How to Make Your Microlearning Courses Short & Sweet

Jan 29, 2021 10:20:38 AM

Training & learning

Microlearning is the future of frontline employee training - it’s convenient, cost-effective and proven to help people retain information better.

But simply splitting content into chunks doesn’t necessarily make it easier to retain. For microlearning to be an effective training strategy, employers must put themselves in their employees’ shoes and think about what will actually work best for them.

With the right strategy, microlearning could be the best thing you ever do for your frontline employees. Here are 6 key things to keep in mind to help make your training courses short and sweet.

#1 Center each session around one piece of knowledge 

Because microlearning sessions are so short and snappy, it can be tempting to try and stuff as much information as possible into each one for efficiency. 

But that defeats the purpose of microlearning. It should be all about making training easily digestible, and trying to make learners take in too much information at once will only result in cognitive overload.

Each individual session should be centred around one piece of key knowledge that learners can then actively apply at the end. That could be achieved through a quiz, a mini-game, or a short practical task to help them put their learning into practice. 

#2 Give each session a clear purpose

When implementing any new business strategy, it’s important to have a clear set of objectives in mind. Microlearning is no different.

For each microlearning session you create, you should ask yourself what behaviors, skills and business outcomes you want your employees to learn. 

And as for the employees themselves, they should also be given a clear learning objective at the beginning of each session. They should know exactly what will be expected of them, and what they will have learned by the end.

When setting the objective for a course, remember that it should be attainable, and should result in a behavioral change in your frontline employees.

#3 Make it as simple as possible

Did you know that the average adult attention span is less than 15 minutes?

With that in mind, it’s clear that if you want learners to actually retain a new piece of information, it should be presented to them in the simplest possible format.

That means mastering the art of distilling vague or complex topics into easily understandable, bite-sized chunks. It’s not an easy task, but it helps if you really take the time to understand your target audience and let that inform your strategy. Knowing exactly what resonates with your workforce enables you to cut through the unnecessary clutter and drive engagement.

#4 Stagger training to improve retention

The addictive, game-like nature of microlearning courses means that it can sometimes feel like the aim is to complete courses and move onto the next topic as quickly as possible.

But according to Ebbinghaus’ Forgetting Curve, 50% of knowledge is forgotten the next day, and 90% is forgotten after a week. That means that if you want employees to retain what they’ve learned, that knowledge should be reinforced with repeat sessions. 

A great microlearning content strategy doesn’t just take into account the quantity and quality of content you give your employees, but also its frequency. 

How often you repeat certain concepts is up to you, of course, but it’s important to strike the right balance. Spacing courses out too much might not be an effective way to consolidate knowledge, but repeating lessons too often is likely to disengage them from their learning altogether.

#5 Get your priorities straight

Which skills are the most important for your employees’ day to day activities? Which concepts fit most closely with your company values? 

The possibilities for training are endless with microlearning, so before deciding on their learning content, employers need to think carefully about their top priorities. 

Microlearning sessions should only last a few minutes, so you have to get to the point straight away. The session should focus solely on need-to-know information; as an added extra, you can provide an optional “further reading” section that learners can explore in their own time if they want to.

This is where microlearning really shines when done right. Hyper-focused training sessions teach learners what they need to know right away, and HQ is forced to trim the fat on some of their core concepts.

#6 Make content engaging and varied

Last but certainly not least, microlearning content is no good to an employer unless their employees actually engage with it! 

Gamification is a buzz word you’re likely to have heard a lot over the past couple of years, but it really is the most effective way of engaging your frontline teams. Tapping into the addictive nature of gaming and social media is a surefire way to keep employees coming back for more.

It’s also important to vary the kind of content you put out, so that your users don’t lose interest. Most people are visual learners - in fact, the human brain processes images 60,000 times faster than text.

Using a combination of photos, videos, infographics, GIFs and short demonstrations will provide the kind of variety needed to turn every employee into an engaged learner.

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