Northpower: Overcoming the forgetting curve through microlearning

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Kirstine Hulse:

Northpower is a network and contracting organization. We have two networks, an electricity and a fiber network. In on the contracting side, we service the distribution and transmission industry. 

The idea of microlearning was a really innovative approach to safety and into training, and we thought we’d have a look at it and see what it was like for our people and how they found it. 

Microlearning is about learning in short bursts, so that’s 3 to 6 minute intervals. It’s all about retargeted focused learning, and it’s about people being able to learn on-demand. 

It uses an app, which you can have on your smartphone or on your iPad. The user gets to see a small video, then they’re tested by multichoice questions and get instant feedback around whether they were right or wrong, earning points if they get things right. The app is very intuitive, so it knows to send you back the questions that you got wrong. So at the end of this, we measure that someone has mastered the information rather than that they’ve just completed a course.

Richard Harding:

At first we were a little bit hesitant about what the information was and how it was gonna affect us in our day to day jobs. But the immediate feeling was that there was some useful information here and it was easy, clear to understand, and it was just a matter of giving it a go. 

The microlearning app itself is quite easy to engage with. The information that they delivered to you is in small pieces, which is for guys in our business, it’s easier to understand smaller amounts of information.

Lian Passmore:

We’re able to really hone in on the things that people need to know rather than the nice-to-have. And the fact that it’s all team based, the rest of your team can see when you are on there and when you’re not. So you kind of just have that sense of unity you need to get on their endure but are learning, but at the same time, it’s actually really achievable.

Kirstine Hulse:

The day after a training session, most people have forgotten 50% of what they have learned, 80% after seven days, and by the end of 30 days of they haven’t remembered 90% of the content that they’re learned. So with the spaced repetition that we see through the microlearning this gives us an ability to embed that content so that they really amass that knowledge.

Richard Harding:

The system allows you to actually have a lot more flexibility with the learning and structure it to your life, and how you work.

Kirtsine Hulse:

The key thing with this adaptive microlearning is that you demonstrate that you’ve understood something, rather than you demonstrate that you’ve completed something, and that’s a fundamental shift for us in terms of learning. We’ve also noticed the quality of the conversations that are coming out of it. So when people are debating the answer and debating why it may have been a different answer, we see them reaching out to the teammates and having those conversations, which would further reinforces the learning. 

In our case, we’re using it to embed our critical risks, so we’ve developed models around understanding risk management, around effort take management process, also around other more traditional risks, like a asbestos management and how we do that. So we’re looking at how we use this to embed the fragments that we already have in the business and to build their capability amongst our people.