The Definitive Guide to Microlearning - FocusU

The Definitive Guide to Microlearning

Are you looking to understand what microlearning is all about? How does it differ from Macrolearning? How do you decide when to use Microlearning? Is it effective? Is it expensive?

Are you trying to evaluate if it’s a good option for your organization and learners? If yes, where do you start your journey? How do you present a business case for Microlearning to your Leadership team? How do you even evaluate all the platforms available in the market?

You need not look any further. Because we have answered all these questions (and many more) in this DefinitiveGuide to Microlearning.

But before we go any further, why should you believe in anything that I say about Microlearning?

I have attempted to answer this question below.

Dyti Dawn, Head of Category - Microlearning, FocusU Engage

I have been working on various facets of Microlearning for many years now. I have been in the trenches: developed specific use cases for microlearning, tested out multiple microlearning platforms feature by feature, launched courses for thousands of field employees and curated over 50 microlearning courses.

Following are some examples of how I have leveraged microlearning:
• New and critical product launches
• Onboarding new joiners successfully
• Develop Managerial Capability
• Blended Learning Journey for Leaders

I combine instructional design principles to my passion for learning and development and use technology to create agile learning solutions. I have handled large scale blended learning projects across industries such as Auto, Tech, Finance & FMCG. But above all, you should believe me because I have had my fair share of failures along the way and have learnt from them.

We know that you want the very best for your organization and your learners. And you are just beginning to navigate this labyrinth.

We encourage you to use this guide as you explore this adventurous trail of making learning exciting, impactful and accessible for your organization. You can head on straight into the guide or use the table below to jump to a topic of your choice.

Table of Contents

What is Microlearning?
4 Examples of how we microlearn unconsciously, every day.
What Microlearning is Not?
Difference Between Macro-Learning and Microlearning
5 Myths of Microlearning
Is Microlearning Effective?
10 Principles to design effective microlearning content
What difficulties does Microlearning solve for Learning & Development practitioners?
When should you use Microlearning and when should you not?
5 Use Cases of Microlearning to incorporate in your Learning & Development Strategy.
How do you evaluate a Microlearning Platform?
10 Best Practices while designing Microlearning Content: A CheckList
7 Ways to Measure Effectiveness of Microlearning Modules
Case Studies of Microlearning Adoption
Resources & Links
Download The Definitive Guide to Microlearning

What is Microlearning?

Microlearning is a type of learning & development methodology which focuses on bite sized and goal – oriented content, which learners can easily engage with anytime, anywhere. Microlearning can range for typically 2 to 10 minutes and is designed to easily flow into the learner’s work and life. It leverages the context of the learner and delivers impactful learning.

Read our blogs on microlearning for beginners for a deeper understanding.
Microlearning for Beginners.
Microlearning for Beginners – Part 2.

Microlearning is gaining popularity because of the ease with which it fits into our lives. Did you know that we micro – learn unconsciously every day? We turn to Microlearning to fulfill most of our daily activities. Let’s show you how.

4 Examples of how we Microlearn unconsciously every day

1) Stay Healthy – Physically and Mentally:
Are you a health buff – always on the lookout for new exercises, effective yoga poses or vegan recipes? Do you have some apps where you regularly pick up this stuff which is such an important part of your life? This is a form of microlearning.

2) Learn something new:
Most of us often pick new skills to develop our interests, such as learning a new musical instrument, a new language or probably a new form of painting. We probably reach out to YouTube to help up with ideas and steps to learn these skills. There are apps which help us to do this, often with just 10 minutes of practice every day.

3) Social Learning:
A little lesser known cousin of the Microlearn family, social learning is a powerful platform for learning. If you have been a new parent recently, you would know the value of learning from the experiences of fellow parents – who have seen it and done it all! You may have also heard of learning communities where learners thrive on social learning to develop their skills.

4) News Consumption:
News in a microlearning format has definitely been around for sometime. There is so much information everywhere, we need technology to sift through all this mess and serve us what is ‘essential’. There are a variety of apps that help us to do just this.

Read this blog post for some more fun examples of how we microlearn every day.

