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Microlearning Trends – How to enhance company training and eLearning


November 11, 2018



microlearning trends

Traditional eLearning-based training courses typically involve workers sitting in front of long, uninspiring computer-based courses and being deluged with information which won’t all be relevant. This is a problem when human short-term memory can only contain three-to-five pieces of new information before it gets pushed out or overwritten. This is why many L&D professionals are turning to microlearning to replace or augment existing training methods: by imparting new information or reinforcing existing information, using topics that have been broken down into easily-digestible,bite-sized chunks, it is far more likely that knowledge will be transferred from short-term to long-term memory. So which microlearning trends can enable this form of better learning?

Microlearning Trends – 7 ways to enhance company training and eLearning

1. Agility

Most eLearning courses are authored by a specialist company or internal department, wrapped in a basic-but-compatible file wrapper (like SCORM) and then uploaded into whichever LMS (Learning Management System) that the organisation uses. Once that’s been done, the course author is unlikely to see how well their course has performed unless a formal performance meeting is conducted a significant time later. Any subsequent course updates involve a lengthy, convoluted and expensive process to implement and, not surprisingly in company training environments, once the initial courseware investment has been made, there’s little appetite from those who control budgets, to keep spending on more.

On the other hand, a good microlearning-based system has the authoring tool integrated into a template-based LMS. With such short microlessons being required, it’s simple to both create and update lessons – keeping them fresh and more engaging. Rather than referring to an incident from 1988, a more-relevant, topical and engaging example could potentially be used from the news the night before. The small lesson sizes also mean that lessons can be easily distributed, via the cloud,to learners’ own mobile devices. So learning agility in terms of microlearning trends means potentially authoring a course in the morning and distributing it to an entire workforce it in the afternoon.

2. Mobile Based

Most eLearning systems work on mobile devices. However, there’s a huge difference between working on a mobile and being designed for mobile. Interacting with desktop-oriented content is usually clunky, fiddly and annoying and the poor user experience distracts from the knowledge transfer. With a mobile-first LMS,lessons are designed to work on small touchscreens. While this sounds scary and complex to implement, the nature of microlearning lessons means that interactive templates can be used. As such, basic lesson content like, for instance, true or false questions and answers, can easily be embedded within a Swipe Right or Left interactive template. Suddenly a boring question becomes more engaging and more effective. As such, mobile-based microlearning is one of the top microlearning trends.

3. Interactivity

Glumly choosing a multiple-choice answer in an eLearning course is the unfortunate reality for many people who “interact” with courseware. Microlearning’s interactive templates, however, offer multiple fresh and engaging ways to choose answers: Word Search,Scratch-to-Reveal, Connecting Pairs are just a few examples of interactive ways to ask questions. When learning doesn’t feel like learning, it becomes more effective, and even(gasp!) fun.

4. Gamification

Interactivity is great, but adding an element of competition can make learning even more effective. By giving scores for correct answers,points for fast completion times and stars for completion percentages, learners are encouraged to do better. Adding leaderboards to your microlearning can also be an incentive. With traditional eLearning, it’s not uncommon for course completion rates to drop below 20%. With engaging, interactive, gamified microlearning, it’s not uncommon to see course completion rates over 90% and even beyond – people actually re-take courses to achieve higher scores. This makes gamification one of the most effective microlearning trends

5. Spaced Repetition

Getting learners to complete a course is one thing. Getting them to repeat it on multiple occasions over time… ugh! However, with microlearning, getting someone to complete a short microlesson over the course of weeks or months, is no big ask. As such microlearning is a great enabler of spaced repetition and its increasing application is one of the major microlearning trends.

6. Peer learning

When courses are authored by people in separate departments or even separate companies, the information is unlikely to be engaging to other learners. L&D experts agree that up-to one-third of company training should be performed by a learners’ peers. And it makes sense… nobody knows your business better than those who already work for it. The insight that a salesperson can give regarding a client they’ve been dealing with for years is worth much more than a one-size-fits-all course on salesmanship created by an outsider. A machine operator who knows a production line’s foibles will give much better real-world advice than an official instruction book. With microlearning and easy-to-use templates they can even create the lessons themselves– without an external L&D professional. There are added benefits too.Employees becoming teachers makes them feel more valued and loyal while those learning from them become more engaged. As such peer learning is one of the best ‘everyone’s a winner’ microlearning trends.

7. Just in Time Training

The small size of microlessons plus their ability to be distributed via the cloud, mean that learning on demand becomes practical.L&D professionals call this just-in-time training (JITT). It means that relevant microlessons can be delivered to a learner’s pocket minutes before the information is required. In the near future,machine learning and A.I. will be able to distribute JITT lessons on a predictive basis. It’s one of the more useful microlearning trends.

If all of this sounds like something your organisation can make use of, get in touch at enquiries@edapp.com. You can also try SC Training (formerly EdApp)’s Mobile LMS and authoring tool for free by signing up here or in the box below.

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Guest Author Daniel Brown

Daniel Brown is a senior technical editor and writer that has worked in the education and technology sectors for two decades. Their background experience includes curriculum development and course book creation.

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