also convenient as it can be consumed on any mobile device at any time of the day without interfering with the daily flow of work.
3. Reinforce training through repetition
Microlearning relies on the concept of distributed learning, which means pushing concepts over shorter sessions and repeating them over time. This enables the less attentive human brain to actually retain critical concepts. With microlearning, refreshers can be deployed from time to time post training happens. This helps learners stay in touch with the curriculum. These can be videos, assessments, tips and tricks or messages that are pushed out to learners at regular intervals to facilitate higher retention of concepts.
Repetition ensures that learners remember key concepts and actually apply that while on the job. By providing short doses of microlearning that focuses on the same concept, learners can solidify their grip over the training material. Through powerful engagement such as gamification, friendly competition, incentives, rewards and the like, repetition can be made interesting to look forward to, rather than a compulsion.
4. Analytics to measure performance
Microlearning can help trainers review their training by analyzing the performance of employees at individual and cumulative levels. Trainers can also use microlearning to personalize and review existing learning programs, provide reference tools by adding them in the knowledge repositories, or develop performance dashboards for employees, teams or specific locations. All of this is completely customizable and flexible, depending on the learning objectives that need to be achieved.
Not just this, microlearning can also help organizations analyze the impact of their training programs through predictive analytics. The behavior of learners that is tracked on the basis of performance can help understand learner needs and help accommodate programs on that basis. Predictive analytics can be used to predict key events for employees in the future such as whether he will pass a course or not. Such data helps in identifying key behavioral traits and patterns correlated to success or failure.
Data from adaptive learning can also help trainers to personalize goals and learning content in accordance to the preferences of the learners. Adaptive learning collects data related to employee choices, performances and preferences as he progresses through the training. Such data and analytics can act as powerful tools to improve existing learning programs and plan better for the future. It can help organizations identify knowledge gaps for individuals, teams and various locations.
The scope for creativity and flexibility in using microlearning tools is endless. Organizations need to harness the benefit of it in every stage of the learning life cycle in order to reap the benefits of a higher ROI and successful training completion.