We have just begun to scratch the surface of microlearning. At this point, it is important for us to clarify what microlearning is not.

What microlearning is not

1) Breaking up content into smaller pieces :
Breaking up a topic into smaller sections or sub – topics is not microlearning. Microlearning focuses on specific goals that the learner can achieve and each microlearning topic focuses on fulfilling the goal.

2) SCORM Content set up on an LMS
SCORM is the traditional format for developing e-learning content. Sometimes SCORM is simply embedded into an LMS which supports microlearning. Depending upon the design of the content, this may not serve the purpose of goal oriented and holistic learning. In most cases, SCORM does not render well on mobile devices and reduces the ease of consuming the content – thus defeating the purpose of microlearning.

3) Microlearning Videos :
While short videos are one type of microlearning, it is just a drop in the ocean.Simply a video is not sufficient. For microlearning to be effective, videos need to be coupled up with other learning activities such as reading, reflections exercises, applications scenarios, feedback, quizzes, polls and assessments.

4) Game Based Content :
Game – based content has swept the microlearning space in a huge way. While game-based content could be highly engaging – it should be aligned well with the purpose of learning to be effective. Consider the following points to see where game based learning could be effective:
• If the purpose is to engage employees in fun or just teach relatively easier topics, game based content would work well. Examples include onboarding, training on simple product features etc.
• However, if the purpose is to develop complex skills, a game based format will not be sufficient. In such a case, it is better to simulate the actual work environment that the learner will encounter. Examples of such training programs include handling an angry customer, dealing with conflict at work or practising safety procedures in a hospital.

Difference between macro-learning & micro-learning

At this point, you may be wondering about the difference between Macro-Learning and Microlearning . Is it just about the duration? Do they work exclusively or can you blend them?

Josh Bersin has spoken about this extensively. While Macro-Learning involves a complete deep dive into something new, Microlearning engages learners through chunks that ensure faster progress. They serve different purposes and it’s important to blend them well to allow for effective learning in the flow of work. In summary, they complement each other.

The table below explains the difference between Microlearning and Macro – Learning
Josh Bersin’s research also indicates that higher the level of expertise of a learner in a particular subject, chances are more they engage in microlearning rather than macro-learning.

With the increasing popularity of microlearning, it has fallen trap to some myths. What are some of these?

5 myths of microlearning

Myth #1: Microlearning is not effective.
The bite sized nature of microlearning is the reason for this unfounded assumption. Is it possible for anyone to learn effectively in short bursts? Ask someone who has successfully cooked a new dish, by just watching a YouTube video.

Microlearning content is highly focused, goal oriented and with minimal frill information. Microlearning when designed with instructional design principles is very effective.We have explored the topic in further detail, later in this guide.

Myth #2: Microlearning is not for learning serious skills.
Design Thinking, Coding, Accounting, Strategic Thinking – these are some of the skills that you can learn using microlearning. Microlearning enables you to engage with the content at your own pace, play around with your thoughts and focus on applying your knowledge. It focuses on the immediate context of the learner to develop skills – which makes it powerful.

Myth #3: Microlearning is difficult to develop.
Nothing is farther from the truth. Traditional elearning content requires a lot of technical skills to develop and it is unjustified that a learning expert would also need to develop the tech expert. Most microlearning platforms have easy authoring tools so that learning and development practitioners can focus on what they do best: design for learning.

Myth #4: Microlearning is a fad.
Sometime around 2009, the word microlearning was coined. It may be misunderstood, but it is far from being a fad. The research is increasing in this space and if anyone is serious about making learning interventions effective by making it a seamless part of work, using microlearning is inevitable.

Myth #5: Microlearning is only for millennials.
Since most microlearning content is mobile first, the assumption is that it is best suited for the younger generations who are more tech savvy (another myth). Learning is relevant across all generations and every learner wants content that is relevant to them and solves their problems. If Microlearning helps to do that, it becomes relevant for all problems.

Let us address the elephant in the room.

Is microlearning effective?

The answer to this question is both yes and no. We need to look at the effectiveness of Microlearning in the same way we would look at that of any other training methodology. Microlearning can prove to be very effective when it is designed, keeping in mind the science of learning.

