Microlearning is a brilliant solution for many informal learners’ needs. This guide provides ideas for improving the impact of microlearning courses. Microlearning provides learning in small packages which are very specific. There is growing science that this approach is more in tune with how our minds learn and avoids cognitive overload.  

Is the resource still relevant?

What knowledge gap does the resource help fill and is that still appropriate for your learners? We live in an era of rapid changes; As Harry Beckwith says in Selling the Invisible: The first rule of marketing is “Is this still viable anymore?” it applies equally to learning what worked last year may not work now. Before promoting content make sure it is still useful to maximise its impact.

In RedJamJar’s experience learning catalogues don’t get pruned often enough. As a result, learners often have to navigate old materials in out of date formats. This can confuse learners (‘What do I need to do?’) and turns them away (‘It’s just too hard, I’ll do it later’). Archiving resources may be the right solution. Alternatively, consider repurposing content and extracting the parts which can be used in another way.

Create a microlearning playlist

A carefully prepared playlist of resources

A carefully prepared playlist of content

We all like a great playlist, and it’s even better when it’s been curated for us. The same approach can be applied with microlearning. Organising resources into playlists which can be shared for specific roles and topics can help to structure resources, allowing learners to pick and choose the order and pace of their learning.

A simple playlist can be delivered to a learner’s mobile or desktop. Including google analytics will help you to work out which resources are effective. Over time, you can build up a collection of playlists focused on different roles or topics which your learners can browse and share with each other.

Use a cubicle door

If posting key messages on the back of a cubicle door works, then do it. Or promote the resource to those it’s intended for in a targeted regular internal email. There is no value in an extensive learning catalogue in itself, the only really important metric is a high-performing team. Curating resources and sending out an internal round-up of content on a regular (but not too frequent) basis is helpful. For example, you might create a customer sales tips mailshot and include 4-6 resources which each provides a 3-minute piece of content on one aspect.

Using email services like MailChimp will give you useful data to optimise the experience and thus create an active learning culture. Over time, these data points can be tracked and individual performance improvements correlated to company KPIs.

Wisdom of the crowd

Track who is reading what and use this to refine the list of learning content that is based on what your audience is finding useful. As with YouTube, encourage your audience to say in the discussion box why they found the learning useful.

Banish generic phrases and gobbledygook

If you are not seeing the open rates you’d like for the resource, consider rewriting the name and description.I often see a learning catalogue where each course begins with gobbledygook like ‘Power 318 Dynamic Induction’ or else something entirely generic such as ‘Leadership Skills’. Neither is helpful. Avoid the curse of knowledge (see more on this in this great explanation by Ludvig Sunstrom) or generic titles. And most importantly, put yourself in the shoes of the marketeer – sell the value of the learning from the point of view of the learner. For example, when promoting some compliance training a description that starts with… Three Steps to Keep you out of Jail is more enticing than Who the Money Laundering Regulations apply to and what they mean for your business.

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Paul Brown