Top Microlearning Rules Every Online Training Developer Must Follow
Microlearning is quickly consumed and takes a microscopic approach to training challenges. Provides JIT support when employees need it most and enables them to take charge of the L&D experience. Better yet, it can reduce seat time, e-learning expenses, and boredom for students. However, things don’t always go according to plan. In particular, if you break the golden rules of bite-size training and let myths or misconceptions get in the way. Here are 6 microlearning rules that every online training developer must follow to achieve their desired results.
6 rules no online training developer should break
1. Fast does not mean fragmented
Microlearning takes a fraction of the time. It is designed primarily for training in the moment of need and immediate application. However, employees should never feel rushed or have the feeling that information is fragmented. Each microlearning activity must complete a complete thought and serve as an individual learning unit. Although, a small unit that only covers one sub-topic or task. For this reason, it is essential to focus on a single goal to be able to include the essentials without going over the time limit. Divide the complex topic into separate activities if there is a lot of L&D ground to cover. That way, each concept gets the attention it deserves and employees can see how everything is connected.
2. Always include summaries and recommendations
There is not enough time (or space in the mind of employees) for layoffs. Don’t spend the first 5 minutes summarizing concepts they should already know. Instead, include a short recap to clarify the prerequisites and refresh your memory. For example, specify who the activity is for, why they need the information, and how it relates to previous courses / activities. You should also add recommendations that they can use to expand their knowledge and improve understanding. Such as tutorials, simulations, and video demonstrations covering related skills or tasks. Don’t leave them in suspense wondering where they should go next to close the gaps. Feedback is another essential of microlearning. Clarify where they went wrong and what they need to work on to improve performance. This can even be in the form of a quick checklist with embedded links.
3. Reuse to reduce costs
Microlearning generally costs less than traditional online training resources. It takes less time to develop and requires fewer assets (and team members). Reusing the content you already have takes cost reduction to the next level. Invest in a quick build tool to repurpose assets and give them a modern makeover. For example, add transitions, voiceovers, and triggers to your half-hour video tutorial. Then use the built-in video editor to break it down into small demos. That said, this doesn’t give free rein to online training developers to take shortcuts for the sake of savings. Rule n. 1 still applies to repurposed content.
4. Understand employee backgrounds
You can’t develop microlearning content in a bubble, completely ignoring employee needs in favor of training goals, as both are equally important. You need to understand the backgrounds, preferences, and goals of employees to make it memorable. For example, many online training designers make the mistake of training with tunnel vision. They are so focused on the outcome that they forget about learning behaviors and the limits of the human mind. We can only assimilate finite amounts of information before ideas get out of hand. Conducting surveys and evaluations allows you to define the training parameters and get to know your audience. For example, this microlearning resource is for experienced customer service employees who already know the basics. Their knowledge base is strong and this activity should build on it, rather than re-processing the same information. Likewise, new hires may need to start over and work their way up.
5. The app reduces seat time
You might think that text-based resources are ideal for microlearning. However, the most effective way is to give employees the information they need to know in the most direct way. Application is the key to understanding. Plus, it reduces seat time because employees learn by doing rather than simply reading about homework or how to use a skill in real life. Simulations, serious games, and branching scenarios can be condensed into small formats. Reduce scope size to improve retention and avoid overload. As an example, the microlearning scenario features 5 decision-making points instead of the usual 20. Highlight a specific policy or step rather than an entire process. Another way to facilitate the application is to tell stories. Develop micro-examples, case studies, and stories that emphasize how employees can use information in real-world settings.
6. Templates are a pillar of microlearning
Templates are your best friend, allowing you to quickly update content while maintaining the same design principles. Each microlearning resource in your library features a different aesthetic but stays true to the brand’s message. There are placeholders to keep your layout organized and to ensure that the text / graphic elements are balanced. Also, keep in mind that text isn’t the only culprit for cognitive overload. Too many visuals can overwhelm employees and defeat the purpose of microlearning. Only include visuals that support the topic and provide context. Avoid controversial graphics and cluttered designs.
You may be an eLearning maverick, creating unconventional content that leaves a lasting impression. But these microlearning rules are set in stone. Employees should be able to see how quick tutorials and demos relate to the training strategy rather than getting piecemeal information. They also require summaries to refresh their memory and follow-up resources to supplement their knowledge. Images should always have a purpose and each tool should align with your level of experience and job duties. Lastly, use real-world apps to emphasize purpose and shorten seating time.
Communication, problem solving, and leadership are just a few of the many skills your employees must possess. Do you want to deliver soft skills training in a small format? Read the article 8 Tips for Building a Soft Skills Microlearning Online Training Library for insider tips for creating a microlearning online training library that helps employees hone their soft skills.