To clarify the term effectiveness, we are indicating the transfer of learning, such that learner is able to use the information
• To solve problems at the workplace
• Changes his/her behaviors or responses to situations
• Use the learning to make better decisions

As you would have noticed, this is beyond just testing the learner’s knowledge or retention.

A study published in the Journal of Applied Psychology showed that transfer of learning from a trainer to a learner is 17% more effective when the content is short and easy-to-understand.

10 Principles to design effective microlearning content

1) Focus on Adult Learning Principles:
Adults do not learn well when the training is an information dump – be it an instructor led training, elearning or microlearning. The design needs to ensure that it is :
• Aligned to the specific goals that the learner needs to achieve – personal or professional
• Built on the learner’s prior knowledge and experience.
• Challenging enough to engage the learner

2) Use Instructional Design Principles.
It is very important to start your design by asking important questions such as:
• What do the learners need to do?
• What decision do they need to make?
• Are they doing it now? If not, why?
• What are the challenges they face while trying to accomplish these goals?
• Can a learning intervention help them achieve these goals?
• Are there other environmental factors that are impacting how they achieve these goals – such as culture, availability of resources, etc.

3) Leverage Microlearning for Spaced Repetition & Retrieval:
This relates directly to the forgetting curve, which causes learners to forget, on an average, 90% of what they have learnt within the first month. Microlearning content which is designed to help learners remember what they have learnt, in spaced intervals and apply it in the immediate work context goes a long way in ensuring transfer of learning.

4) Think of Working Memory & Attention:
We are living in a world of constant stimuli. When we are trying to focus on something (including learning something new), we get bombarded with emails, phone calls, text messages or maybe our to – do list. There is just so much that the brain can retain. Design microlearning, keeping in mind these factors. Time well, provide minimum info and provide useful tools that can help learners retain the content.

5) Leverage the ‘70 – 20 – 10’ Principle
Research indicates that learning is effective when the content is broadly structured into the following way:
10% – Education – Workshop, Reading, etc.
20% – Exposure or Social Learning – Peer Learning, Mentorship, Discussions and Debates
70 %- Experience – Projects, Application Exercises, Real Life Scenarios Etc.
Design your microlearning content to leverage all three aspects and primarily the 70%

6) Encourage Voluntary Participation:
One of the biggest advantages of Microlearning is that it is self – paced. Learners reach out to Microlearning content when they need it the most. It could be right before a learner is about to:
• Solve a problem
• Create something
• Demonstrate a product
• Have a conversation
• Approaching something new
• Refresh something
Learners can be encouraged to engage with the content voluntarily by targeting specific learning needs, suitable prompts, sharing instances of how the principles can be used to fulfil the needs and the positive outcomes of using those principles.

7) Leverage Social Learning:
Social learning is relatively less used in the space of Microlearning. Researched and documented extensively by Albert Banduras, social learning is our ability to learn by observing others’ behavior, attitudes, and outcomes of such behaviour. It is much more complex than it sounds. Microlearning can be designed to help learners reflect and think critically at their own pace. It can provide opportunities for learners to discuss specific questions or evaluate the responses of other learners.

8) Design for Accessibility:
Accessibility ensures that learners are able to pick up skills in the flow of work, and hence this is of paramount importance when it comes to the design. The content should be easily accessible to learners on their mobile phones for easy access, which allows it to be accessed at the moment of need. Accessibility in design also relates to the use of text, font, images, multimedia which is universally accessible.

9) Leverage Gamification
Gamification is the process of adding elements that encourage engagement and collaboration. You can do the following to gamify your content:
• Use an engaging storyline, add characters, contexts and challenges
• Add different levels of difficulty that learners can go through
• Use a scoring system and leaderboards which clearly indicates progress

10) Provide Feedback
It is very important for learners to gauge the impact of what they are doing. Learning happens when learners reflect on the experiences and the outcomes of what they have done. Feedback does not mean responding as correct or incorrect – it means to help the learner understand the impact of what they do and providing information to help them improve their process and outcomes.

Consider a training on using fire extinguishers in an apartment. You could either assess their knowledge on different types of extinguishers or give them a scenario where they have to choose a particular extinguisher and then follow it up with what happens next.

