When and How to Use a Bite-Sized Training Strategy
Do you ever feel like the rope in tug-of-war, being pulled by things vying for your attention? Chances are you do, and so does your training audience. Being asked to carve out a chunk of time for training can sometimes seem burdensome. But if it’s only going to take a few minutes, no problem. That’s part of the appeal of microlearning—bite-sized training messages that are easy to digest.
While there is no hard-and-fast rule on how long a microlearning module is, two to five minutes is a pretty good rule of thumb. That’s simply not enough time to effectively communicate complex or highly technical content. So instead, a microlearning message focuses on a single learning objective that targets a specific need. Microlearning can be used to:
- Communicate the latest information or a new guideline with just-in-time training
- Prepare the audience for an upcoming training event
- Help your audience in the moment of need
- Provide refreshers on demand
- Review and reinforce information from prior training
Examples of Microlearning Solutions
Left Brain Media often finds that microlearning is the ideal training tool to solve real customer needs. To illustrate, here are some examples of how we have leveraged microlearning.
Microlearning Gamification to Teach Content
Let’s begin with a rather unusual microlearning approach that uses games to teach all of the content. There is no instructor-based training, no presentation-based eLearning, and nothing to read in advance. Instead, the company encourages game play to help employees learn healthy living habits.
A grocery store chain was looking for a unique and effective way to promote employee health and wellness over a period of months.
Responding to this need, Left Brain Media created a web-based platform of microlearning games, complete with a leaderboard and friendly competition. Each employee personalizes their experience by creating a profile and creating a custom avatar. The employee racks up points for right answers and loses points for wrong responses. Once time runs out, the user can return to the dashboard to see how their score stacks up against coworkers. Watch the video below for a short overview.
This brief video introduces employees to the microlearning gaming portal that boosts their wellness knowledge for a healthier workforce.
Employees are encouraged to play the games over and over again to improve their score and ranking. The game engine recognizes what content each employee has mastered and introduces new content at an appropriate and customized pace. The scoring system recognizes content mastery with larger point bonuses and scores.
This solution is much different than an old school health lesson. It’s edutainment! These grocery employees have fun while increasing their wellness knowledge. Mission accomplished.
To learn more about this solution and how Left Brain Media uses gamification to teach training content, read our article, “Winning Elements of eLearning Gamification.”
Daily Microlearning Videos on Workplace Safety
When a company sends its team out each day on service calls, lone technicians load up in their trucks and head different directions to get the jobs done. In the field, there are typically no supervisors on watch to ensure technicians wear the proper PPE, remain in compliance with regulations, and follow the company’s safety guidelines. For this reason, the company was looking for a way to help reinforce a “safety first” mindset with these “loner” employees,
In response to the need, Gaining Power Institute (an eLearning partner) engaged the help of Left Brain Media to build a library of responsive microlearning videos for the company. Technicians start each day watching a two-and-a-half-minute safety video on their mobile phone, tablet, or laptop. Each message is relevant, specific, and to the point. It may deal with a particular aspect of heat-related illness prevention, tips for driving in adverse weather conditions, oxy-acetylene safety, a company policy change, or any number of topics. At the end of each video, the technician completes a micro-assessment to test understanding, and the results are reported back to the client’s LMS (learning management system).
While each video is designed to stand alone, they often work together as part of a series on a topic, even if they aren’t viewed sequentially and back-to-back.
What has been the outcome so far of these daily microlearning videos? Behavior change. The proof is in the decreasing numbers of accidents and injuries companywide.
Even though the modules include professional voiceover as well as a blend of photos, illustrations, and simple animations, we were able to roll out this microlearning series quickly. Since each module is short, content development, instructional design, and production go relatively fast. Once we knock out one module, we move on to the next so there is an ongoing flow of deliverables to the client and training to the techs.
Microlearning as Part of Blended Learning
To help reduce the risk of sprains and strains, a large construction company had already established face-to-face training. Each morning, team leaders assembled their crew, led warm-up stretches, and gave a short safety reminder. However, some leads weren’t comfortable executing this day starter, and the ergonomics message was not communicated consistently companywide. Another challenge was English is a second language for many employees.
