In this article, we’ll explore how micro-learning can be used to engage learners in a responsive, engaging way.
We’ll also give you some tips on how to create and deliver micro-learning content.
What is microlearning?
Micro-learning (ML) consists in small but powerful learning experiences that enable people to pick up new skills more quickly.
Micro-learning experiences are bite-sized pieces of content that are convenient to consume and easy to apply.
When done well, micro-learning helps people to retain new skills because it’s concise, relevant, and easy to understand.
It’s an effective way to engage learners, especially when they’re short on time or attention.
Micro-learning can be used in a variety of ways, but it’s especially well-suited for mobile learning.
For example, a course on public speaking might have a micro-learning module on how to deal with stage fright.
The module might discuss the physiology of fear and how your brain responds to certain stimuli.
It could go into detail about how to control your breathing to calm your nerves. It might recommend practicing your speech in front of a mirror.
It could also have tips on how to mentally prepare for your presentation.
The point here is that you have a variety of options when it comes to selecting topics for your micro-learning module. It doesn’t have to be something directly related to the topic of the course. It just needs to be something that will help your students in their everyday lives.
Or a course designed for salespeople about how to close a sale might include a micro-learning module on how to ask for the sale. This can be a quick tip like “Ask the question you want answered with a pause for the other person to respond.” or “Use active language like ‘What can I do for you?’ instead of ‘What do you want?’”.
By breaking down the concept of asking for the sale into bite-sized pieces, your team members will be more likely to remember it and use it in their daily sales activities.
Similarly, a course for managers on how to delegate tasks might have a micro-learning module on how to receive feedback from employees during the delegation process.
Or, a course for customer service representatives about how to handle customer complaints might include a micro-learning module on how to apologize for an error. In this way, micro-learning is designed to give learners just the right amount of information to help them master a particular skill.
Micro-learning is also known as micro-courses and nanodegree programs. Nanodegrees are part of the micro-l earning movement and were originally developed by Udacity, an online education provider. Since then, other providers have made nanodegrees available, including Coursera and Udemy.
Microlearning for various objectives
As a support to blended learning
Microlearning can be used as a support to blended learning by providing short and focused learning experiences that can supplement larger and more comprehensive learning experiences.
For instance, it can be used to:
- introduce new concepts,
- reinforce key ideas,
- provide practice opportunities
- assess learners knowledge acquisition and retention
- gamify the blended learning experience
in a way that is convenient and engaging for learners.
When used in conjunction with other instructional methods, ML can help learners make progress towards their goals more efficiently and effectively.
For continuous and just-in-time learning
By using ML, you can help ensure that your employees are able to quickly and easily update their knowledge base.
Microlearning in a must-have to update all frontline workers working in remote sites (those on the field, in contact with customers or patients) on information they need on a daily basis:
- retail employees: for new product updates (features, sales pitch etc), changes in stores layout
- healthcare workers: updates on medicines, crisis management, compliance
- front-desk workers: new procedures
As they are usually delivered on mobile devices (smartphones, tablets), microlearning contents are particularly adapted for these sectors.
To facilitate digital adoption
Microlearning can be used to facilitate digital adoption in a number of ways:
- To introduce a new software: onboarding, main features
- To provide tips on how to use applications: think of the in-app software assistants
- To reinforce concepts that have already been learned in a classroom environment
- To encourage usage: think of the CRM for sales reps
How is micro-learning different from traditional elearning?
Micro-learning is unlike a typical elearning course in many ways.
First of all, it’s small in size; usually it’s comprised of three to seven short modules with each module containing 2–5 minutes of content.
Second, it’s easy to use; learners can pick up new skills from their mobile devices or desktops whenever they have time to pay attention, which means that the learner can learn at his or her own pace and anywhere he or she wants: on the train in the morning before work, between meetings during lunch hour, or even late at night before going to bed.
It’s also convenient for learners because they don’t need a lot of time away from work or family commitments; plus, they can fit in a few new skills while doing something else such as commuting to work on the train or walking around the office during lunch break.
Micro-learning helps people learn how to do something immediately after completing a module so that they can put their new skills into practice right away.
What Are The Benefits Of Microlearning?
Microlearning is faster to create and consume
Microlearning helps learners to retain information for longer. It also makes the course easier to digest.
The easiest way to create microlearning is to use an outline with headings.
Once you have an outline, you can start adding details under each of the headings.
You can turn each heading into a video or article.
When you are done, you will have created a microlearning course.
The best way to consume microlearning is to read or watch each of the small chunks one at a time.
As each chunk is easier to process, you will find that you can easily understand it.
Microlearning is cheaper to deploy
Most companies will deploy ML to be consumed on smartphones or expensive tablets, using microlearning applications.
But sometimes it is necessary to be even more ubiquitous, using text-based microlearning lessons.
