‘Designing a microlearning experience is simply the easiest process. My team just requires to chunk the learning topics into smaller duration’.
This is one of the biggest myths that has led to several misconceptions about microlearning as a learning strategy in the. Microlearning is not just chunking of the learning content but is a well-planned process, which requires an equal involvement of the SMEs as well as Instructional Designers and organizations should be very careful in the approach of designing microlearning modules.
Before diving deep into the subject, let us quickly have a look at the advantages of microlearning:
- Microlearning can fit into the busy schedules of the millennials.
- Microlearning content is absorbed quickly and hence does not lead to cognitive overload.
- Microlearning is on time or just in time learning as the learner can access the content when required
- Often produces higher engagement rates an improved retention because learners can focus on one topic/learning objective at a time
Let’s now look into the best practices to design microlearning
1.Analyse if the learning content can be converted to microlearning
The first best practice for designing a microlearning experience starts with the analysis of the learning content.
The learning content should be analyzed for flow, linkages, duration, examples etc.
The Instructional Designers should avoid converting every training module to the microlearning formats as it may fail in achieving the learning objectives.
For example, a content, which is spread over sixty to eighty pages might not be easy to chunk and convert it into microlearning format.
Hence, I recommend understanding the learning objective first and analyze the learning gap to make sure that microlearning is the best strategy to be followed.
2.Divide the learning content so that each chunk meets a single learning objective
Chunking down the learning content as said earlier is never an easy process and the organisation should ensure that every microlearning nugget meets at least one learning objective to be achieved by the learners. Focus on learning content so that it covers “must know” rather than “nice to know”.
For example, for designing or converting a 30-minute product training module to microlearning nuggets, the Instructional Designers can divide and group the learning topics into various logical and microlearning nuggets. Each nugget can include different learning content and unique learning objectives like introducing the features of the product, detailing the USP of the product, how better is the product from the competitors, etc. These different sections of microlearning nuggets will have individual learning objectives which are related to the larger and overall objectives of product sales training.
Hence, my recommendation is to never go for random chunking down of the learning content, instead be logical in the approach.
3.Design microlearning as a “go to” or performance support tool
Microlearning modules are short and crisp, but microlearning should be ideally designed to help the learner when he/she needs it the most.
For example, an account opening executive of the bank or NBFC might be having some confusion about the KYC documents to be taken while opening a new account and can quickly refer to the microlearning module on KYC documents.
The microlearning module should be designed for a purpose, and it should leave the clear message to the learners on the desire action expected from it.
4.Keep the design learner-centric
In a very short duration of 3-5 minutes, make sure that the microlearning module is able to engage the learners.
The microlearning module allows the Instructional Designers to use the variety of methods to build the interest in the microlearning modules. They can use various strategies like :
- Infographics and interactive infographics
- Shorter interactive videos
- 3D models
Using simple animations or a quick microgame can engage the learners without losing the focus on learning and can be an effective practice for designing a great microlearning experience. Also, try using real life like scenarios to keep the learning live and relevant from a learner’s perspective.
5.Design your micro-learning with a mobile-first approach
Microlearning modules should be designed with a mobile-first approach. With the increased penetration of mobile devices and with a visible change in the consumption of multimedia content via desktops and laptops to mobile devices like smartphones, tablets etc.
I recommend that the best practice for designing a great microlearning experience will be in designing the modules with a mobile first approach.
Organisations are also increasingly promoting policies like BYOD (Bring Your Own Device ) where the learner is able to access the learning content through his/her mobile devices. It enables the learners to access the learning content from anywhere and any device.
6. Don’t start designing content from scratch
Most organizations have access to enormous libraries of training content in the form of manuals, PPTs or PDFs, which often gets trashed when it’s considered dated or is not in use. If the content is still current, but the format is dated, you don’t have to start from scratch. Split up your hour-long training session into a few short micro-learning bursts. With today’s design tools, you can import existing content and redesign it to give training a fresh focus and new look and feel. If appropriate, redesign the content as multiple micro-learning training sessions
7.Give recognition to the employee achievements and efforts
Microlearning as a learning strategy should allow the learners to enjoy the achievements and efforts. While designing micro learning modules, the organisation can include smaller set milestones or challenges to achieve. Once the employee achieves a milestone, you can allow the learners to share their scores on the social media or give them badges and other recognition etc.
Microlearning if designed and implemented well has a tremendous potential to replace traditional classroom training a well as e-learning. So follow these best practices for designing a great micro learning experience and I am sure you will achieve awesome results.