Well there! Now you have sufficient knowledge in Microlearning to speak of it with confidence. You may be even thinking if this is a good option for your learners and organization.

The next will address some of the questions that you may come across if you are considering Microlearning as a learning approach for your organization.

What difficulties does microlearning solve for L&D practitioners?

If you are a Learning & Development practitioner, you may encounter quite a few challenges which Microlearning can solve. Below are some examples.
1) It Combats the Forgetting Curve:
Serious learning interventions cannot lead to behavior changes without spaced repetition and retrieval. Ebinghauss Forgetting Curve indicates that we forget, on an average 90% of what we have learnt in the first month – without spaced repetition and retrieval.Microlearning provides an opportunity for learners to reinforce concepts they have learned in a workshop.

2) It Helps Change Behaviors:
This is every L&D Practitioner’s dream come true – designing interventions which lead to tangible changes in behaviors and in turn, leads to positive business outcomes. Effectively designed microlearning content can create opportunities for learners to contextualize what they have learnt by experimenting with it in a safe environment.

3) It Helps Reach Geographically Dispersed Workforce:
Technology in the microlearning space is developing in leaps and bound. Most platforms are optimized for easy consumption of content through the ubiquitous device – our smart phone. There are industries like pharmaceuticals or retail and functions like sales, which heavily deploy a distributed workforce. Learning and Development functions can benefit greatly by deploying microlearning content which can be easily consumed by such a distributed workforce.

4) It delivers a healthy ROI:
This is a question that most Business Heads ask their HR Business Partner or L&D Practitioners – what is the ROI on our massive investments on learning and development? Microlearning does provide a solution to this question in following ways:
• Microlearning content focuses on highly targeted goals – often arising from business needs. Read our SMOLLAN Case study here.
• Microlearning encourages learners to practice their skills in a safe environment, considering the feedback. Through spaced repetition and retrieval, learners have a higher chance of transferring their understanding to the workplace.
• Investments in microlearning are considerably lower as compared to traditional workshops or elearning. Microlearning content can also be easily customized and scaled up as and when required – leading to reduction in costs.

5) It Enhances Agility of Developing Content:
This is one of the toughest challenges that L&D practitioners are dealing with currently. Business contexts are changing continuously and roles are evolving every day. How do we keep up with such changes? Something that you design today, becomes irrelevant tomorrow. Microlearning provides the option of easily editing content as per the context, role, function, industry or target audience. You can easily scale up as per your needs with minimum effort and investment.

Now that you have understood the various advantages of using Microlearning, it’s important to understand if it solves the problems of your business. Below are some points that you can use to evaluate if Microlearning is a right solution for your business.

When should you use microlearning & when should you not?

Microlearning is seeing rapid adoption across various industries and functions, because it solves some key business and talent problems. You should consider adopting Microlearning under the following conditions:

1) You operate in a complex industry:
Though most industries are affected by volatility, uncertainty, complexity and ambiguity, there are some industries which are more prone to these. Or there are certain business cycles which make the industry especially prone to changes. Learning and Development teams need to keep up with their businesses and provide agile learning solutions at a low cost. Examples of industries that could benefit greatly:

• Pharmaceutical Industry : Frequently changing product/drugs and requirement for regulatory compliance. Read our blog posts on how you can leverage microlearning in the pharmaceutical industry.
• Retail : Constantly changing product portfolio and product specifications.
• Auto Industry – launching a new product

2) You have a geographically dispersed workforce
If you work for a function which deploys a workforce which is very widely spread out across geographies, you will benefit greatly from deploying a mobile based microlearning solution. Employees in such functions access their desktops only intermittently and often cut off from the training mainstream. The other constraint may be that you are unable to remove them for a few hours of classroom workshop. You can improve the accessibility and impact of your existing training offerings by leveragingmobile based microlearning.

