Many people think microlearning is like a large pizza. You take one topic and cut it into slices of information. Employees get a piece at a time, and eventually, they’ll have the whole topic.
But this isn’t microlearning.
Microlearning is designed to give employees a complete picture of a specific topic in convenient small dose. And it helps them close the gap between what they already know and what they haven’t mastered.
Microlearning training focuses on covering one topic so employees get a deep-dive into that subject. Instead of thinking about dividing one topic (pizza) into individual slices, think of making complete mini training pizzas. Each topic should take employees about 5 to 10 minutes to complete.
Here are four things to know about effective microlearning:
Boost memory retention
Think back over the past few days. What did you eat for lunch four days ago? What about yesterday? As humans, we tend to delete information out of our memory bank that we don’t think we need for daily activities.
As a small business owner, you depend on your employees to remember all the important nitty-gritty details about products, services, and doing their job. You don’t have time to continually remind them of things they should know or answer the same questions.
Organizing training in small doses (microlearning) makes it easier for employees to remember the information they learn. And if they need to refresh their memories on a specific topic, they can click on the module topic and spend a few minutes reviewing the content.
Space out the modules, so workers can master each topic and put new skills and information to work in their job.
Create interesting modules
It is easy to set up microlearning training. Start by drafting a plan for each topic. Here are some tips:
• What are 3-5 key messages? Sometimes this is confusing, so think about it this way: What are the top things employees need to know about the topic so they can answer questions and fulfill job responsibilities? Jot down these key thoughts.
• Don’t get into the weeds of all the little details. Keep the content simple but provide a complete overview of the training material.
• Connect the ideas so employees recognize the natural progression of the information. Taking time to build these bridges will make the training more successful and better help workers fill in their knowledge gaps.
For tips on developing a training calendar, read this blog.
Track training; encourage self-evaluation
Organize training modules so employees can visually see how to progress through the topics. Design the content to help employees gain new knowledge and master tasks and skills. Employees today prefer online training so that they can learn in private. They don’t want other employees to know that they don’t understand something.
Using online training software, you can track employees’ progress in module completion. Set up quizzes to help employees know where they need to improve or where they are missing key details. Remind them that the goal of training is self-improvement, not to compare themselves against other workers.
For each training topic, look for online (YouTube) videos that provide additional details, for those employees who want to go above and beyond. Or, create your own videos. Invite other workers to help you create fun and interesting videos that will capture employees’ attention.
At some time in your working life, you’ve been told to learn something, but no one ever checked on whether you understood the information. Often the material you learned was never discussed.
Don’t repeat this training faux-pas. Every few weeks, take a few minutes to check employees’ understanding of the training modules. Reinforce what they’ve learned through one-on-one conversations and storytelling. (Learn more tips on using storytelling, graphs and charts to capture employees’ attention.) Often employees need to talk about what they’ve heard and read to cement the information in their brains.
Make sure employees understand that you’re not setting a trap to find out whether they paid attention to the training. Instead, explain that you want to reinforce what they’ve learned and answer questions, so they develop a mastery of the topic.
Continually set up new training modules to challenge employees to develop new skills and knowledge. And as they develop expertise in business areas, ask them to help you teach the concepts to new employees. Soon they, too, will master the art of making great training programs (mini pizzas).