When eLearning tools first emerged on the market, courses were typically created by simply replicating the classroom experience through technology. So, if a classroom course consisted of a one-hour lecture, reading assignments, and homework, the online version was the same, using a video of the lecture and then providing readings, discussion forums, and the ability to submit the assignment electronically.
It quickly became clear that this process didn’t provide the same learning experience or level of retention for learners. Today’s online courses are structured very differently, focusing on small chunks of “micro learning”. Learning science has taught us that this structure, combined with the ability to apply the new ideas or processes quickly in a practical way, lead to much higher rates of retention.
“The majority of today’s learners, especially in the corporate world, are busy people who need learning tools that fit into their schedules. Presenting high-impact content in small bites has proven to be the most effective way to engage with working professionals,” says Dr. Ann K. Fuerst, Chief Learning Officer of CoreAxis Consulting.
Micro learning is clearly the future of online learning, but taking content from long form to bite-sized learning elements takes time and expertise. It’s not enough to just break up a PowerPoint, it’s about designing a learning experience that sticks and stacks, building on each successful element.
“We’ve seen tremendous growth in the demand for micro learning,” said Mark Zides, President of CoreAxis Consulting. “We’ve seen some really exciting outcomes in terms of retention and engagement with the content.”
With all the interest in micro learning, there are some key points for learning and development managers to consider:
- It’s All About the Science – Micro learning is not just the same eLearning you have now broken into smaller bites, it’s rooted in the science of how people learn. Implementing micro learning requires instructional design and is based on advances in scientific understanding of how we learn best.
- It’s Like Legos – Think of the modules of micro learning as stackable building blocks. Different combinations lead to different competencies, which can then stack into learning tracks or credentials.
- It’s Personalized – Have you ever sat through a class you had to take even though you already knew the content? Well-designed micro learning programs allow learners to focus on what they need to learn, not what they have already mastered.
- Platforms Matter – Not all Learning Management Systems (LMS) are created equal. Over the last few years we have seen huge growth in the number and variety of options? to host learning content. It’s important to choose the right toolset to deliver and track micro learning programs effectively.
Micro learning is a powerful tool which can transform the experience of learners, and provide just-in-time training and development opportunities. Getting the most out of an investment in micro learning requires thoughtful design and expertise in both the science and the technology. Interested? Contact us to learn more about how you can develop micro learning solutions for your organization.