How did Gaining Power Institute and Left Brain Media bridge the gap? Rather than replace the face-to-face training, we developed a solution to equip team leads. The microlearning “training toolbox” includes the following items in English and Spanish versions:
- Train-the-trainer videos for leaders
- An electronic leader guide
- Digital posters
- Videos for team members
- Single-page leader guides for daily, in-person training
The leader videos feature testimonials from team leads like themselves. They establish the importance of ergonomics training and their buy-in, the program structure, and ways to use the new tools. The team videos use testimonials; footage from job sites showing the difference between safe and unsafe body positioning; demonstrations of group activities; interactions; and more.
Each team leader considers their crew and determines how to leverage the tools best. For instance, if everyone on the team has access to a mobile device, the leader may have the team members watch the videos independently in their preferred language and follow up daily with a group discussion and activity. Other team leads present the training content themselves and show video excerpts to the team using a tablet or laptop.
This solution builds confidence in the team leaders and promotes consistent ergonomics messaging for a safer workforce.
Microlearning Gamification to Reinforce Instructor-Led Training
One of the nation’s leading transportation companies was planning a leadership conference but recognized the need to reinforce the training after the live event.
First, Left Brain reviewed the training material, which focused on the communication soft skill, and considered the audience. We then created a solution that leveraged their spirit of competition and provided a welcome break to their busy workday: a series of microlearning games.
After attending the leadership conference, leaders received this short video introduction to their upcoming game-style challenges.
Every two weeks, leaders received a “challenge” notification, letting them know a new game was ready and accessible on their mobile device. Each challenge focused on a different element of communication and used a different gaming format from video-driven scenarios to card games.
However, all of them had the following characteristics in common:
- A clear learning objective behind each game (not a game for game’s sake)
- Easy navigation from the challenge home screen
- A quick review and instructions at the beginning of the challenge
- A countdown timer, which kept the game short
- Addition of points for each correct answer
- Deduction of points for each wrong answer
- A leaderboard to rank each player by score
- The opportunity to replay the game to improve the score and ranking
- Bragging rights and corporate incentives for top finishers
- Corporate drawing for those who participated
- Links to resources
Weeks (even months) after the conference, these leaders continued to be actively engaged with the content and reminded how to apply it because of this microlearning strategy.
To learn more about this solution and how Left Brain Media uses gamification to reinforce, refresh, review, and provide practice, read our article, “Winning Elements of eLearning Gamification.”
Microlearning comes in many formats, some of which we already mentioned. Since quick learning experiences are ideal for mobile delivery, Left Brain Media creates scalable solutions that work well even on a small phone screen.
Microlearning solutions may include:
- Videos or animations
- Tutorials and refreshers on demand
- Just-in-time learning bites that reflect new info
- Quizzes and micro-assessments
- Interactive branching scenarios
- Simulations for practice in a safe, consequence-free environment
- Performance support tools
- Job aids
- Digital FAQs
- Interactive PDFs with embedded media
- Infographics, including interactive flowcharts
What’s Your Challenge?
Left Brain Media would be glad to talk to you about your unique training needs and help you come up with the ideal solution. Contact us to get the ball rolling.
Related Articles About Microlearning
Here are a number of articles from other sources on the topic of microlearning.
- What is Microlearning: A Complete Guide for Beginners– by Nikos Andriotis
- The Brain Science of Microlearning: Why It Works – by Victoria Zambito
- Numbers Don’t Lie: Why Microlearning is Better for Learns (and You too) – by Karla Gutierrez
- Microlearning 101: What It Is and Why You Must Use It in 2020
- Why Has Microlearning Become “a Thing” and Will it Last? – by Eloise Peterson
- Microlearning and Microtraining Techniques for Success – by Katelin Heim
- The Top 11 Types of Microlearning for Employees – by Corey Bleich
- The Strengths of Microlearning Today
- What Makes Microlearning Effective in Employee Training Programs? – by Angie Spencer
- All About Microlearning: How Training in Small Bites Can Have a Big Impact – by Oliver Skinner
- eLearning Trends for 2021 – by Jill W.