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Microlearning is a strategy and a format in which learning solutions can be deployed or delivered to train employees, customers, channel partners, and end-users of a product or service. In an earlier blog post, we examined the pros and cons of using microlearning to deliver sales training and how sales enablement leaders could use microlearning to empower their sales teams. This blog post will offer insights into the principles associated with microlearning, the applications of microlearning to support different genres of training, some of the common myths associated with microlearning solutions, and how L&D leaders can benefit from microlearning. The blog post will also offer some examples to demonstrate how Origin Learning used microlearning as an effective tool to design and deliver training for different categories of learners across industries. Curious to learn more? Read on.
The Principles Governing the Design and Delivery of Microlearning Solutions
Given below are some of the principles of microlearning.
- Microlearning solutions are focused on one learning objective or outcome.
- Microlearning solutions are delivered in bite-sized portions.
- Microlearning ensures that learners can access their learning content anywhere and at any time.
- Microlearning incorporates different media formats.
- Spaced learning is used to improve the retention of learning.
- Learning is personalized with the help of Artificial Intelligence.
Applications of Microlearning Solutions in Training Programs
In this section, you will see how the principles of microlearning solutions are applied when designing and delivering training programs.
One Learning Objective
Microlearning solutions were devised to offer targeted and focused learning that would help learners meet one specific learning objective or outcome. Design your microlearning solution in such a way that it does not sound generic or vague and helps address a specific training pain point that the learner faces. It should provide new information about a specific topic or test the knowledge of the learner on the topic.
Microlearning solutions are meant to be brief snippets of learning. You can’t put up a 20-minute product-explainer video as part of your product training program and call it microlearning. Attempt to keep the length of your microlearning solution under 5 minutes.
Any Time, Anywhere Learning
Microlearning solutions were designed with the primary goal of enabling any time, anywhere learning, which could be easily accessed by learners. So design your microlearning solutions in such a manner that they can be delivered seamlessly via an LXP, or an LMS, or a mobile app, or a simple browser. In essence, your microlearning should be responsive in design and work irrespective of the device that your learners choose to access the learning content.
Multi-format Learning Content
Use different forms of media like podcasts, animated videos, videos of subject-matter experts speaking, presentation slides, infographics, and audio-clips to enhance your training content.
Retention of learning is a primary challenge that L&D experts seek to address. By using spaced learning and learning prompts in your microlearning solutions you can enhance the learning experience and improve the retention of learning. Spaced learning helps your learners beat the challenge of the “Forgetting Curve”. You can learn more about spaced learning and the Ebbinghaus’ Forgetting Curve in our eBook on cognitive science.
The last few years have seen a significant improvement in the way tech companies have personalized user experiences with AI and recommendation engines. The same applies to learning tech as well. eLearning companies are designing powerful LXPs and LMSs with personalized learning recommendation engines that use learner behavior to recommend the next piece of learning. Deploy your microlearning solutions on a powerful learning platform like Origin Fractal LXP that uses voice-navigation, content curation, learning nudges, and learning paths to provide an interesting learning experience.
Different Genres of Training where Microlearning Solutions Work
Microlearning for Sales Training
One of the big challenges for sales enablement leaders is to get their sales teams together and organize a training program for them. With people working in different time zones as per their clientele and also busy with appointments it becomes a big problem for L&D to bring everyone together. By creating sales training programs in the form of microlearning nuggets and granting the sales team access to these microlearning nuggets; L&D and sales enablement leaders can meet a major training hurdle. Here is a blog post that focuses on how microlearning and LXPs are a great combination to deliver sales training.
Microlearning for Product Training
Product training is an important challenge for L&D leaders because they have to address two distinct sets of learners and help them get familiar with their product. The internal audience or the employees tasked with selling the product and the support team providing assistance; and the external audience comprising channel partners selling the product and the customers and end-users who use the actual product. The training cannot be the same and it has to address a diverse audience. In such a scenario, creating customized microlearning modules for each target audience is a great way to foster product training.
Microlearning for Employee Induction and Training
Let us be honest; no one is a big fan of week-long employee induction programs where new employees are bombarded with PowerPoint presentations and various department-heads going on and on about their contributions to the growth of the company and how they are all a part of one-big family now. Employees would prefer a quick induction program that guides them about the key rules of the organization, the official hierarchy, contact details of important personnel; and just get on with their work or work-specific training. Thus you can use microlearning to design and deliver employee induction training programs.
Microlearning for Training Maintenance Engineers
Maintenance and service engineers play an extremely important role in ensuring that machinery like turbines, industrial manufacturing units, locomotives, aircrafts, and automobiles. Be it the safety of the employees in a factory or the safety of travelers, maintenance engineers ensure that everyone is safe. Training new maintenance engineers can be an extremely difficult task. Microlearning solutions can be used to help train such engineers and help them learn on the job.
Health & Safety at the Workplace Training
Many countries have specific laws in place that require employees to undergo mandatory health and safety training at the workplace. This may seem repetitive but this training can be really helpful and save lives in an emergency. Microlearning is a great way to design and deploy health and safety training programs at the workplace.