Examples of functions that could benefit from mobile based microlearning solutions.
• Sales
• Customer Service Executives
• eCommerce Delivery Executives
• Retail Store Employees
• Nurses in a Hospital

3) Your employees need flexibility in learning
Most organizations are increasingly moving towards providing flexible working options for their employees which include a heavy component of work from home. Microlearning, as a training approach is well placed to provide flexibility to learners to learn anytime, anywhere and on a device of their choice. Microlearning, being a self – paced format also allows employees to access learning that they need to or want to and overlook what they don’t. Voluntary participation is critical to the success of training transfer. Some employee groups that could benefit greatly are:
• Coders coding from home
• Working parents needing more flexibility
• Management trainees on field visits

4) You want to develop specific talent groups:
If talent management is an important function in your organization, microlearning will go a long way in managing a blended learning journey for your talent cohorts. It will also provide opportunities for continuous learning. Some examples include:
• Design and deploy a learning journey for your newly hired management trainees.
• Blended leadership development journey for hi – potential employees
• Develop the next run of technical specialists for your research function
• Women’s Leadership Development Program in partnership with a University

5) Your organization has a culture of continuous learning
Before you consider microlearning, it is important to assess the readiness of your organization to take this leap of faith. Here are some questions that you might want to reflect upon:
• Does your organization care about the impact of the learning interventions? If yes, what is the proof point? How is the impact measured?
• Does your organization care about providing continuous learning opportunities to its talent? Are there any examples of continuous learning journey interventions in the recent past?
• Is your organization ready for this change? Adopting microlearning may require technical integration? Are there any proof points from the recent past?
• You would need resources to implement a microlearning format in your organization. Can you get a cross – functional team that can help deploy? Would you have the necessary monetary and talent resources to maintain the platform? Without these, your microlearning platform may just end up being a white elephant.

On the other hand, you should not consider Microlearning under the following conditions:
• Microlearning is just perceived as a next thing to do in the learning space
• There is no clear business case or valid use cases for microlearning.
• There is significant resistance to technological integrations at this point.
• Your organization is relatively young in the talent development lifecycle.
• You just want to convert your slide decks to mobile based content

Once you have assessed whether Microlearning is a suitable option for your organization and learners, you will need to start by first identifying valid use cases for microlearning. These use cases are like ‘hypotheses’ that you have about Microlearning. You can use this to create a business case for microlearning and present to your leadership team.

In the next topic, we have highlighted 5 distinctive use cases that you can try out in your learning and development strategy

5 use cases of microlearning to incorporate in your L&D strategy

1. To Develop Your Field Force
Microlearning is a great way to develop the skills of a geographically dispersed workforce. Goal Oriented Modules which enable the field force to pick up skills when and where they want. You can also choose to place specific job aids within the microlearning content that employees can refer to easily.

Below are some examples of how microlearning can be used to develop your frontline field force:
• Specific tips to handle difficult client conversations
• Product training modules for easy reference
• Employee performance discussion – process and scenarios
• How to make a great first impression with a client
• Client exceptions handling
• Best practices for making a presentation

2. Onboard New Joiners:
Meaningful employee onboarding goes a long way in ensuring retention, engagement and performance. With the help of microlearning, you can design a continuous onboarding journey which extends beyond the first 2 days of connect. Here are some ideas that you can use:
• Nuggets on the organizational values
• Specific tasks or activities that help the new joiners understand the organizational culture and history
• Meaningful challenges which encourage the learners to know more about their organization and peers

3. Large Scale Agile Learning
Organizations are going through change continuously – product features, new variants, compliance policies and important information. How do you help your employees pick up these before it becomes irrelevant? Microlearning can help you to easily design content that can be rolled out on a large scale and be accessed by employees on their mobile phones. Here are some examples :
• Roll out of a new product training, follow up and applications
• Compliance Training such as POSH
• Safety Procedures Refresher

4. Blended Learning Journey
A blended learning journey comprises elements which engage learners with a variety of formats which could be live or self – paced. While the live sessions focus on debates and discussion, the self – paced content is best delivered through microlearning. Learners can engage with the content at their own pace and apply learnings in a safe and low risk environment. Here are few examples of using Microlearning in a blended learning journey:
New Manager Learning Journey which focuses on strategic thinking and people development skills.
Hi – Potential Blended Learning Journey which develops key competencies for talent development.

