The power of microlearning for team training

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Written by Amy Morrisey on 21 April 2021 in Features
Features

Are you considering using microlearning to train your team? Amy Morrisey gives three tips to maximise the power of your bite-sized courses and elevate your efforts.

So you’ve encountered microlearning when discussing using online training and are wondering how you can use it in your efforts. That’s great! However, it’s worthwhile to take a step back and ask questions to make sure you’re maximising your bite-sized e-learning courses.

When done correctly, microlearning provides a just-in-time solution for your team, caters to how your employees are naturally inclined to receive information, and it can be fun. Let’s cover three tips to make microlearning packed with these benefits and more.

Consider connecting microlearning to other educational content.

Let’s say you’re planning an elearning course about the procedures and policies your company is implementing for the return to office work. Your course discusses things like social distancing, wearing masks, room capacity limits, a new strategy for hybrid, in-office/work-from-home employment, and changes to your existing sickness absence procedures.

The course is comprehensive, covering many different topics. Should you ‘chunk’ this required training into smaller pieces to offer it in a microlearning format? This is a common impulse! However, simply chunking a longer, comprehensive course into smaller pieces doesn’t create effective micro courses.

The best ways to maximise the power of microlearning for team training is to use it as an arena for practice – rather than sending staff members into the field

Microlearning by definition has a targeted focus on one specific topic. Dividing long-form courses gives learners incomplete lessons, rather than the deep dives provided by courses designed for microlearning. 

So instead, think of how micro courses could be used in tandem with comprehensive courses.

Emphasise a crucial skill

Longer-form courses are valuable, but there is a risk of important information getting lost within them. Highlight the most important info with micro courses. For example, for your course on returning to the office, create a micro course on how employees can monitor their own health and determine whether it’s safe for them to work in person on a given day. 

Make an addendum on outdated concepts

Let’s say you created the comprehensive return-to-the-office training before you decided to roll out a hybrid in-person/WFH model. You can then make a micro course to share alongside the main training that details the new policy.

In this instance, you’re using microcourses to maximise your leadership and development budget by expanding the value of long-form training courses with supplemental information.

 

Remove information that’s not actionable

Have you ever sat through what was meant to be an hour-long educational lecture, but the first 30-minutes were full of the lecturer’s backstory, a history of their introduction to the topic, and other filler information? Then, the actionable information – what you can use – isn’t mentioned until the second half?

At some point, you probably tuned the presentation out entirely. You’ll want to avoid creating content that provides this type of experience, especially considering there’s a decent chance you’ll be training remote employees who are particularly likely to disengage.

The whole point of micro courses is that, while being bite-sized, they pack a punch when it comes to value for your team. Remove any information that, while interesting, isn’t valuable or need-to-know. For example, your company’s history and why the training came to be.

To cut the clutter, ask yourself the following questions:

What purpose does this information serve in the course?

  • Is this information providing a next step for the learner to take?
  • If not, is there another reason to include this information?
  • Is this information absolutely necessary for the employee to grow this skill?

It can be hard to whittle down your own writing. This is one reason why it’s valuable to work with elearning content development companies  when creating training courses. These professionals will have an unbiased view of your work and be more aware of the learner intent for your course. They’ll make sure what you want to share aligns with what your learners want to learn.

Create opportunities for employees to practice

One of the best ways to maximise the power of microlearning for team training is to use it as an arena for practice – rather than sending staff members into the field, where any failure could result in consequences, let them practice in an engaging micro course. 

Let’s turn back to the return-to-office training from the first section. You rolled out COVID-19 safety precautions, including mask-wearing, social distancing, hand-washing, and room capacity limits.

But what about the grey areas; where two people are in the same conference room but farther than six feet apart, can they unmask? What about when an employee has a slightly elevated temperature, but not enough to warrant going to the doctor, should they come to the office?

Use a gamified micro course to have learners confront these situations, try their best at navigating them, and receive feedback on the results. Here are tips to empower learners to practice through a gamified micro course.

Build in levels with increasing difficulty

In the first level, have your team apply the basic skills outlined in the course – for example don’t sit right next to your co-worker, don’t come to work if you feel sick. In the next level, have them confront harder scenarios to continue building on their knowledge and practice application.

Include an explanation behind all answers

Whether a staff member chooses the right or wrong answer, tell them why. This reinforces the concepts and provides guidance for when your team encounters real-life situations outside of the learning game.

Microlearning can be a powerhouse tool for training your team, but only if you make the most of it. By connecting the courses to your overall training materials, removing unnecessary information, and creating opportunities for practice, you’ll build micro courses with clear value.

 

About the author

Amy Morrisey is the president of Artisan E-Learning.

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