Change is the name of the game these days in business. Just consider your professional resolutions at the beginning of January this year. Things went fine for a while, business as usual, as people say. Then… the Covid-19 pandemic came in and changed everything.
Restaurant owners went into the takeaway business; therapists began doing therapy online with their clients; school made a swift transition to remote teaching; my ballet trainer created a YouTube account and began posting workouts online.
In such a context, people need to acquire new skills rapidly if they want to stay competitive.
3 Key aspects of effective microlearning
The main advantage of any microlearning strategy is that you can quickly address specific issues without disrupting your employees’ daily schedule. If you combine it with peer learning, there is a good chance that this mix will create good habits that stick, such as continuous learning.
If you want microlearning to work in a business environment, identify those specific pain points that affect productivity and try to address them in a quick and efficient manner. Easier said than done!
Let’s see three steps that might help you implement an effective microlearning strategy:
Do not try to think that microlearning is a catchall solution for all possible problems. Start small and address issues one at a time. Identify a critical point, a root cause, and connect it to a broader business strategy.
A few things to take into account at this stage:
- Recurrence — Which are the most frequent pain points?
- Validation — How did you validate the root cause?
- Priority — Why is this issue more critical than others?
- Context — How does this issue align with our company’s broader goals?
- Results — Wheat will improve if we address this issue?
Once you have identified the main pain points, in other words, you can put a finger on the critical issues, start to address them. At this stage, the most important thing is to stay focused and do not get distracted. It’s easy to lose focus when things go haywire.
Identify and manage competing priorities. Try to answer these questions:
- Approach — What’s the best approach to address the root cause?
- People — Who is the best person to pass on knowledge in an effective manner?
- Distractions — What other issues might divide attention from this strategy?
- Context — How can you make sure that learning is provided in a real work context?
Make it stick
At this third stage of the microlearning strategy, you should focus on knowledge transfer. Make sure that there is real-time effective learning, as this is one of the main benefits of microlearning. If you offer (micro)learning opportunities on the fly, you might have the chance of solving problems without any disruption in the daily activities.
However, make sure that these microlearning sessions are effective. A few things to consider:
- Connection — How can you connect learning sessions and daily tasks?
- Transfer — How can you provide opportunities for learning transfer?
- Context — How can you create meaningful contexts for the employees?
- Limitations — What are the barriers against the creation of a learning culture in the company?
- Retention — How can you maximize the retention of new learning?
The difference between informal microlearning, that occurs in informal contexts and a clearly defined strategy is that in time you can measure the results. Keep in mind that microlearning has its limitations: it will not (it cannot) solve systemic problems, but it might be useful if you want to address specific issues.
Make sure that your microlearning efforts are integrated naturally in the day-to-day routine of your employees and you will soon see the benefits. People are the most important asset of any business. Make sure that you create learning opportunities for them and allow them to grow. One (micro)step at a time!
Veronica is a multilingual trainer of trainers. She has years of experience working with adult learners, both in Higher Education and in the business sector.