Best practices for microlearning implementation
Microlearning is all about delivering focused training, which makes the content shorter, more memorable, and easier to engage with. Shorter, focused training sessions lead to better knowledge retention and a more confident, knowledgeable workforce when compared to the effects of traditional training courses.
Some of the best practices for microlearning implementation can streamline training for employees across industries include:
- A retail employee clocks in to work and completes a quick lesson about upselling and cross-selling before starting their shift. Once the session is over, they’re ready to tackle the job.
- A contact center employee completes a quick training session about telephone etiquette during their downtime between calls. With each session, their skills become sharper.
- A loan counselor gets reinforcement on a new regulation to make sure he’s providing customers with the right information and keeping his company out of trouble
But microlearning is about much more than just making your long courses shorter. If you want to implement microlearning into your training strategies, the following steps will help you get started on the right foot.
Prioritize your skill needs
Because microlearning lessons are so short, it’s important to zero in on the most important workplace learning topics and focus your training accordingly.
What are the most important concepts you need to instill right out of the gate? What knowledge gaps are you trying to fill?
For example, let’s say that you manage a grocery chain that recently launched a new loyalty program. If you’re training frontline grocery workers, you may start with engaging customers as your main training focus because you want to ensure that loyal customers have a great experience.
Focus first on your critical business priorities, and then expand your microlearning into other topics and programs.
Determine which types of microlearning to incorporate
Microlearning can include different types of media. In a corporate training environment, you’ll typically depend on a learning management system (LMS) as the main hub of your training experience.
But within that centralized LMS experience, you can incorporate additional types of microlearning. Examples include short videos and informative PDFs. Different types of micro-content lend themselves to different online learning experiences.
To choose the best types of microlearning, you have to consider the devices that will be used to access the material. L&D will need to assess the types of devices used within the workflow, such as point of sale, handhelds, personal devices, etc. You also have to consider the work experience. What’s the right format for the way the information will be used?
For instance, if you’re trying to help a logistics worker walk through a complex process, a visual guide with text/images makes more sense than a video or eLearning module. If you need to communicate new information to a retail worker who will consume the content on the store floor, you probably can’t rely on audio because they won’t be able to play the content in front of customers or have speakers or headphones available.
Implement a training system with microlearning capabilities
Plenty of learning technologies say they support microlearning. However, the ability to play short videos doesn’t make an LMS a great microlearning platform. You want to work with an LMS that:
- Uses short lessons and modules to promote microlearning by default
- Has built-in LMS gamification features to make the microlearning experience more engaging—the game mechanics get people interested while the targeted content keeps them coming back
- Is accessible on the devices that employees use, especially if your company has a BYOD policy (consider using a mobile-friendly LMS)
- Supports a variety of content options, including video and infographics
Features like these are how Axonify helped Lowes to streamline their corporate training. Their Lowe’s U training system, built on Axonify, uses microlearning to prepare every new Lowe’s employee for success.
Educate your employees on the value of microlearning
Before you implement your microlearning courses, it’s important to educate your employees on the concept and value of microlearning.
They likely only received traditional courses in the past. Instead of asking them to complete hours of training once per quarter, you’re asking them to spend a few minutes per day on it. That can feel like just another thing to do if people don’t understand why it’s more effective.
Run experiments to show that microlearning works, get feedback from peers and share it so it’s not just something L&D wants you to do but something your peers find valuable. Provide simple examples to explain why this approach is better than what they’ve experienced before when it comes to workplace training and education.
Don’t overcomplicate the message or expect people to prioritize learning over their more pressing daily tasks. Instead, focus on what matters most to employees. Talk to them to understand their motivations and emphasize that this approach will make it simpler to engage in training. Help them keep pace with change, create opportunity and limit disruption/distraction.
Tailor the lessons to the user
Given that microlearning lessons are so short, it’s extremely important to tailor each lesson to the user. None of those few precious minutes should be wasted on redundant or irrelevant information.
The best way to tailor the information is to ensure that your LMS provides plenty of data and measurement. This way, L&D knows the strengths and opportunities for each employee and can provide the right learning experience. Axonify uses an adaptive algorithm to identify each participant’s strengths, areas of mastery and areas for improvement. Each subsequent lesson is then customized accordingly.
Audit the effectiveness of your microlearning
After you create microlearning content and push it live, it’s critical that you observe the real-world learning outcome. After all, it’s nearly impossible to get it perfect right out of the gate. To determine whether a microlearning tool or medium is effective, it’s important to solicit feedback from users. How do trainees actually feel about the material? Is it engaging? Does it meet their expectations? Do they feel confident in the knowledge they’re acquiring?
In addition to user feedback, you should also use your available data to indicate if people’s knowledge has grown, behavior changed on the job and business results improved. Pay close attention to any trends you notice, and use that information to fine-tune your approach to microlearning, the type of information you present and the types of micro-content you produce.
Look for common red flags such as:
- Consistently low scores on select modules (an indication that the lesson may be unclear or too advanced).
- Consistently poor feedback from users (try to uncover the reasons for the poor reception, and fine-tune your content accordingly).
- Low participation (an indication that you might need to add game mechanics or other incentives for trainees).
- Poor performance in the workplace (a possible indication that the concepts aren’t being communicated clearly).
In most cases, you’ll find that some of the learning materials are more effective than others. Determine which materials aren’t resonating, learn the reasons why and fine-tune accordingly.
Unlock the power of microlearning
If you want to create microlearning materials that provide the full benefit:
- Use a learning management system that supports user-tailored microlearning and gamification
- Use a variety of micro-content types (video, text, infographics, etc.) to support your learning initiatives
- Make sure your team understands what microlearning is and why it’s valuable
- Solicit feedback from users, and continually look for ways to improve your content
Before long, your trainees will be learning more, participating more and retaining more—and that will make all the difference in their performance.