It can be challenging to launch a microlearning initiative for the first time in your organization. In fact, it might stir up a hornet’s nest with different groups debating the pros and cons of the new mode of training. You might face resistance from many, jeopardizing your efforts.
How do you overcome that? The best way is to be prepared, pre-empt, and act… boldly!
Challenges to Implementing Microlearning for the First Time
Here are 5 common challenges you may face when launching microlearning in your organization:
- Awareness. Improper understanding about microlearning, it’s use, formats, strategy, and design in the management, stakeholders, and learners can be your biggest challenge.
- Budget. Lack of allotment to microlearning and budget overruns can be a problem, as also production delays that increase costs. The problem is bigger when there is no buffer available, or when you don’t get the required approvals to go over budget.
- Production and implementation issues. Many a time, issues with infrastructure or technology (glitches with technology or compatibility) can create a roadblock, and add to your costs. This could happen due to omissions when planning the annual training budget, or even at the pre-production stage of your microlearning initiative.
- Stakeholders issues. This happens when your stakeholders, especially senior management, are not fully convinced about microlearning. A half-hearted, half-baked approach coupled with lack of knowledge leads to scepticism and a lack of support by management. Their understanding of the benefits of microlearning is critical to get their buy-in.
- Unexpected roadblocks. These unforeseen hitches can come at any time to rock the microlearning boat! Examples include your Subject Matter Expert (SME) or key instructional designer unexpectedly leaving the company half-way through the project!
Getting Senior Management’s Buy-in
Your stakeholders, especially senior management, need to be educated on what microlearning can or cannot do. Setting the right expectations with your senior management helps get their buy-in and support.
It should be made clear that microlearning:
- Can be used to supplement, reinforce, augment, or remediate training
- Cannot be used to replace traditional classroom/eLearning entirely
There should be no surprises on its uses, potential, or applications. Management must be made aware that a microlearning initiative can fail when technology, data, and content are not in sync. They also need to understand that microlearning cannot be a short term remedy for pain points, and that it cannot be used as a panacea for all training ills.
For example, if the pricing strategy of a product in a company is flawed, you can simply not sell it. In such a scenario, training the sales team with microlearning is likely to fail. The microlearning initiative becomes the fall guy for a bad product-related business decision.
However, not every situation is bad. In a pro-learning organization, launching a new microlearning initiative is easier and risks more manageable as the senior management is committed to learning initiatives.
Does it help being part of a learning organization? Of course, it does. That’s because such an organization actively facilitates the learning of its workforce, and continually transforms itself.
Managing the Risk
Change and associated risks can be managed better with a well-thought-out microlearning implementation plan. A solid blueprint is a must for each microlearning initiative.
Microlearning maps can ensure that the too many changes at the production stage don’t creep in. Higher the number of changes, higher the risk to implementation.
Your microlearning initiatives must fit into the overall learning plan of your audiences.
Let us now look at an example of how a challenging scenario fraught with risks looks like.
Example of a challenging scenario
You are the training manager at an IT software company, asked to revisit the induction program for newly hired software graduates. The requirement is to reduce the classroom training hours and increase on-the-job efficiencies of new hires in the first two months.
An augmented microlearning initiative is envisaged comprising of videos and podcasts that need to be created for the new hires.
The IT project management teams need to get involved in pre-production and production. The IT team is required to help you create user groups, and align the content to them on the microlearning platform. Technical feasibility tests also need to be done especially for newer elements like video playback, and performing tests for load and bandwidth etc.
You are also required to get approvals for the content of each initiative, lesson/message from the IT Operations Quality Assurance team.
Plus, you need to create mechanisms to measure the individual learning performance of your new hires and ensure the learning objectives are met. This requires you to measure their click-through rates, tracking the time-spent on each section of the microlearning session, quizzes undertaken, and games participated in. You have to have a mechanism in place to measure individual performance scores and their confidence-based assessments, and ensure they reach the expected level of mastery.
- the release dates of your classroom as well as microlearning initiative
- the augmented support of microlearning lessons
- the production, pre-production, and post-production schedule
As evident from this example, you need to be prepared for all sorts of risks and challenges around your microlearning initiatives.
To conclude, the solution lies in being prepared to proactively manage the challenges and risks that come your way. Knowing what they look like helps you face them confidently and effectively.