It’s no secret that the eLearning Mind team loves microlearning. And why not? Quick, fun, pithy, and highly effective, small bites of information often absorb more easily than long, drawn-out lessons. But just because learning is broken down into mini lessons doesn’t automatically make it good. It’s kind of like seeing a movie: A foreign short without subtitles drags on, while a two-hour, action-pack romp seems to fly by in the theater.
As it turns out, size matters; but so does quality. Using these tips can help you create microlearning that is as engaging as it is compact. Also, if you really want to dig deep into microlearning principles for your employee training, and see an example of what microlearning can do for your business, check out our eBook here.
Strip Down To Just the Essentials
Sure, the definition of eLearning means acquiring information, skills, and knowledge from an online form of training. But you need to offer more than just information: You need to offer the information your learners want and need to know.
Why else would a learner tune in to grab just a small bite of information?
Think of why we all watch those quick Tasty videos on Buzzfeed that show a meal from start to finish in under 60 seconds. These videos are genius because they are secretly playing to micro-learning principles in disguise. They give you the minimal amount of information you need, and back up the content with relevant and engaging visuals that gives the viewer exactly and only what they need to make the meal. And the best part is, they do all of this in 60 seconds or less, which is why so many of us watch the video from start to finish and now know how to make everything from homemade ravioli to banana bread pudding.
By offering personalized options, learning pathways, and in-context information, a learner can grab what they need and be on their way. This makes microlearning both effective and desirable, especially when compared to longer-form eLearning. Consider it the “Cliff Notes” of knowledge, understanding that learners can always come back for the whole story later.
Play Off Of Existing Knowledge
Your learners’ brains are already filled with information that is gleaned from lessons, experience, and memories. Microlearning must respect that existing network of knowledge in order to be truly engaging. If lessons are redundant or patronizing, they’ll be disregarded–even if they’re quick and pithy. Instead, it’s about creating a learning pathway that is unique to each learner and their personal knowledge network. Are your learner’s baseball fans? Play off these positive experiential ties and tie in baseball analogies within your learning experience.
If you aren’t sure how to address this in your current learning project, you can easily send us the details here and we will help you figure out the best way to communicate with your learners.
Whether it means getting to know your learners before they begin lessons or allowing them to bypass lessons that they’ve already mastered, it’s your job to make sure microlearning is personal so that information can be connected back to the topics learners already know. These connections help strengthen memories and understanding for better recall later on, even if the lessons are comparatively brief.
Microlearning Doesn’t Mean “Shrinking Down Lessons”
One major mistake that organizations often make with microlearning is simply shrinking down their existing modules to fit a shorter timeframe and smaller screen. Instead of creating custom solutions to engage their learners, they assume that a smaller screen and shorter lessons will be enough to engage users. We know it’s easy to just assume microlearning means “smaller learning modules” but to truly explain the secret behind it, it’s best to think of Legos.
When you play with Legos you start off with a bunch of small blocks. As you start your creation, you use each block to build on top of the other, and slowly but surely end up with a house, rocket ship, or whatever your latest masterpiece might be.
Microlearning works because it takes small pieces of key information that builds upon one another so that the learner develops a skill or knowledge base over time. This is why the method is ideal for businesses that are constantly adapting their training to new technology. You can easily change out pieces of microlearning and replace them with current information, without having to replace the entire learning experience.
Instead of assuming that smaller is an instant fix to all of your training woes, you’ll need to assess your learners and the type of information they need to know. By understanding why microlearning works you are able to create micro-lessons that are small but mighty, leading to massive results in the areas your business needs it most.