What Makes Good
Microlearning is a buzz word that has been bouncing around the L&D community for the past five years or so, but what does it mean? Spend a few minutes clicking around the web, and you are likely to find a few common descriptors, including “chunked,” “bite-sized,” “short,” and “mobile-friendly.” While these words are all related to what microlearning can be, they do not accurately describe what microlearning should be.
What Microlearning Should Be
Microlearning is concise, mobile-friendly learning that is chunked into logical parts. More important, however, it is engaging, authentic, easy to access, and driven by choice. Read on for ways to create microlearning content that checks all four of these boxes:
Microlearning is concise and engaging.
High-quality microlearning content needs to be designed from end-to-end with an emphasis on engagement and efficiency. Sixty minutes of boring content condensed down to 20 minutes of boring content is still boring! Utilizing a variety of modalities (such as video, animation with voiceover, podcasts, interactive PDFs, eLearning, infographics, asynchronous collaboration tools, etc.) that are aligned to course objectives provides the learner with an easy-to-follow structure and continuous engagement as they move from section to section.
Microlearning is authentic.
Microlearning that’s authentic and approachable mimics the learning process users call upon outside of work. In the age of DIY and YouTube, employees no longer connect with stuffy, overproduced instructional videos supplied by corporate. Today’s learner is more comfortable learning from YouTube than a manual. Creating content that seamlessly fits into this established pattern leads to higher usage rates and a potentially faster time to competency.
Microlearning is easy to search and access.
To be effective, microlearning content must be easy to search and access. How often do your employees email you asking how to find content instead of searching for it on their own? Good microlearning is easily accessible and intuitively curated and indexed. Job aids, process documents, and templates are designed to be used in the moment of need. Make sure to remove potential barriers to use (such as creating content that’s only available on specific devices or platforms, needing multiple levels of authentication, or burying content under complex navigation) so the learner sees your resource as an easy way to improve their productivity.
Microlearning is driven by choice
Giving the learner a choice allows them to access the information they need in a way that fits into their lifestyle. This choice refers to both the content covered and the modality used. Microlearning should not be dependent on time and place, and offering options in modality gives the user a sense of ownership over their learning. When you are choosing to search for something, boredom becomes less relevant; the need to solve a problem supersedes the level of engagement. Offering learners choices in when, how, and where to consume their content allows them to learn what they want when they need it.
The Challenge of Microlearning
The challenge of microlearning is that it is not a template you can simply push old content through to magically produce high-quality, concise learning material. The creation of the learning content needs to be intentional and designed from end-to-end with these guiding principles in mind. Microlearning is not a trend. It’s a tool to create and deliver just-in-time solutions for performance support that is concise, engaging, authentic, easy to access, and driven by choice.