AthenaOnline has been talking about the benefits of microlearning for almost 20 years. In the last few years, however, the idea of bite-sized learning has taken off like wildfire. Perhaps it is a due to rapid delivery and deployment. Maybe it is the lack of time available to training and development in organizations. According to research done by Bersin by Deloitte employees can only devote 4.8 minutes per day to development, so 5-minute lessons make a lot of sense.
Or perhaps it is a new generation of learners in the workplace. Millennials and Generation Z workers are certainly more adept at using online learning and the statistics would seem to indicate that they prefer a shorter, bite-sized approach to learning.
There are certainly many benefits to microlearning. There are a few things to consider when deploying microlearning, or any online learning programs for that matter. Here are just a few:
MarketI know it may sound odd, but learning must be marketed to employees. People will take advantage of development opportunities if they know they exist. People receive up to 10,000 marketing message a day, however, so getting and staying on their radar takes some work. We have seen a direct correlation between usage and messaging in the organizations we work with. The biggest implementation failures we have seen are not due to content issues, but a lack of organizational communication.
ContextualizeWith such limited time you need to make sure people know WHY they are taking a course or looking at microlearning lessons. It’s the 'WIFM' (What’s In It For Me) approach. Tie the learning to personal or organizational objectives. If you can convey why they are looking at something and how you would like them to apply the principles you’ll get much more mileage out of your learning program.
CurateIt goes hand-in-hand with creating context, but we have found in our discussions with learning and development professionals that it’s no longer about having a lot of content for learners; it’s about having the appropriate content. Learning and training professionals are changing their role from librarian to concierge of learning.
Make it MobileYou have heard this many times already so I won’t belabor the point, but make sure learning is mobile ready. That means more than just being able to view it on mobile. It should be a responsive design so it adjusts to the user’s device. Also, check type sizes to make sure things remain readable.
MeasureMost learning and development professionals are pretty good at this one. Make sure to set some measurable goals for your learning program and track along the way so that you can make adjustments along the way to reach your objective. Try not to over-complicate it as you do not want the measurement to get in the way of the learning. Showing people a 5-minute lesson and then having them take a long quiz can defeat the purpose of the learning and doesn’t really measure retention anyway.
These are just a few of the lessons we have learned about learning deployment in our 25 years of doing development for computer-based learning. If you have any thoughts, questions or would like to talk about learning deployment in your organization please give us a call.