Once you have identified the suitable use cases of microlearning in your business, you may wish to evaluate a few microlearning platforms to suit the needs of your organization.

How do you evaluate a microlearning platform

Evaluating a Microlearning Platform can be a daunting task. Going through all the tech, understanding the multitude of features and evaluating if they will solve your purpose. It’s a long haul!

We have put together a few points to help you do this evaluation. We have also embedded a sample google sheet that you can use.

When you evaluate a Microlearning platform. You need to consider three broad areas:
1. Learner User Experience
2. Ease OfAuthoring & Administration
3. Cost Related Factors

Each of these broad areas have sub – points. When you begin, we suggest that you set a priority factor for each of these sub – points, in the context of the need of your organization. Chances are you will not get a platform that suits all the purposes, but the prioritization will help you reach a decision.

1. Learner User Experience:

a) End User (Learner) Experience:
Here you need to evaluate how agile, neat and intuitive is the experience for the learner. A disruptive experience can impact the learning. Try out the content of the platform on your web and phone. A few questions to keep in mind:
• Is the app easy to view and navigate?
• Are there any steps which are difficult to understand for a first time user?
• Will the learners need to be onboarded onto the platform before they start using?
• Can the learners access the leaderboards, messaging and discussion forums easily?

Get a few prospective learners to test out the content and give you feedback on these parameters.

b) Accessibility:
One of the biggest advantages of microlearning is its ability to be consumed anytime and anywhere. Accessibility is a big deciding factor. If you are going to use the platform for developing your field force, ensure that the user experience on their handheld devices is great. You need to check that the app is available for both android and iphones. Test out the readability of the font and visibility of the videos. Also test how easy or difficult it is to look up content so that your employees can access what they want to learn at the time when they need it.

c) Personalization:
How would you like to learn on a platform that doesn’t seem to ‘get’ you? Personalization helps to make your content sticky. Consider asking the following questions:
• Does the platform allow learners to be addressed with their names?
• Can you personalize the content for specific roles?
• Can learners work on their own projects or experiences or is it just one way dialogue?
• How do you link back to what the learner has shared earlier?
• Can the platform suggest new programs based on the learner’s history?

d) Social Learning:
This is an important aspect for learning to be impactful through your chosen microlearning platform. A few questions that you could ask are:
• How good is the discussion board? Does it allow discussions to happen smoothly?
• Does it allow learners to evaluate (like, comment) on others posts?

In our experience, a discussion board which is directly linked to the content is better as compared to a standalone discussion board. Here’s an example, say you have a microlearning module which is about a recent product launch. It would be better to ask the learners to share their thoughts about the new product as part of the content itself – rather than in a standalone discussion board.

e) Game – Based Elements
Does the platform provide for incorporating game based elements into the design. For example, if you were to run a quiz, you could do it either through a simple quiz or through a racing game which would make it more engaging. Check the simplicity of accessing the dashboard too, as this appeals a lot to the competitive learners.

2. Administration & Authoring:

Once you have purchased the platform, you and your L&D team would be left with the day to day authoring and administration. So evaluate this in detail before you commit. Take time to do some authoring and administration using trial licenses. Get some of your colleagues to do the same. Here’s what should be considered while evaluating the ease of administration and authoring.

a. Number and variety of learning actions:
Check out the various types of learning actions that could be used to design a course. There are some pretty standard ones, such as read something, embed an external link, embed a photo or video, capture a photo or video etc. Some platforms take it a notch higher by including interesting features. GNOWBE allows you to add quotes and send out templated emails from within the course. Gametize has a QR Code scan action. Nuveda allows you to capture behavioral feedback from the learner or managers directly. Note that a large variety of learning actions gives you flexibility while designing the course, but makes authoring a tougher task.

b. Competencies & Learning Journeys:
If you belong to an organization which takes its competencies very seriously, this is something you should look out for. Questions that you would like to ask are:
• Can you configure your organizational competencies onto the platform and set the level of expertise?
• Can you map various programs against those competencies?
• Can you create a learning journey for specific learning cohorts.?
All of these are very advanced features which could help you in the long run.

