As we enter the end of year holiday season I am reminded of the phrase “good things come in small packages.” The saying means, of course, that you should not judge the worth of a gift by the size of the box it comes in. It did not escape me how relevant that phrase is when applied to learning.
“It’s your last couple days, Dan.”
“Yeah, it feels surreal, Bob. My first job . . . coming to an end. But, it’s for the best. Moving on to another opportunity that is better for my career.”
“Well, good luck with that Dan. Stay in touch and let me know if I can be of any assistance.”
Common dialogue that occurs every day in the workplace. The very dialogue that happened to me several decades before. Bob, the senior sales person in the firm I joined right out of college, was the star performer. He had been with the firm 6 years longer than me. Bob had done so well that the firm had recently made him a partner.
Since its inception micro learning has improved eLearning success rates in many organizations. As the originator of enterprise micro learning, AthenaOnline has been watching some of the micro learning trends over the last 18 years. So, what are some of the ways that new type of bite-sized learning is being used to enhance existing strategies?
Athena is proud to announce a new series called Authentic Conversations where we ask experts who come to Athena's production studios in Emeryville, CA to sit down and talk with us about what is on their minds. What kinds of issues are they seeing on the horizon - either exciting opportunities are pitfalls to keep an eye out for. While not part of our regular #microlearning leadership library we think these insights will be valuable to those who are managing others.
6 STEPS TO GREATER ELEARNING IMPACT
AthenaOnline has been developing eLearning solutions since 1994. Over that time we have seen many success stories and a number of failed attempts at launching eLearning and microlearning initiatives. How is it that often very similar organizations can have such vastly different results? It almost always comes down to planning.
We put together 6 steps to help assure that your eLearning/microlearning launch is a successful one. Some of these steps may seem obvious, but you would be surprised at how often learning initiatives are missing one or more of these elements.
In 1965 David Ausubel of the University of Illinois wrote an article in The Journal of General Psychology entitled "The Role of Frequency in Learning and Retention: A Cognitive Structure Interpretation." It’s a big title and a big concept. David Allen, the best-selling author of Getting Things Done said it a bit simpler when Athena was working with him on some of the original microlearning in 2002. David stated that “small things, done consistently in strategic places create major impact.”
Had a great day in the AthenaOnline studios today with author and consultant Bill Jensen. Bill wrote the best selling book Simplicity, as well as the books Future Strong and Work 2.0.
Bill spent the morning filming 12 new microlearning lessons for Athena's MyQuickCoach system on topics like disrupting and reinventing yourself, 5 ways to simplify anything, how not to suck at listening and 9 skills for a post-normal world.
Even when learning is bite-sized, it has to engage the learner to become ‘sticky.’ So what should you be thinking about as you create your own microlearning?
First, consider your audience. Who are they? Where are they? What is the best way to reach them?
Think about your message. What is it you are trying to convey? Does it need to be tracked? Keep your message simple and focused. Microlearning will usually impact short-term memory which research has said can contain 5 to 9 things, though more recent research is pointing at more like 4. Repetition of the message can move it from short-term to long-term memory. So, microlearning is not just about being short, it’s also about being focused.
Over the years my learning career has traversed both classroom and online learning. As one of the forerunners of e-learning Athena has created CD-based courses that ran for 4 hours and online courses that took an hour to complete. These types of learning interactions are now referred to as macro-learning. With our MyQuickCoach platform we pioneered microlearning and m-learning, before anyone had coined the terms.
Since I have worked delivering various kinds of learning content people have sometimes asked me “what is the best length for a learning event?” I think the character of Ant-Man from the Marvel comics and the later films might offer a perfect analogy.
I had the pleasure of working with Dr. Marshall Goldsmith recently to create a number of new microlearning lessons on coaching for our AthenaOnline customers. While Marshall was in the studio with us we filmed a short video about his new 100 Aspiring Coaches program.
It was inspiring to hear how Dr. Goldsmith is paying it forward by teaching others what he has learned with the creation of the 100 Coaches program. His new 100 Aspiring Coaches Program looks to take that model even further. I have included the video here: