The 9 Best Practices of Microlearning

Wednesday, November 10, 2021

The 9 Best Practices of Microlearning

Microlearning is quickly gaining traction, as we explored in last week's blog post. 94% of L&D professionals [1] prefer the method where learners engage in bite-size learning modules, delivered on-demand and directly to a mobile device.

Employees have also indicated that they prefer microlearning [2] and the C-suite managers are increasingly realising the efficacy of it in addressing the needs of modern learners and boosting learner engagement and development.

Microlearning vs. Macro Learning


To better understand the learning landscape it's important to discern the difference between these two types of study.

Macro learning is an approach to learning that focuses on a topic or domain in its entirety. For this, the learning content doesn't just focus on one thing but instead looks at a topic holistically. With this method, learners are given access to enough content to make up what is known as a whole course.

While employees can learn a lot this way, the expectation of this type of learning and development is that learners need to invest a lot of time and effort into completing the modules.

Microlearning, on the other hand, is a study method that provides quick bite-sized bursts of content that users can consume. Microlearning content usually addresses specific knowledge gaps and learning needs. These modules are readily accessible resources that can typically be done quickly. Some microlearning examples include short videos or bite-sized inforgraphics.

To synthesise, the main difference between macro and microlearning is that macro looks at the whole picture through a complete learning series, while microlearning is shorter and very specific usually with intentional learning content created to address specific skill gaps or learning needs.

Because everyone is moving at such a fast pace these days, microlearning has become a prevalent learning method of choice for L&D and elearning trainers. HR and L&D professionals must now focus on creating engaging microlearning training modules for employees to use.

Understanding Microlearning Content


Because the content for microlearning is tailored so specifically to certain knowledge gaps and employee needs, it helps to get creative in how you design it. L&D professionals are encouraged to utilize unique channels for providing training and information. This makes microlearning more fun for learners and boosts learner engagement and development.

Good types of microlearning examples include:

1. Short-form text

2. Infographics, illustrations, and photos

3. Audio (audiobooks, music, etc)

4. Quizzes and fun tests

5. Games ‍

The more creative L&D trainers get in the way they design and deliver microlearning modules, the more likely people will use them. If you put together a diverse microlearning menu, you will have more chances of engaging learners.

Microlearning Best Practices


With the rise in microlearning, it's important for managers to create a robust suite of microlearning content for their people.

Microlearning examples and practices can help you craft the perfect bite-sized e-learning courses for a wide variety of learners. If you craft your learning sessions properly you can increase learner completion rate, expand employee learning experiences, and bolster people development and learning outcome.

1. Use mobile delivery

Delivering microlearning training content using a mobile platform, makes learning most convenient for employees and enjoys a higher participation rate. As people typically use their mobile phones to access information, microlearning delivered to a mobile device allows employees to learn whenever inspiration hits or on the go such as during their commute to and from work.

2. Understand your audience

Microlearning is not always one-size-fits-all. If you create content like this you will most likely only target a handful of learners. Instead, consider different employee profiles, seniority, location, the way they consume learning modules, and the result they wish to achieve. etc. Understanding the pain points of each target audience to ensure the creation of content that is appropriate, relevant and useful.

3. Assess the use case

Microlearning may also not be the correct learning method for every subject. This is the case if the subject matter is complex, requires in-depth study or calls for in-person training. That said, microlearning can continue to be a good tool for supplementary training to support macrolearning. As such, it's beneficial to see if you can create microlearning content to bolster the company's more in-depth courses.

4. Mix up the mediums

Psychologists have identified four different types of learners: visual, auditory, reading and kinaesthetic. To get the most of your microlearning materials it helps to create more than one option of learning. Design content using a mix of mediums and elements, such as video, audio, text and infographics. Doing this gives learners access to content best suited to their attention spans and takes advantage of the science behind learning, making the experience more engaging for a larger audience.

5. Keep it short

To keep time-pressured learners engaged be sure your content is not too long. Hit the average learner's attention sweet-spot [3] with microlearning nuggets that are between about two to five minutes in length. Create microlearning materials that are short and focused content that captures the essence of a subject.

6. Schedule content

There is typically an eagerness for employees to go through new material or for onboardees to learn everything about their new role and the company when they begin. When all the information is available at once, there is a risk that the information will not be retained. Instead, it is important to continue the momentum and maximise the knowledge transfer and microlearning material with time-released content, made available to learners at regular intervals.

7. Test frequently

To ensure that microlearning delivers its objectives and ROI, frequently verify that the learner has understood and retained the information from the microlearning module. This can easily be achieved by utilizing learning quizzes and tests to gauge understanding.

8. Make it enjoyable

Employees already respond better when they are enjoying what they're doing. Engagement, participation and knowledge retention can be increased if the content for microlearning study is compelling. Dry topics can be made more captivating with a little humour and levity. This makes the overall learning experience more enjoyable and motivating to return to.

