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Ten Types of Micro Learning I have found to be Effective

Micro-learning isn’t a new concept in the training industry any longer; it has proven its benefit to Learners and management alike, and is here to stay. In fact, many of the new tools and technologies being developed for the training industry are now done so with a focus on micro-learning.

While the design and development of micro-learning requires more intensive resourcing (more artifacts to develop, more role specific instructional design, more imaginative use of technology to build learning paths that can be tracked, etc.), the end-results are far more engaging than traditional page turner training.

Here are some micro-learning types I like to design and have had some success with. Have you used similar strategies as well, or perhaps some that are not listed here? I’d love to know!

  1. Embedded Help: To reduce the cognitive load of front-loaded training, embed training nuggets (simulations, videos, scarps from the primary training) into an actual interface. This could be a system the end-user uses every day, as a widget on the desktop, or as an app on the mobile phone. This helps the Learner reduce their time spent on training by providing just-in-time, context specific, help.
  2. Timed Games/ Assessments: Timed games and assessments have 4 benefits: they start with the expectation of a low time commitment, they have a single clear objective, they force the Learner to focus, and they provide a quick sense of achievement, thus building the motivation for further training. Also, they are fun!
  3. Timed podcasts/ webcasts published at predetermined Date/ Time: Released at a regular frequency (e.g: every Monday at 12:00 GMT), timed podcasts and webcasts (e.g: no longer than 10 minutes) set an easy learning rhythm that is easy for Learners to remember and follow. Podcasts & webcasts are also cost effective ways of building in some regular human interaction for a distributed audience.
  4. Forced Break Learning: This is an adaptation- for e-learning- of the ‘break’ used in classroom training. If you have no way out of designing a long e-learning (more than 30 minutes), try and build in breaks during the course. Separate two chapters with a personal reflective question, provide related real world data, or build in a forced 1-2 minute break by showing quick exercises, a relaxing picture or music, etc.
  5. Template based Learning: If you’re training on a topic that has equal amounts of universal and role-specific information, try a template based approach. Provide the global information as training, and design a template that the Learner can take away and fill in with their individual information.
  6. Flipped Learning: Cut down on face to face training time by having Learners complete research/ homework before they attend the training. For the actual training, request them to apply the information they have gathered to solve case studies.
  7. Learning Nuggets (tip of the day/ question of the week): This is a great way to spread out learning on a difficult topic, or to recap a difficult topic. Tweet/ Message one tip daily, and conclude each week with one quiz question based on the daily tweets.
  8. 5 minutes/ 5 points Learning: This is a sort of brainstorming for classroom training sessions. Pair off Learners and give each pair 5 minutes to recall 5 learning points.
  9. Coffee Break Learning: Design short, informal, learning sessions around a 15 minute coffee break.
  10. Walk-around Learning: Surround the Learner with learning, physically! Use infographics, charts etc. around the workplace to reinforce learning points.


Categories: Industry News IRL Projects Tried & Tested

Swati Sengupta

I am a Learning and Performance Consultant from India currently based in Zürich, Switzerland. Over the last 13 years, I have consulted for clients in the retail, technology, manufacturing, banking, shipping, BPO, and healthcare industries. For more details, please visit my Bio page by clicking on the Menu.

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