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Elearning: innovate or keep it simple? | Part 2: Microlearning

Learning innovations - Microlearning

This post is the second in a series about innovation in elearning. Customized elearning can offer great value when well-aligned to your learning goals. Read on to learn about the balance between innovation and simplicity.

The learning world has embraced microlearning the way pop culture has embraced beards and patterned leggings. All of these popular options work well only when you implement them correctly—packing multiple concepts into one tiny course is as problematic as wearing unicorn-print stretch pants to a client meeting. So, what is the right time and place for these trends?

Microlearning boasts brief, succinct learning experiences that promise to give the learner great information in a short time frame. It works best when it contains one clear, actionable concept. (For  more on this topic, see “Microlearning is like a well-packed suitcase”.) The quickest way to decrease the value of microlearning is to overfill it. Piling in multiple ideas or concepts can muddy the purpose and cause learners to struggle to execute behavior change you’re seeking.

To get the results you want without skipping important information, create a series of single-topic microlearning courses. You can even schedule individual concepts to push out to the audience over time. Blending more complicated concepts with follow-up activities and even live workshops is another creative way you can increase hands-on application of the information learners gleaned from the module.

Be very wary about over-engineering your microlearning courses by packing too much information and excessive interactions into each module. Cramming in more may seem like you’re reducing the total number of courses a user will have to complete, but the result is likely to be lower retention of content, less application on the job, and possible confusion about the key point (or points) you want the learner to take away. As you review content in preparation to build a microlearning ecosystem, make sure you slice each lesson into the smallest pieces you can. This will keep the courses truly micro while still offering one full concept with relevant examples or stories.

This strategy applies to real life, too. When it comes to my favorite leggings, I restrain myself to one print per outfit and limit their wear to places more casual than the office. As for beards, my husband and I can’t seem to agree on whether the use of the newly popular beard jewelry and accessories is right for him. I guess you can’t apply elearning strategy to everything …

Innovate or keep it simple? Part 3


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