Make micro-learning work for you

Written by Nick Watmough on 24 September 2019 in Opinion
Opinion

Improved user engagement, content retention, learning in the moment of need - it's all about microlearning, say experts Skill Pill. 

Reading time: 4 minutes.

Technology has transformed the modern world - that is undeniable. In the short ten years since the smartphone first emerged, it has become an integral part of day-to-day life. In a world where everyone has unlimited access to information at their fingertips, learning needs to adapt to maintain relevance by taking advantage of technology.

Micro-learning comes from an organisational pushback against long-form, traditional learning. It bridges the gap between the conventional role of learning in the workplace, and the modern reality of instant access to a world of quick and instant information.

Nowadays, it appears that organisations do not want to dedicate their employees’ time to taking long training courses, or working through dense textbooks in hopes they will learn important skills and become more effective in their job.

What’s more, this becomes considerably less appealing when you look at the degradation of content retention. It has been observed that 85% of all content learned is either forgotten or degraded beyond any use within six weeks, a fact which leaves companies wondering why they should expend their employees valuable time in the pursuit of learning, when inevitably, 85% of it becomes redundant.

In creating higher levels of engagement, it is important to make content available anytime and anywhere.

Micro-learning is working to challenge these statistics by taking a direct look at the root of the problem, by questioning the need for long-form learning.

Firstly, there is an issue surrounding the agency of the learner. Traditionally, long-form learning is something done to a person, they are a passive object within their learning, rather than an active subject. This creates a disengagement from the learning, and consequently imposes a barrier to effectual learning.

At the heart of micro-learning is the shifting of the learner from an object within their learning to being the subject of their learning. This creates an environment of engagement and speaks to the desire of learners to lean forward and get involved in their learning. 

In creating higher levels of engagement, it is important to make content available anytime and anywhere. Micro-learning takes advantage of modern technology, providing content with both online and offline options, and available anywhere through mobile formats – from the morning commute to the taxi ride on the way to an important meeting.

The ability to access content at any instance gives individuals a sense of control, enabling learners to take further ownership of how they undertake their learning.

Designing content to be easily accessed at any time allows content to be utilised at the moment of need, which forms a crucial part of creating effective micro-learning. This directly combats the 85% retention gap.

Content can be provided at the exact moment of use – such as before an important meeting, presentation, or when dealing with an unfamiliar topic. This ensures the instant application of learning, rather than waiting weeks for the information to degrade, and inevitably become useless.

This can only be achieved through micro-learning, and importantly, micro-learning that is quick and easy to access.

The production of short-form content must go hand-in-hand with its delivery to ensure the effectiveness of micro-learning. The retailing and marketing of content is fundamental in ensuring engagement.

Leaving huge swathes of content on the shelf with no direct application will undoubtedly go ignored; instead, the content needs to be tailored to specific challenges, allowing for learners to apply the content to learning outcomes. By tailoring the content to a specific event, the learning gains newfound relevance and drives engagement.

Achieving user engagement, content retention, and immediate access to content in the moment of need, is the true goal of micro-learning.

Yet, in the world of instant entertainment and decreasing attention spans, micro-learning should not cram too much information into a single video. Content is better placed through being sliced-and-diced, to break-down information into different videos covering interrelated topics.

These videos can focus on the parts learners need to know and cut directly to the point. It is important not to force the learner through all the content – people don’t like to be pushed, as this will simply lead to resistance.

Rather, it is important to guide them to videos on similar topics which the learner might find beneficial. This again, places the learner in ownership of their learning and creates full and proper engagement with the content.

Achieving user engagement, content retention, and immediate access to content in the moment of need, is the true goal of micro-learning. The restructuring of traditional learning through the application of technology, which aids in allowing learners to take ownership, micro-learning provides the most effective form of learning in the modern workplace.

Through delivering content at a moment’s notice and in short, actionable segments, you can embrace micro-learning within your workplace and ensure that it works for you.

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