c. Analytics and Dashboard:
Most microlearning platforms come with an analytics dashboard. Important for you would be to see how to use the information. Consider the following points :
• Does it allow me to measure both completion and learner’s level of engagement?
• Can I download the dashboard easily and share?
• Does it give me information on the impact of what I have designed?
• Does it allow me to access the learners’ study material easily?
• How many ways can I slice and dice the data?

d. Messaging:
Messaging refers to the ability to send push and email notifications to the learners from the platform admin page itself. Ask the following questions?
• Can I send app notifications to the learners? Can I map these notifications to specific users or programs?
• Can I send email notifications to the learners? Can I map these notifications to specific users or programs?
Last but not least, you need to understand the various cost elements. Here are certain points you need to ask.

10 best practices while designing microlearning content: a checklist

• Stick to just one goal in one microlearning session. Start your design with the end – goal in mind
• Use a combination of content formats to deliver the learning i.e. audio clips with Q&A quizzes. Be creative in how you use these formats.
• Each microlearning module should have 3 to 8 learning actions for quick completion
• Increase the level of challenge in each microlearning session.
• Provide clear signs/markers and point the way to each microlearning module, at stages where your employee may require it the most. (Ex: “Visit our How to Use Salesforce video to learn more”.)
• Blend microlearning with macro -learning for maximum impact.
• Test your content on the mobile.
• Include gamification elements to engage learners.
• Make microlearning more engaging by going social – start discussion forums or Quora Q&A’s to encourage your learners to interact.
• Personalize by referring to learners by names, or building on their personal contributions

7 ways to measure effectiveness of microlearning modules

The proof of the pudding is in the eating. So how will you measure the effectiveness of your microlearning modules, after you have rolled it out to your team? Here are a few factors that you should be considering:
1) Completion Percentage:
This is simply the percentage of content completed by learners compared to the entire content. This is just an indicator of engagement and does not prove learning or change in behavior.

2) Contributions:
This is the number of responses to various questions, contributions to discussions or likes and shares. This is also an indicator of engagement and does not prove learning or change in behaviour.

3) Level of Confidence:
This is a parameter which is self – reported by the learner before and after completing a microlearning course. Though this is an important indicator, it usually indicates the learner’s confidence immediately after completing the course. It is not indicative of lasting behavioral change.

4) Learning:
We can measure retention of knowledge through quizzes and assessments. Though it does not indicate change in behavior, quizzing and assessments should be used in regular intervals to encourage spaced repetition and retrieval.

5) Applications:
This metric measures whether a learner has successfully applied their learning in the given context. For example, if they are learning how to give feedback to a co-worker and they use this information to redesign a feedback they have given earlier – it proves a successful application. You could also ask the learner to share a video recording of them providing feedback. These instances, when measured only once, do not indicate lasting behavior impact. However, it can be an effective tool in creating lasting behavioral changes if used at spaced intervals.

6) Behavioral Feedback:
This is one of the most commonly used tool in measuring the effectiveness of learning content. Take feedback from the learner’s manager (or team members and peers) before delivering the microlearning course. Use the information to customize the content and measure the behaviors after a few months to check for lasting changes.

7) Business Outcomes:
Starting with a business outcome would be the ideal way to design, deliver and measure the impact of your microlearning content. For example, if the business outcome is to reduce the number of accidents on the factory floor, this target can help identify specific microlearning goals, identify job aids, design the content and specific application scenarios.

Case studies of microlearning adoption

CASE STUDY 1: Smollan deploys a blended Learning Journey using Microlearning, powered by GNOWBE
Objective : Develop the competencies of the Global Delivery Team. The competencies that were targeted were :
• Strategic Thinking
• People Development
• Operational Excellence
• Leadership

Design :
Competency development is a long-term process and a one-time intervention is unlikely to make a lasting impact. Keeping this is mind, a blended learning journey was designed for SMOLLAN with the following elements:
• Self – Report Questionnaire
• 2 – Day Experiential Workshop
• 90 – Day reinforcement through mobile microlearning

We designed 10 Mobile Based Microlearning Challenges which provided the learners with the following opportunities :
• Spaced repetition of what they learned at the workshop
• Opportunities to practice skills in a safe environment
• Engage with real life scenarios where they could engage with the skills

We saw a 61% average completion rate and 228 valid applications, which included case studies and real life scenarios. The head of the business remarked that the small and effective doses enabled the continuous learning journey.

