10 Critical Design Characteristics of Microlearning

10 Critical Design Characteristics of Microlearning

What is Microlearning? Why is Microlearning important? What are its critical design characteristics? More and more organizations are choosing microlearning to train their employees and offer timely reinforcement. Microlearning is well-received by learners as it is provided in short bursts and increase the chances of knowledge tention. In this blog, we will look at the 10 critical design characteristics of microlearning.

What is Microlearning?

Microlearning is not just a buzzword. Microlearning is a flexible learning approach that can be used in a variety of ways to enhance individual and organizational performance.

Why is Microlearning Important?

As microlearning is presented in short, bite-sized bursts, organizations prefer this as the accessibility is more and the engagement level is increased. It targets and addresses specific topics, therefore it is used for just-in-time learning. It also improves the effectiveness of learning.

What are Microlearning’s Critical Design Characteristics?

What are Microlearning’s critical design characteristics?When it comes to microlearning, here are what I believe to be ten very critical design considerations.

1. Should Be Aligned with the Desired Organizational Results

This is one of the main concerns of stakeholders. You need to list out what you want your learners to achieve at the end of the course. For that, you need to align the content with one objective, which will result in the desired organizational result.

When design and development are tied to the objective, it drives the desired organizational results. Once results are achieved, it further translates into the desired performance of employees. Make a list of the results to be achieved with the microlearning course. This will ensure that the microlearning module is aligned.

2. Should Be Based on a Single, Clear Performance-Based Objective and/or Enabling Knowledge Objective

In Microlearning, the focus should always be on a single clear objective. You need to create a learning path that will ensure that your focus is on one aspect of a topic that needs to be delivered to the learner. Or, it should focus on enabling a knowledge objective that leads to the application of that particular knowledge or performance. Our Train The Trainer course is an example of how focusing on a single objective can enhance the learning experience.

2. Should Be Based on a Single, Clear Performance-Based Objective and/or Enabling Knowledge Objective

3. Should be Short and Focused

As I mentioned earlier, Microlearning is short and it focuses on a single aspect. When done right, it can be of real help to learners to get the needed knowledge, at the right time. They are specifically designed to address a need or issue of a learner. Therefore, keep it short.

4. Should Be Tied to an Overall Learning/Performance Strategy 

When developing a microlearning module, you need to keep in mind that it is not just a bunch of disparate objects flooding an already crowded space for learners. It has to be tied to an overall learning objective or a specific performance strategy. When microlearning is specifically tied to learning objectives or performance strategies, they help address different learning styles and preferences that learners have.

5. Can Be Delivered – “Push” (directed) or Made Available – “Pull” (just-in-time)

There is no one way to deliver a microlearning course. It can be Pushed – to employees to address specific organizational needs. It could be pushing out content when certain topics are to be covered. It could also be delivered as just-in-time information – Pull – when learners access the information at the time of need. It could be given as a refresher or to provide updates.

6. Should Provide Inherent Value to the Learner (WIIFM) 

From the design standpoint, it is essential that the microlearning module has inherent value and that it is clear to the learner and that they understand what can expect from the course. It should make the WIIFM apparent to the learners. They need to know why they are being given a particular module.

7. Should Be Realistic and Relevant 

It is highly essential that a microlearning module is realistic and relevant to learners. It should focus on the job performance of learners and be tied to their roles and responsibilities. When it is realistic and relevant, learners are better able to relate to the module and will be more successful in their responsibilities. In the end, it also benefits the organization.

8. Should Be Creative, Intriguing, and Inspirational!

If you want your learners to be drawn in, your microlearning module needs to be creative. Learners need to be intrigued to know what they can get from the course. When they are intrigued, they are inspired to learn more and understand more. This increases learner participation, which helps in boosting their job performance.

9. Should Be Appropriate to the Objective and Intended Performance

In simple words, the nature of microlearning should fit the objective, content, and performance. For instance, if your objective is to demonstrate the working of a machine, you could use a micro video to enable learners understand the concepts better. When you use the video for product demonstration, it is critical to the objective. There are other formats that can be used to demonstrate the objectives and intended performance expectations.

10. Should Be Easily Accessible

Regardless of the device, learners should be able to access the microlearning module with ease. They should not have to search and search to find the solution or the microlearning module. Especially when learners access the courses from an LMS or the intranet, it should be available without a lot of effort. When it is not easily accessible, they lose interest and move away. If it available easily, they can take advantage of it and learn with ease.

If you keep these design characteristics in mind while developing microlearning modules, it will surely enhance the learning experience that you can give your learners. Microlearning is easily accessible, and learners are not tied down to complete courses. Do you have more to add to this list of design characteristics? Do share in the comments section below.

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