That’s what EY did to deliver vital courses to hard-to-reach locations. Using technology from Arist, they impacted over 9,500 lives.
And this can be replicated in crisis management situations in zones where data coverage is non-existent.
Microlearning is more flexible: anytime, anywhere
Remember the anytime/anywhere approach of mobile learning ? Well, microlearning is the perfect complement
Microlearning is more Engaging
Microlearning Boosts Knowledge Retention
Microlearning Enables personalized learning
Each learner can receive customized content that is tailored to their specific needs.
Unlike with classroom or distant presential elearning, learners can elect the content they are interested in and skip the topics they are more familiar with.
Microlearning Encourages continuous learning
Rapid authoring means agile learning
What Are The Limitations Of Microlearning?
Microlearning is Not Ideal For Complex Concepts
Microlearning is Not Suited For In-Depth Training
Microlearning is takes work and resources to maintain
Scaling personalized content is not easy
Microlearning’s Accessibility issues
Microlearning Best Practices
Define Clear outcomes & goals
Make it short !
Remember: micro means small. So the best way to create microlearning is to break up information into small chunks. The ideal length for a microlearning lesson is between 20 and 50 words. You can create a series of videos or write articles about a topic.
Use multimedia at its best
surely You have experienced it with elearning contents: the more you use videos, animations or even short audios, the more sticky is your content.
Always remember that your content will primarily be consumed on a mobile screen, so keep all texts shorts and written in big letters !
Boost microlearning Engagement with Gamification
When you think of gamification, you might imagine your favorite video games. But gamification can be a powerful tool to engage learners in microlearning experiences. The key is to tap into the psychology of why we love games. Games are fun and engaging, but they also provide immediate feedback that helps us learn and improve our performance. And games are social—we can play with other people and compare our scores.
Microlearning experiences that incorporate gamification can boost learner engagement by providing immediate feedback and social interaction. Gamification can also help learners see the connection between their learning and real-world outcomes. For example, a microlearning experience could include a game that simulates a work task. As learners complete the task, they receive feedback on their performance. This feedback can help them see how their learning is directly related to real-world results.
When designing microlearning experiences, consider incorporating some elements of gamification. You don’t need to create an entire game; even simple elements like leaderboards or badges can boost engagement and motivation.
Make it Social with Collaborative Learning
How can you make microlearning more social? Turn it into a collaborative learning experience. Collaborative learning is the process of working together with others to increase individual understanding and mastery of content. Here are some tips for turning your microlearning into a collaborative learning experience:
1. Create a community of learners
Encourage your learners to connect with each other and create a community of learners. This can be done through online forums, social media groups, or in-person meetups.
2. Encourage interaction and discussion
Encourage your learners to interact with each other and discuss the content they are learning. This can be done through online forums, social media groups, or in-person meetups.
3. Use collaboration tools
There are many collaboration tools available that can help you facilitate collaborative learning experiences. Some popular options include Google Docs, Slack, Trello, and Asana.
4. Make it fun!
Make sure your microlearning is engaging and fun! This will help encourage your learners to participate and interact with each other.
Add recurring content and repetitions in your microlearning experience
When creating microlearning experiences, it is important to consider how content and activities will be repeated throughout the experience. This will help ensure that learners are able to effectively engage with and learn from the content.
One way to repeat content is to have learners complete activities multiple times. This can be done by having them complete the same activity more than once or by providing different versions of the same activity. Additionally, you can provide feedback after each activity to help learners understand what they did well and what they need to work on.
Another way to repeat content is to provide summaries or review sessions at the end of each day or week. This will help learners recall what they have learned and identify any areas that they need to review. Additionally, you can provide resources (such as handouts or links to websites) that learners can use to review content on their own time.
Assess and Reward your (micro)learners frequently
Assess and Reward your (micro)learners frequently
Make sure to assess and reward your microlearners frequently in order to keep them motivated and engaged. Try to use a variety of assessment methods, such as quizzes, polls, and surveys, to get a well-rounded picture of their understanding. And don’t forget to give them feedback on their progress!
Applications of microlearning in corporate education
Best for employee Onboarding
You can create a new onboarding program that is easier to follow, less stressful and more fun to engage your new hires.
During the onboarding process, you can use microlearning to educate your new hires on how to do their job and how the company operates.
You can embed these lessons into a series of short videos or blog posts that are easy to consume even if someone is on the go.
For example, let’s say you have a new hire who is responsible for handling customer service calls.
During this onboarding process, you can use microlearning to train the new hire how to handle certain types of calls, how to field certain types of questions, and how to handle different types of customers.
Train your sales teams
Microlearning is very convenient to train salespeople on a product or service sales pitch by breaking the pitch down into small, manageable parts.
