Today’s learners are busy, pragmatic and want learning at their fingertips. With dwindling attention span that makes them easily distracted, they are highly driven by technology and crave for learning anytime and anywhere. That’s the story of modern learners! Thriving in such a digital era where addiction to smartphones cannot be denied, especially with modern learners who are a digital native generation with 96 percent smartphone ownership.
As per a recent research, users unlock their mobile phones nine times an hour and millennials check their phones 150 times a day. In L&D space, around 67 percent of learners learn on mobile devices by consuming information everywhere. And around a third of people learn while traveling to and from work. Undoubtedly, we are we moving towards a mobile first learning environment.
Companies are gradually forced to innovate and create high quality mobile first learning experiences with micro learning models for current workforce. Research suggests that the global microlearning market size is expected to grow from $1.5Bn in 2019 to $2.7Bn by 2024, at a Compound Annual Growth Rate (CAGR) of 13.2% during the forecast period. There is a significant unceasing demand for training deskless. And with growing need for skill based and result oriented training among organizations, there is a major thrust embarked on micro and mobile learning. Hence, learning needs to be faster, quicker and byte sized to deliver maximum impact.
The lack of impetus among learners and lack of awareness of microlearning benefits are posing as major hurdles. So, time to unravel how you and your L&D leaders can design micro-sized learning programs to enable employees to learn on the go?
Learners and their learning objective
From a business perspective, microlearning is appealing as it is quick, cost effective and easy to deploy. However, it is imperative to understand your target audience before you jump up to create your learning strategy. Know your learners and then identify only one learning objective to test the waters. The critical point to ponder here is what kind of impact you would want to bring post training. You need to be sure of the derivative of your learning objectives. Learning objectives are the outcomes that your learners achieve at the end of each course. To make your micro learning strategy effective, focus on only one single objective to begin with and make sure the objective, identified in your microlearning, is attainable and results in behavioral change of the learners.
Content is the key and will always be
The content used in traditional e-learning courses cannot be simply replicated in microlearning capsules. Microlearning cannot be effective by simply adding interactivities and videos unless you fundamentally change the nature of the content. The learners want formats that are entertaining and engaging. However, a true microlearning module is built on purpose. It is not easy to create ideas that come in a pre-packaged 90 second bursts. In microlearning, you have to be precise; provide a short introduction but then going straight to the main point. L&D professionals need to invest and make a lot of efforts to create content that are impactful, informational, compact, engaging and meaningful.
Support learners to develop their own stories
Learners will learn the most, retain it easily and use it frequently in work only when they can relate with the learnt content. Use real life scenarios and experiences in your storyboards and help to make the micro learning module more effective. However, refrain from using numerous subplots and too much detail in your examples, else the learner may become cognitively overloaded and the main objective of the course will get lost. Support them to develop their own stories by invoking curiosity. Use videos, images and graphics to create a strong impression and apply audio narration to help in retention of information.
Maintain conversational tone
Conversational tones create connections; it makes the learners feel more real and human. Hence, effective microlearning storyboards should always have active voice patterns. Try to avoid narratives. Do not ramble; the idea here is to convey your message in as few words as possible so that the objective is not diluted. The micro part is just one tiny piece of the story, but it sometimes steals the headlines. So, never go overboard.
Microlearning is indeed the future of learning and is being used by many organizations. Walmart leveraged it for enhancing employee knowledge and retention regarding safety practices. At InterContinental Hotels Group (IHG), such bite-sized trainings are working well for their customer service representatives. In fact, their on-boarding time had drastically reduced from five weeks to just two weeks. Many banking products too are now based on the concept of micro learning. It is indeed the time to embrace this learner centric, need based and quick to update tool that thrives on cognitive principles, proving how small chunks of digestible learning when consumed continuously at intervals helps knowledge to stick.
(Know more about the latest trends in the learning & development landscape at the People Matters L&D Conference 2019 scheduled for 6th November in Mumbai. Click here to register.)