Common Myths about Microlearning Solutions
JD Dillon is one of the leading experts on frontline learning and enablement and has over 20 years of experience in operations and talent development for some of the world’s most popular companies like Disney and AMC. In a session conducted during the ATD Core 4 Conference in Toronto in 2018, he shared some interesting insights on the myths surrounding microlearning and listed seven key myths. His thoughts are summarized below:
Microlearning is new: No, microlearning has been around for a long time and it is not a recent invention or development.
Microlearning is about the length or duration of the learning unit: No, it is not just focused on the duration of the learning unit. It has to address a specific learning objective or outcome.
Microlearning means only videos: As stated in an earlier paragraph, microlearning can be presented using different forms of media like podcasts, animated videos, videos of subject-matter experts speaking, presentation slides, infographics, and audio-clips.
Microlearning will work only for simple topics: On the contrary, microlearning can work well even for complex topics.
Microlearning is the one-stop solution that solves all learning challenges: No, microlearning cannot solve all learning challenges; it is part of the larger learning ecosystem.
Microlearning is only for self-directed and self-paced learning: Not really; not everyone will be comfortable learning without any instructor or guidance. Though self-paced and do-it-yourself learning are buzzwords; there is still a significant population of learners who need guidance when accessing microlearning.
Microlearning is only for the young folks: No, well-designed microlearning works for people of all age-groups.
These were the seven original myths listed by JD Dillon. We would like to add some more myths to the list.
Microlearning does not work for sales and product training: On the contrary, microlearning can be used effectively for sales and product training and help improve the productivity of your employees.
Microlearning works best only on LXPs: No, well-designed responsive microlearning should work perfectly fine across different learning delivery platforms and devices not just LXPs.
Microlearning is all about gamification and flashy design: No, gamification is an element of learning and flashy design is not suitable for everyone. An intuitive learning experience with a minimalist design can work wonders for your microlearning solution.
In the next section, you will learn how Origin used microlearning solutions successfully for internal training and for different clients.
Using Microlearning Solutions to Deliver English Language Training
At Origin there is a large and robust content team that works on creating award-winning eLearning programs for a wide variety of clients. Every year, Origin recruits fresh college graduates into the content team and trains them to become instructional designers and content writers. To improve the skills of these campus-hires, we deployed an instance of our Origin Fractal LXP and asked all new-hires to download the Origin Fractal LXP mobile app. Through a series of microlearning lessons, learners were given a refresher course in English. The content covered areas like U.S. vs U.K. English, sentence structure, usage of apostrophe, adjectival clauses, etc. Learners would receive email alerts in conjunction with the launch of new lessons. Designed to be completed under 15 minutes the modules were a great success and helped the campus-hires brush up their English language skills.
Here are some screenshots from the Origin Fractal LXP mobile app featuring microlearning lessons of our internal English language training program.
Using Microlearning Solutions to Deliver Sales Training
A leading IT giant wished to overhaul their existing sales training and make it more interesting and interactive. Their primary requirement was that the sales training program should be easily accessible by their employees at any point in time. Origin designed a program that combined aspects of microlearning and gamification to create an engaging sales training program. The final training program created for the client was well appreciated by the employees and deployed across their offices. The successful deployment of the program showed a marked improvement in the performance of the sales teams of the IT giant. The following video shows a brief section of the actual course.
Using Microlearning Solutions to Deliver Sales Training
Cloud computing and software virtualization are two of the fastest growing segments in the IT industry. Origin was contracted by one of the world leaders in cloud computing and software virtualization to create and deploy a sales training program for their employees. Origin deployed a microlearning solution that broke a longer sales training program into simpler microlearning units. This was quite popular among the employees and the client reported a significant increase in course completion times and boost in productivity. Here is a screenshot from one of the microlearning programs.
Using Microlearning Solutions to Deliver Product Training
Cloud computing has completely changed the IT infrastructure industry and all the major IT giants now have a dedicated cloud computing services business. A leading American IT service management company that provides on-demand cloud computing platforms contracted Origin to create an online training certification program. Origin created a microlearning solution that offered an innovative and engaging way to gain certification from the company. Please see a couple of screenshots from the microlearning program to learn how it was structured.
From the examples cited above and the points covered over the course of this blog post; it is evident that L&D leaders and sales enablement leaders can benefit enormously from microlearning solutions. Be it a quick induction training program for your new hires, a refresher product training program for your seasoned service engineers, or an enhanced sales training program for your sales and business development teams; microlearning can indeed work wonders. Microlearning is comparatively less expensive than a full-fledged suite of eLearning courses, it can be customized and deployed with ease, and any updates to the program based on learner-feedback can be incorporated quickly.
In the previous section, we showcased some examples of how Origin used microlearning solutions to meet different training needs. Are you still wondering if microlearning would be the right fit to meet your L&D challenges? Or are you interested to learn more about the microlearning solutions that we have developed and you would like an innovative microlearning solution to meet your product training or sales training needs? Whatever be your eLearning design and development needs; we are here to help you. Please write to us at firstname.lastname@example.org with the subject line “Microlearning Solutions” and one of our team-members will respond to you.