To read more about this Case Study, click here.

CASE STUDY 2: Ecommerce Company : A Ninja Quest. Powered by Gametize.
Objective: Immersing employees in an adventure to learn more about company culture.

The company’s office in Singapore was looking to deliver their values and principles in a way that was more in line to the nature of the foundations themselves. Previously, the employees learned of the company’s culture and values through booklets and slides.

The company had acquired multiple sister companies and wanted to use this opportunity to educate new employees, refresh and realign current employees on the company’s values and principles in a fun and engaging way.

The company wanted to capture interest while enhancing the experience of Players by creating a storyline with a strong narrative and visuals. Thus, “A Ninja Quest” was born. Players would join a ninja called Sam on a quest to save the world by learning about the company’s values and principles and to complete interactive Challenges throughout.

A Ninja Quest” consisted mostly of Flashcards, multiple choice quizzes, open-text challenges, and QR Code challenges.

To keep Players excited and engaged, “checkpoints” were implemented for players to track their game progress and redeem themed prizes, such as:
• “Ninja Armour” (T-shirts with a print of the character in the game)
• “Magic Potion” (Drinks)
• “Lucky Charm” (Lanyards)

“A Ninja Quest” was a fully immersive narrative complemented by strong visuals and copywriting had a mostly positive reception with employees. This made “A Ninja Quest” truly stand out from other projects and this was reflected in the high number of completions and high completion rate, with 253 players making 8,436 submissions to result in an average completion rate of 84%.

Read the complete case study here.

CASE STUDY 3: Reduced Safety Incidents at Walmart’s Distribution Centers, Powered by Axonify.
• Reduce safety incidents in Walmart Logistics locations
• Build a world-class safety culture
• Improve employee knowledge and retention about safety practices
• Engage multi-generational staff and keep safety top of mind
• Predict at-risk behaviors

• The training was deployed across 150 Walmart Distribution Centers across the United states to more than 75,000 associates.
• During each shift, associates could log on to the Axonify platform and spend 3-5 minutes playing a fun game while answering safety questions. With instant feedback, employees would know which questions they’ve answered correctly and where they need improvement.
• The system used the responses to provide reinforcement and follow – up questions in the next log in. Employees could see their individual progress as well as how they measure up against their peers, sparking friendly competition between coworkers.
• Behavioral data would be imported into the system which allowed the app to further adjust the training and reinforcement.

• Recordable incidents at 8 of Walmart’s distribution centers decreased by 54% during the pilot
• 96% of behavior observations have been positive
• Voluntary participation on the platform averages 91%

Read the complete case study here.

CASE STUDY 4:Telecom company achieves fantastic results on employee engagement and application of knowledge at the customer contact center. Powered by GNOWBE.
Key Challenges:
• High turnover rate among call center operators.
• One of face to face training with little follow up – resulting in poor retention and application.

• Employees were trained on a wide range of topics, ranging from regional culture and holidays of the target market to tips on handling challenging customer questions.
• Client’s powerpoint decks were converted to interactive digital learning journeys, each module no more than 10 to 15 minutes long, using a variety of learning actions.

• 100% of learners agreed that the program was enjoyable and fun
• 93% agreed that they are confident to apply what they learned

Read the complete case study here.

CASE STUDY 5: Whisper Courses at Google to create a culture of Psychological Safety.
• In one of its well known studies by Google, it found that psychological safety in teams is one of the highest impacting factors for team performance. The objective was to use the lessons learned to help thousands of Googlers foster a psychologically safe team culture

• Format: Short emails of 1-2 paragraphs with best practices that new managers can follow to engage with their teams.
• How it works: Managers read the mails and implement the suggestions in their teams. The emails gently nudge the new managers to get to know their teammates and to foster a healthy culture in the team.

• Managers trained through Whisper improved in that particular skill between 22% & 40 during the next assessment.

Read the complete case study here.


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