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Where Does Microlearning Fit in Your Learning Strategy Q&A – Session 1

CommLab India, a global leader in offering technology-enabled learning solutions provider, is conducting a 4-part live webinar series on Microlearning. Conducted by Dr. Howard Lewis, Ph.D., CPT, the series focuses on providing instructional designers and learning technology experts, in-depth exposure on the practical implementation aspects of microlearning.

The first session of the webinar, Where Does Microlearning Fit in Your Learning Strategy? received an overwhelming response with participants from a wide range of industry verticals and training functions. in this blog post, we will look at the questions shared by participants in the webinar. They’ve been answered by Dr. Howard.

1. Getting Started with Microlearning

Q1. When we create modules for microlearning, what is the maximum length of one module? [Yusuf Basith] How long should an ideal microlearning session be? [Vusi Maseko]

There should not be an exact or maximum length to microlearning. Rather, focus on a single objective and let the nature of the task influence the length. That said, if it still “feels” too long (or you get initial feedback that it is too long), consider narrowing your focus.

For “microlearning” in general, it would be better to have multiple “micro” solutions than to have them be too long. You can always configure several solutions into an implementation strategy. 

Q2. Can we say that learning nuggets is microlearning? [Ajda Turk]

Yes, there is cross-over with this terminology. Please keep in mind the “Microlearning is Not” and “Critical Design Parameters” we reviewed. Short, creative, and focused on one objective.

Q3. How do you deal with aversion to change when your SMEs are used to 60-min online webinars? [Barbara Nunez]

Foster a strong, collaborative relationship with your SMEs and stakeholders. Look for an opportunity to create a prototype or proof-of-concept that would likely appeal to them. Also, find an ally with one of your SMEs that could help your experience.

Another possibility might be to “extract” a microlearning asset from one of your eLearning programs… then offer it as a refresher/reinforcement. That would help them start to see the value with including microlearning in your overall strategy.

Q4. What are the skills that need to be adopted to develop effective microlearning? [Anjana Varghese]

The skill set is essentially the same as for instructional design in general. To highlight a few critical areas, it is important to continually refine the ability to:

  • Determine (analyze) the appropriate objective that is aligned with the desired organizational results
  • Consult with stakeholders to communicate the value of the approach
  • Write performance-based objectives
  • Design create instructional techniques
  • Develop knowledge and performance-based assessment questions

 2. Design and Development

Q1. So is microlearning necessarily modular in design? [Lourdes Covach]

Microlearning is short and focused by design and best suited to addressing a single learning objective. Microlearning is most likely even smaller than a “modular” design. Microlearning solutions would fit well as learning assets inside of modules.

Q2. We are doing a 4-part ILT course … they are spaced 3-weeks apart (over 12 weeks) … thinking of using Microlearning to introduce chunks of the content in between the ILT sessions. [Lori Skinner]

Excellent idea! Learning experiences (and retrieval practice) spaced over time is very effective. You can create microlearning solutions that can, for example:

  • Generate interest and excitement
  • Introduce the topic
  • Stimulate prior knowledge recall
  • Establish a base of new knowledge
  • Reinforce critical learning after ILT elements
  • Refresh knowledge (memory retrieval practice)

Q3. A video that is to the point and short in time, addresses an immediate need, not many needs – is it microlearning? [David Klein]

Excellent! Yes, short and focused on a single objective for a critical organizational/business need. Better to create multiple microlearning solutions and implement over time, than trying to do too much with just one.

Q4. Microlearning seems to be most appropriate when teaching a specific skill or absolute facts, but I’m not sure it would apply when a judgement behavior is needed. [Lourdes Covach]

If desired carefully, I think there would be an opportunity for microlearning when guiding/supporting the development of judgement behavior.

For example, you could focus on the principles associated with the judgement; demonstrate and role model good and bad judgment; and, use realistic and relevant case scenarios with embedded decision gates to practice applying their judgement.

Q5. Can microlearning be used for the understanding of complex concepts in step by step chunks? [Mukesh Jaswal]

Yes! Microlearning could be used to illustrate the overall process (for instance, with an infographic or concept animation) as well as the individual steps. If a step-by-step approach accurately represents the desired performance, then you would be teaching a procedure (where the procedure is done exactly the same way, in the same order, every time).

Microlearning can also be used to show examples of how the procedure is completed as well as assess learners’ knowledge.

Q6. Could we consider this hierarchy – eLearning made of mobile learning modules and in the third level, each mobile learning made of microlearning contents? [Farzad Sanati]

The concept of creating learning experiences in a hierarchy (progressively more complex) can be very valuable. Microlearning solutions could be used at each level and be made accessible through mobile devices (as well as desktops, laptops, and tablets).

Targeting a single objective and being appropriate to the nature of the content and desired performance is critical to the effectiveness of a strategy that leverages a hierarchical approach.

3. Learning Analytics 

Q1. What analytics can be gathered other than access and finished? [Lourdes Covach]

Here are a few metrics to consider monitoring and/or measuring:

  • Frequency of use
  • Duration of use
  • Embedded click (for example, hotspots) usage
  • Item analysis on question-based interactions
  • Social actions such as liking and sharing

Join us for Session 4: Harnessing the Power of Learning Analytics for Microlearning, on September 07, 2017 11:30 am – 12:30 pm Eastern, to learn more.

Q2. How do you evaluate the success of microlearning initiatives? [Desiree Westdorp]

If you carefully align your solutions with the desired organizational results, then you can evaluate impact against those results (before and after). This can be done informally and/or formally.

You can also measure the learning that took place. Perhaps a direct approach might be to ask your stakeholders: “This microlearning solution will be successful if ______________?”

Q3. Should microlearning sessions be monitored live? [Vusi Maseko]

This could depend on the type of microlearning you have created and how you have deployed it. In general, microlearning is usually intended to be self-directed (learn on your own). And, they can be blended with live experiences (for instance, in a webinar, virtual classroom, or face-to-face classroom).

For pilot testing, it is great to observe participants live and then have a debrief discussion to gather information and feedback that can help you refine your solution.

4. Applications and Examples

Q1. Isn’t YouTube a great example of microlearning for the public? [David Klein]

There are many types of microlearning, and short concise video can be very effective; especially for demonstrating anything that involves motion and where a strong emotional impact is needed.

Q2. So far, I have heard microlearning used for the benefit of the corporation and employees but…. does this work in a school setting to teach any subject? [Ramon Talavera]

Absolutely! Well-designed microlearning can be very effective for all subjects and learners of all ages.

Q3. Can we use microlearning in our regular classroom? [Saba Khalil Toor]

Yes! Microlearning solutions can be extremely effective in a classroom (particularly because you can design them in such a way as to ensure 100% participation) as well as part of an overall, blended approach (think… Before, During, and After the classroom).

Where Does Microlearning Fit in Your Learning Strategy?