Setting up an e-learning infrastructure can have a massive impact on your employees and your business, but it also takes time. Businesses that are keen to get started with e-learning as quickly as possible would do well to consider developing some micro-learning tools.
Micro-learning tools fill the gap until your larger infrastructure is in place, and also provide employees with quick, easy to digest learning experiences that will help them develop as workers. Furthermore, once you have your full e-learning infrastructure in place, micro-lessons can be easily integrated into a larger program.
What is microlearning?
In a broad sense, microlearning is when you take a teaching concept and compress it into something that is much more agile and accessible. This kind of compression hybridises well with e-learning because the digital framework provides easy access to all of the bite size lessons. It also allows a student to move through as many or as few as they would like at their own pace, removing some of the stress of education.
How should I use microlearning?
Microcontent can either be placed into a larger class or conference, or it can be deployed as its own set of standalones that an employee can engage with when they have some downtime between jobs.
Some examples of microlearning processes include:
- Micro-Games – The gamification of the workplace is a popular topic right now, and with good reason. Introducing an element of play to your day has been shown to increase engagement and has also been used to great effect when teaching new software
- Quick videos – Videos can be easily integrated into your intranet as well as shared on the Internet. They’re easy to refer back to and constantly accessible to anyone who might want to be reminded of something they learned in the past, or for anyone looking to improve their knowledge.
- Blog posts – Having a regularly updated, interesting blog that is viewed consistently by your staff and customers is great. Not only does it keep those interested in your business informed, but it can also educate them about the latest developments in your company. By examining the viewing figures for certain posts as well, it’s possible to figure out what people are most interested in learning more about and produce more content to that effect.
- Podcasts – Whether you make an audio or video podcast, these are great for on-the-go workers who aren’t always at their desks. Whilst they can be listened to on a computer, the real strength of a podcast is how it can be uploaded to almost any device. If you struggle to get everyone in one place for an extended period, podcasts offer an alternative that still ensures everyone is on the same page of a project.
- Online Quizzes – These can be placed at the end of longer e-learning processes to gauge its successes, or taken over intervals of a few weeks to ensure that any taught knowledge has been retained. Failure to answer a question correctly can also prompt further e-learning to ensure that there is no confusion on a topic.
Microlessons can be as long as 15 minutes or they can just take a few seconds. What’s important to the success of microlearning is that the content doesn’t lose the attention of those engaging with it. Microlearning relies on short, compressed sprints of mental activity to do its teaching, so it should not be attempted by someone who’s likely to be distracted.
However, the benefit of digital microlearning is that, if an employee or student does become distracted and has to stop the process, that process can be resumed or restarted at their convenience. There is no disruption to a teacher or class, making it a much more cost-efficient option.
Building microlearning into your e-learning tools
If you’ve invested a lot of time/money into a class and want to make sure that the lessons presented in that class aren’t lost, you can use microlearning tools to provide gentle reminders and refreshers. For example, if you had hosted a class on website management in the previous week, you could ask your employees to take a quick 5 minute questionnaire on some of the key elements.
This engages your employees and keeps them fresh, but also allows you to isolate any points that may have been missed or misunderstood. With this knowledge, you can then direct those that got any questions wrong to other micro-learning devices that will ensure they’re re-taught anything that they got wrong.
Microlearning’s very nature makes it much less imposing than conventional learning. More and more businesses are beginning to explore this kind of ‘informal learning’ because it doesn’t necessarily feel like work to their employees. This reduces work-based fatigue and helps to lighten the pressure that classroom environments can sometimes impose on employees.
By splitting your learning practices up into much smaller chunks you also reduce feelings that learners might have about a process being repetitive or time-consuming. In many ways microlearning is a way for companies to develop goodwill towards their learning infrastructure as well as empowering their employees to improve themselves and develop their knowledge.
Little and often
Microlearning is undoubtedly an invaluable addition to your e-learning strategy. The speed at which it can be implemented, along with its accessibility and its flexibility, means that businesses can employ it without breaking the bank or making heavy demands on people’s time. By implementing microlearning around a larger learning infrastructure, you can ensure your workforce is more engaged, more efficient, and more knowledgeable about the things that will drive your business forward.