How To Get Microlearning Design Right The First Time

Launching a microlearning solution becomes easy once you are clear about the design –  whether to use infographics, podcasts, animations, videos, and so on, and how to blend all these together. Well, it all depends on the context and how you deal with it.

Let’s explore an example success story…

ABC & Co. Success Story

The Challenge

ABC & Co. is a software company that is involved in managing large scale projects, and improving stakeholder management skills of three teams – business development, transition, and project delivery teams.

The company’s main challenges are in equipping their staff with smart communication and stakeholder management skills, helping them handle difficult clients, and enabling them to become consistently effective.

Though the talent development (L&D) team initially toyed with the idea of having experts in stakeholder management provide their inputs, feedback, and guidance on multiple scenarios, they realised the experts were not fully equipped to do so. Besides, each team had scenarios that were peculiar to them, and long classroom sessions may not provide the desired outcomes.

The Solution

After due consideration, an app-based solution was decided to be the best approach – self-paced microlearning sessions repeated over a period of time.

Given the challenge and constraints, the company went for a practice based microlearning app to improve their teams’ stakeholder management skills, with participants using the app on their mobile phones or laptops. They could easily fit in these short microlearning practice-based sessions within their normal workdays without getting overwhelmed.

Microlearning maps were created to cover multiple unique scenarios, with the content and design elements developed around those microlearning maps. The app was implemented for over 150 users in six batches, and a marked improvement in their communication and stakeholder management skills was seen.

The Design Elements

With the help of a team of expert coaches, the microlearning content for stakeholder management was curated. The app worked like an on-demand coach, providing customized support in different situations.

Gamification elements and videos were included to keep the learners engaged.

The company provided user subscriptions to the app at the start of the program, and followed it up with weekly reminders and practice activities.

The app also assessed each user (learner) on their strengths and weaknesses, and offered games, quizzes, and practice sessions to improve their performance.

Learners were able to practice responding to different situations (negotiating, making decisions, and setting expectations) with the stakeholders, especially clients.

They could record their preferred course of action for a given situation, and would be scored based on their responses and choices. Critical-to-quality (CTQ) and compliance related parameters were measured, providing learners with a baseline to measure their communication and stakeholder management skills.

The adaptive app counted and rated their choice of responses, solutions, and communication, and provided learners with tips and techniques through microlearning videos.

The easy-to-read dashboard allowed the talent development team to monitor app usage along with individual performances. This is how the company was able to deliver highly engaging microlearning lessons for future training programs as well.

Let’s now see what they did right when designing the microlearning.

10 Design Elements for Successful Microlearning

  1. Microlearning app with gamification, instructional videos, and use case scenarios
  2. Quizzes to help learners retrieve content from memory
  3. Constant reminders and practice sessions to beat the ‘forgetting curve’
  4. Adaptive learning to cater to each participant’s needs
  5. Podcasts for learner to listen to while working
  6. Infographics, job-aids, and pictures as required
  7. Icons and short-actionable statements to build recall and facilitate decisions
  8. Videos (live and whiteboard animations) to facilitate learning
  9. Game elements (points, badges, leaderboards) to build healthy competition
  10. Short simulations, lightweight scenarios, and role-plays for practice

To conclude, getting microlearning right simply requires knowledge of technology, an understanding of the learning goals, and the right design elements!

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