The term “Microlearning” was coined recently. It is known by several pseudonyms such as “nanolearning”, “minilearning”, “knowledge nuggets”, “coursels” and so on. Predominantly, we relate microlearning to byte-sized learning or think of it as small, compact learning modules…right? Microlearning is focused and delivers the right amount of information that justifies one learning objective at a time.
Why the Paradigm Shift from Traditional E-learning to Microlearning?
The paradigm shift came from the client side. Earlier, clients were happy with e-learning courses; of late, they made a little tweak in their requirement and state “We want short learning modules compatible with all devices. The duration for each learning module should not exceed 3 minutes.” They justify their present requirement saying employees are busy and prefer just-in-time learning. Gone are the days of tedious training sessions, epic training modules; all are replaced by something entertaining with micro-content.
The Anatomy of Microlearning Standards
A thorough anatomy of microlearning standards is a must to understand this phenomenon. Serious thought must be given to every element used in microlearning. The main components to consider are:
1. Title: The title you choose is important, says Mark Clare of Purdue Healthcare Advisors, because it will determine how your employees approach the resource and even whether they will engage with it at all. Clare recommends a simple formula: “Tell employees what this thing is and what it will do for them.” An example might be “Using Social Media to Improve Customer Service.”
2. Body and Instructional Materials: A best practice is to deliver one learning objective per micro module. Instructional materials include intentional, engaged learning activities such as visual elements, scenarios, demonstrations, etc. to achieve the greatest impact in the shortest amount of time.
The intent of microlearning is to transfer knowledge to the learner to understand a specific concept, to problem-solve or make decisions, and that too in a very short interval of time. Instructions within the course should be precise and participants should have the ease to navigate through the program with ease.
3. Qualified Assessments: Satisfactory completion criterion of a module can be based on the client requirement. While most programs need learners to score 80% in the assessment, certain subjects such as compliance might require a 100% to pass.
Assessments may include different question patterns (multiple choice, rank order, and matching, etc.). For a microlearning program (with one learning objective) you can include two questions. “True or false” questions are not preferred in the qualified assessment. If a learner fails, he/she has to retake the assessment; the number of re-attempts is at the client’s discretion.
Explanatory feedback must be provided for each incorrect response. It should state why the response is wrong. Reinforcement feedback must be provided for correct attempts.
Keep the learning going, on-the-go
A recent Aberdeen Group report, “Best Practice: Microlearning Helps Employees Re-learn Concepts Quickly,” states, “Microlearning is best used by employees when they have a challenge that needs an immediate resolution, or when they’re facing an issue and can’t really remember what’s what….Microlearning presents a wonderful opportunity for organizations/ employers to more easily allow employees to resolve challenges on their own.” (Source: Aberdeen)
Most importantly, your learners are NOT kids – they don’t need constant supervision and guidance. They seek autonomy when it comes to learning. Again, microlearning is more conducive to constant changes and updates in content. Funneling contents in digestible bites make it easy to update content as and when required. Thus, your learners get the benefit of updated info all the time.
To summarize, microlearning enables learners use assets that address their current needs in a handy and engaging manner. As a whole, it improves job efficiencies and it is recommended to follow microlearning standards to improve the effectiveness of the program. Utilize microlearning to its fullest as it meets the requirements of decentralized workforces. But remember, whenever you think of microlearning, spare a moment to think of the following:
- The kind of content you want to include
- The technology available for your training
- The target audience
Forbes (2015) said that by 2020 the millennial generation will be 46% of the working population but they have short attention spans and are super confidant and digitally driven.
Grovo (2015) a mobile e-learning platform says 60% of millennial generation will leave their workplace within 3 years. Keeping this generation involved in their learning particularly through micro-learning courses which can be accessed anytime anywhere will promote learning on a daily basis and keep them engaged with their own career development. It will justify their purpose inside the organisation. (Source: Memberwise)