Best Micro-Learning Practices

Best Micro-Learning Practices

Has the term “micro-learning” reached buzzword status yet? It is everywhere in and around the training and development industry. And there’s good reason for the constant drumbeat of the virtues of microlearning, bite-sized training, or whatever other term you choose to use.

Scientific research shows that we learn best when we are fed a single topic in five- to sevenminute chunks using video. It works to teach people new things on just about any topic.

The growing support for micro-learning, however, has not translated into clarity around exactly how to apply microlearning to drive employee learning results. For instance, many very well-informed professionals continue to argue that micro-learning only applies to reinforce learning. But that’s not the case. Here are a few ideas to help you make effective use of micro-learning in your organization.

1  FOCUS ON CONTEXT

Many micro-videos are published as part of a series of videos. For instance, BizLibrary and other leading producers publish new content on a topic area such as new manager and supervisor skills. The topic area contains as many as 10 to 12 separate video lessons, each of which are in the five- to sevenminute range; in other words, micro-learning. Employees who consume these video lessons can watch the entire series, or they can go straight to an individual video lesson on a specific subtopic or skillset (for example “delegation” in the new manager series). Once the employee completes the entire series, he or she can revisit any video lesson for a quick refresher or reinforcement.

2  TEACHING COMPLEX SKILLS AND SOFT SKILLS

One of the greatest things about micro-learning video is that it matches the way employees learn outside of work. So it’s the perfect choice for learning at work.

But can you use it to teach complex skills or soft skills? Actually, both.

First, the short, single-topic approach taken in high-quality micro-learning videos matches the amount of information our brains can handle at a time. In psychology, this is called “cognitive load.” Research shows that we can effectively transfer this volume of information from short-term to long-term memory. Next, the visual images and speakers shown in the videos reach us in ways that help anchor learning by tying new information to visual cues (neural markers).

Last, behavioral sciences have long held that most complex human skills related to human interaction are learned through observation and then imitation. Video allows us to observe complex skills applied to a wide variety of situations so that we can later apply what we’ve observed to our own workplace situations.

3  MICRO-VIDEO PLUS OPPORTUNITIES TO TRY, EXPERIMENT AND FAIL

Ultimately, nothing teaches like experience. By using micro-learning to establish a foundation of skills and knowledge, your employees will be well-prepared to try out the skills they’ve learned. Remember: with video, they have the chance to observe, have content delivered that matches the capacity of their cognitive load, and have visual anchors to enhance memory. Now it’s time to give them the chance to apply what they’ve learned.

With micro-learning available, they also have the chance to go back for a quick refresher and review the learning immediately after an experience to analyze their behavior and performance. This type of review-andrefresh approach isn’t possible with longer online courses or instructor-led classroom training. Employees don’t have the same immediate access to critical learning content and information as they do when micro-learning forms the basis of their learning plan.

—To download BizLibrary’s infographic on “Why Video is Better for Employee Training,” visit http://goo.gl/TKEKFQ.

—To view BizLibrary’s ondemand webinar on incorporating “Micro Video into Manager Training,” visit http://goo.gl/O0MgWO.

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