What is Microlearning? Why is Microlearning important? More and more organizations are choosing microlearning for training their employees and offer timely reinforcement. However, for it to be received well by learners, proper microlearning design is essential. Simply dividing an eLearning course into smaller nuggets won’t do. This blog discusses the 9 critical characteristics for effective microlearning design.
9 critical characteristics for effective microlearning design
- Should be aligned with the desired organizational results
- Should be based on a single, clear performance-based objective
- Should be short and focused
- Should be tied to an overall learning/performance strategy
- Can be “pushed” (directed) or made available – “pull” (just-in-time)
- Should provide inherent value to the learner (WIIFM)
- Should be realistic and relevant
- Should be creative, intriguing, and inspirational
- Should be easily accessible
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 it as the accessibility is more and the engagement level is increased. Microlearning targets and addresses specific topics, therefore it is used for just-in-time learning. It also improves the effectiveness of learning.
What are the Characteristics of Effective Microlearning Design?
When it comes to microlearning design, here are nine 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 learning objective, which will result in the desired organizational result.
When microlearning 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 through the microlearning course. This will ensure that the microlearning module is aligned.
2. Should Be Based on a Single, Clear Performance-Based Objective Learning Objective
In microlearning design, 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 skill.
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. Microlearning modules are specifically designed to address a need or issue of a learner. Therefore, keep them short.
4. Should Be Tied to an Overall Learning/Performance Strategy
When designing 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. Microlearning Can Be “Pushed” (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 of what they can expect from it. It should make the What’s In It For Me (WIIFM) apparent to learners. They need to know why they are being assigned 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 will be better able to relate to the module and be more successful in their responsibilities. In the end, it also benefits the organization.
8. Microlearning Design Should Be Creative, Intriguing, and Inspirational!
Microlearning design has to be creative, if it has to engage learners. 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. Microlearning can also in designed in various digital formats such as videos, infographics, podcasts, animations, and eBooks to appeal to learners. But remember, form should always follow the function.
9. Should Be Easily Accessible
Regardless of the device they use, learners should be able to access the microlearning module with ease. They should not have to search to find the solution or the microlearning module. Especially when learners access the courses from an LMS or the intranet, they should be available without a lot of effort. When micro modules are not easily accessible, they lose interest and move away, and the utility is lost.
If you keep these characteristics in mind while designing microlearning modules, it will surely enhance the learning experience you can offer your learners. Microlearning is easily accessible, and learners are not tied down to complete lengthy courses. Do you have more to add to this list of these design characteristics? Do share in the comments section below.