For example, the sales pitch could be broken down into the following microlessons:
1. Introduction to the product
2. The benefits of the product
3. The features of the product
4. How to use the product
5. The price of the product
6. Closing the sale
Make Compliance training more appealing
Microlearning can be used for compliance and risks training in a few different ways.
One way is to use microlearning modules to provide employees with just-in-time training on specific risks they may face in their job.
For example, if an employee is about to enter a customer’s home, you could provide a microlearning module that covers the specific risks associated with that situation.
Another way to use microlearning for compliance and risks training is to create a library of microlearning modules that employees can access as needed.
This could include modules on topics such as data security, sexual harassment, and workplace safety.
Employees can then complete the modules at their own pace and on their own time.
This approach is especially helpful for employees who have difficulty taking time out of their busy schedules for traditional training sessions.
Make your Frontline workers’ life easier
Some benefits of microlearning for frontline workers include:
1. Increased Engagement and Retention
Frontline workers are often bombarded with information and may have difficulty retaining everything they need to know. Microlearning can help increase engagement and retention by breaking down information into manageable chunks.
2. Increased Flexibility
Frontline workers often have erratic schedules and may not be able to commit to traditional, long-term training programs. Microlearning can provide training that is more flexible and can be accessed on-demand.
3. Improved Job Performance
By providing targeted and relevant training, microlearning can help improve job performance by ensuring that frontline workers have the skills and knowledge they need to do their jobs effectively.
4. Reduced Training Costs
Microlearning can be a more cost-effective training solution than traditional, long-term training programs. This is because microlearning requires less time commitment from learners and can be delivered electronically, which reduces delivery costs.
Microlearning content types
Microlearning apps or mobile apps
Micro-challenges are short tasks usually between 5–15 minutes that help learners to practice the skills they have learned during the course. They can be both social (group challenges) or individual (individual challenges). Games are usually designed around a storyline and a set of rules. When learners complete the game they receive a prize. What they learn during the game is not really important; it is more about the experience and the fun of the game.
Depending on the type of course you’re taking, you may come across micro-challenges during the course or at the end of the course. Many courses designed for business use come with a set of micro-challenges to help you apply what you’ve learned in the real world. When you complete a set of micro-challenges, you usually receive a certificate.
Gamification is a big part of the learning experience as it makes it more fun. Various games can be used, including:
- Quiz: A quiz can be used as a microlearning challenge. It can be used to test knowledge or to assess understanding of a concept.
- Scavenger hunt: A scavenger hunt can be used to reinforce learning by having learners search for specific items or information.
- Word search: A word search can help learners identify key vocabulary terms related to a topic.
- Crossword puzzle: A crossword puzzle can help learners review and remember key information related to a topic.
- Hangman: Hangman can be used as a way to review spelling, grammar, or vocabulary words related to a topic.
Social features in microlearning can include things like social media integration, allowing users to share content with each other, or even adding a social element to the learning experience itself by incorporating game mechanics or competition.
These features allow learners to interact with each other and share knowledge through microlearning content. These features can be as simple as allowing users to rate and comment on courses, or as complex as allowing experts to host AMA style courses and answer questions from learners.
Benefits of social learning include:
- Employees feel empowered when helping their colleagues
- Knowledge retention is higher when interacting with others on a learning content
- Learners can become teachers, when sharing their own knowledge or field experience
- Collaborations can emerge from sharing a training
There are two main reasons to use social features in your microlearning content.
First, they allow your learners to help one another out by answering each other’s questions. Someone reading your content will likely have a question that hasn’t been covered yet, so allowing learners to comment on each other’s posts allows them to collaborate.
Second, social features allow you to gather data about how your learners are using your microlearning content. You can see which topics are most popular, which courses are most engaging, and you can use this data to better inform your future content development.
Some social features you can integrate into your microlearning include polls, discussion boards, and social media integration.
Polls are a great way to let your learners express their thoughts and feelings about a topic, or even ask them to rate a certain lesson.
Discussions boards enable your employees to discuss topics with one another and collaborate on projects.
Social media integration allows your learners to share their favourite lessons with their social media networks, such as Facebook, Twitter, or LinkedIn.
What to look for in a microlearning platform ?
It must be Mobile first
Microlearning and mobile learning work hand in hand. Therefore, makke sure the plaform you choose offers these features:
- a custom mobile application
- or a least a responsive design, that adapt to different screen sizes
- mobile-first navigation features
- short loading times
As microlearning’s success relies heavily on gaming features, make sure your platform offers as many of the following as possible:
- quizz: single and multiple answer
- point systems to track learners’ success
- leaderboards to enhance competition
- prizes, rewards, recognitions
- interactive progress bars
Integrated authoring tool
The more integrated your platform is, the better, as it guarantees consistency in content delivery.
Templates (peer learning)