9. Track progress

It is important for both employees as well as employers to track learning progress, albeit for different reasons. For employees, it builds a greater sense of achievement, which in turn feeds into motivation to continue learning. Employers are encouraged to use a platform that charts the overall progress, to be able to keep a record of participation, completion and acquired knowledge.

Microlearning Examples

Microcopy

Microcopies are highly contextual yet easy-to-digest messages that help users learn.

Examples of this great tool include error messages, contact form explainers, and eCommerce hints.

Microlearning videos

Microlearning videos are short videos with a specific learning outcome. This type of microlearning strategy can be given as a standalone lesson or one part of a microlearning course or learning path.

Videos offering highly engaging and interactive content promote better memory retention and a longer attention span.

Examples of Microlearning videos:

  • Explainer videos
  • Interactive videos
  • Micro-lectures
  • Whiteboard animations
  • Kinetic text-based animations


Microlearning Apps

There are many microlearning modules and learning materials now readily available to be downloaded on mobile devices. The online courses help reinforce knowledge on the go, allowing learners to study at their own pace.

Mobile learning examples:

  • Google
  • YouTube
  • Headspace
  • Lasting
  • Word of the Day
  • TED


Micro-challenges

One microlearning example that encourages learners to participate is through micro-games. Under this microlearning curriculum, learners are given scores at the end. These incentives may include an award, benefits, or badges for taking part or achieving a high score.

This type of microlearning works by encouraging learners to independently research any supplemental information that they may need for the job.

Examples:

  • Short quizzes
  • Polls
  • Simulations
  • Flashcards


Infographics

Infographics are one of the most traditional elearning tools made by instructional designers. Infographics are bite-sized courses that focus on key points and visual representations of relevant information that viewers need to learn a new skill, new knowledge, or new language in a short period of time.

Types of infographics:

  • Statistical
  • Informational
  • Timeline
  • Process
  • Geographic
  • Comparison
  • Hierarchical
  • List


Social Media

Social media is sometimes used as a microlearning tool where nuggets of information are offered by a certain stream of content. Social media can also be used to supplement microlearning courses through online communities of the same practice.

Examples of social media platforms:

  • Twitter
  • Wall Street Journal
  • LinkedIn
  • Reddit


Microlearning Courses Examples

Product Training

Getting information about a new or updated product out to your staff members is crucial, especially if you have branches across the globe.

Creating a product training video can help ensure that all your existing and new employees are receiving the same information about your products or services. It is also, by far, the most practical and traditional learning solution.

Onboarding Staff

Once a company hires a new worker, they still have to face the challenge of ensuring that the employee would not change his mind about accepting the offer.

One of the best ways to retain an employee is by sending them an interactive microlearning onboarding course to make them feel like part of the company even before they start.

Health and Safety Training

One of the benefits of microlearning is addressing or preventing any possible issues that your company may face. By offering health and safety training at a regular interval, you are assuring a healthy working environment where your employees can thrive.

Sales Training

If you need to train your staff members on what they can and cannot say to customers, you should consider mobile-based microlearning. You can send them operational guides and lessons in short bursts wherever they are in a snap.

Going for mobile-based microlearning gives your workers access to flexible learning as it allows them to view one lesson when they want, wherever they want. This may be during their lunch break or in between busy schedules.

Job Aids

Once in a while, it is good to introduce your employees to refresher courses. Spaced repetition of information essential to their jobs allows them to retain information easily and promote long term memory.

Key Benefits of Microlearning

Here are the most notable advantages of offering training through microlearning.

Prevent Cognitive Overload

Many learners find that receiving small bits of information instead of being asked to consume large quantities of knowledge helps them absorb and process all the key takeaways. Additionally, microlearning does not overburden a person's working memory, which is designed to hold a limited amount of information.

Customizable

Each microlearning course can be designed to take your employee's learning preferences into account. Some workers may retain information better through reading texts while others learn better through analyzing visual representations.

Saves Time and Money

Microlearning helps reduce corporate training costs and time, especially because the people inside the company produce their own content. Employees now have more opportunities to focus on their performance and skill gaps within their workplace.

Make Microlearning Work for Your Company

Translated literally, "micro" means small and "learning" stands for acquiring knowledge, understanding, studying. While "small learning" may not initially sound appealing, decades of irrefutable research show the principles and effectiveness of microlearning indicate that this is a misnomer. In fact, it has a huge impact on organisations who want to revolutionise their learning culture.

We believe that a mobile app delivering engaging content directly to the learner's mobile phone results in a highly effective learning experience and increased learner engagement. One of the key features of the Qualee platform is microlearning; supported by text, images, audio, documents and even video.

[1] https://www.campaign-for-learning.org.uk/cfl/assets/documents/Activitiesandworksheets/bitesize_law.pdf‍
[2] https://rapidlearninginstitute.com/news/rli-survey-bite-size-learning-hot-astd-conference-execution-lagging-back-home-front/
[3] https://www.skillshub.com/microlearning/getting-attention-millennials-microlearning/

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