How many times have you struggled to find time to schedule meetings with team members both in and out of your organizations due to their ever-increasingly, busy schedules? How many times has this happened because a team member was scheduled to attend a mandatory training workshop?
It often seems that many agenda items on someone’s calendar can be shifted around, except for scheduled mandatory training. Why is this the case?
Education and learning programs within organizations serve a variety of functions, including the establishment of an employee professional development process, ensuring compliance with organizational and regulatory rules, and increasing levels of employee engagement.
Training, however, can be expensive in terms of employee time, the actual out-of-pocket cost of the training, and the sometimes murky return on investment. This is largely a function of how training is delivered. Too often there are constraints on the number of seats available for mandatory training, which requires employees to hold entire days far in advance in order to attend training. For instructor-led training, it may involve a half-day or one or more full days of employees’ time to sit through the training.
Additionally, there is the question of determining how much information an employee retained during the training workshop and what the overall return on investment for time-consuming instructor-led training looks like. Blended and online courses have similar challenges regarding the length of time that employees must devote to the training, their attention span, and their retention of the information. These challenges can be lessened with microlearning. Microlearning is a method of delivering content to learners in small, very specific elements.
Benefits of Microlearning
There are several benefits of microlearning, including:
- Microlearning allows learners to work through content at their own pace.
- It allows learners to stay in the work environment without the distraction of having to take an entire day off of work
- With microlearning, smaller amounts of information are easier to learn, can be applied immediately to the learner’s job, and are more easily retained, which is the overall goal of training.
- In an increasingly mobile and media rich world, microlearning increases employee engagement with the organization’s education and learning program.
Tips for Successful Microlearning
Here are five tips for developing a successful microlearning program.
- Be specific about learning objectives. For each burst of learning, clearly indicate what learning should take place, and do not include multiple learning objectives. The more content you cram into a module, the more likely you are going to lose your audience.
- Be concise. The whole point of microlearning is to get straight to the point of what the learning objectives are. Microlearning modules should be less than five minutes in length from beginning to end. This reinforces the creation of very specific learning objectives and lets the learner complete a module at convenient periods of time during the day, hopefully at a time when the learner has an opportunity to apply what she or he has learned.
- Be intuitive. The design of a microlearning module should be easy for the learner to use and intuitive enough for the learner to want to use the platform. If your modules are not intuitive, you are going to lose your audience before they even begin.
- Assess often. It’s important to build in assessment of learning shortly after the completion of each microlearning module. You want to see what the learner has retained from the learning, and you want to motivate the learner to apply and retain the information rather than just checking off the module as completed.
- Be creative. Learning is not a one-time event. Instead, it is something that is iterative in nature. Be creative in how the module is developed and even more creative in how the learning is assessed. For instance, instead of asking a series of multiple choice questions on the learning outcomes, ask learners to apply what they learned to a real life circumstance in their organization.
Too often, education and learning is seen as a scheduling burden for employees within organizations. This is due to the time away from their teams, potentially time away from their families, and concern that they may not get anything out of the training workshops.
Microlearning solutions keep employees with their teams and allows employees to apply what they have learned, which increases the retention of information and provides a better return on investment for limited training dollars.
What applications for microlearning do you have in your organization?
CATMEDIA is an award-winning Inc. 500 company based in Atlanta, Georgia. Founded in 1997, the company specializes in advertising, creative services, media production, program management, training, and human resource management. As a Women Owned Small Business (WOSB), CATMEDIA provides world-class customer service and innovative solutions to government and commercial clients. Current CATMEDIA clients include Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), Office of Personnel Management (OPM), and the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA).