Micro-learning has proven to be a future-ready learning delivery method and possibly one of the most disruptive learning strategies. Most importantly, micro-learning appeals to adult learners who are pressed for time or who have short attention spans. And because lessons can be easily called up online, they play into the just-in-time mentality of today’s workforce.
We believe that these are the characteristics of good micro-learning design:
- Sessions should be short (no more than 10 minutes).
- Sessions should be focused on one learning objective, task or concept
- They should have no more than 10 seconds of introductory material (if any)
- They should be genuine
- They should be accessible, compatible with multiple platforms, and searchable
- The learning should take place without any external help
Micro-learning lessons are brief and definitely to the point, which is why you need to map out the learning objectives carefully. At biipmi, we follow a Micro-learning Development Framework and we will discuss this in a later post. Here are the critical items to consider for each micro-learning asset.
The title is important, everyone agrees. This will ensure the learner knows exactly what to expect after they open the content and whether they will find the need to engage with the asset.
Some interesting ideas for a good micro-learning title includes:
- Keep Your Audience and Your Goals in Mind – The most important point to keep in mind is knowing who your learners are, and what action you want them to take. By having a title that speaks to your target learners will help them make the decision to click. Try “New hires need to read this”
- Localise and Personalise – Try to also identify (within the title) who you want to consume the micro-learning asset. In doing so, you identify from the start who should really look into this. Try “If you are a manager, you need this”
- Test The Title – Go ahead and test certain keywords and phrases to see how your learners respond to the micro-learning asset.
- Keep It Short and Sweet – It’s a busy world, keep your micro-learning title to about 20 characters. Spare your learners the agony of trying to understand what the micro-learning assets is trying to do.
- Offer Value – Immediately put in the title something of value with your learners. Let your learners know that by undergoing this micro-learning asset, there’s something valuable for them at the end of the tunnel. Try “You will be able to perfect this in 3 minutes!”
- Use Numbers – Numericals play an important role in decision making. Using the title “10 steps to learn customer service” will pique learners’ curiosity.
- Engage With Questions – Asking your learner a question is a good way to ensure relevancy. Try “When do you need to do this?”
A picture or video to provide a visual guidance to enhance learning. Here is a summary.
Focus the body of the lesson around two objectives:
- Giving learners an idea to think about (possibly a micro-learning objective), and
- An action to carry out (a form of formative assessment, or a follow-up)
A micro-learning objective focuses on a must-learn and must-remind learning outcome that the developer or facilitator intends to focus on. Try to limit the content to 500 to 550 words (3 minute reading).
As with any training initiative, it’s important to assess the impact of the learning intervention. The most direct evaluation is a form of formative assessment to ensure that learning took place. There are many types of assessment used in elearning both formative and summative, including micro-learning. What matters is for the instructional designer to identify the one or two objectives that they want the learners to take away, and develop the assessment based on those critical objectives.
Assessments in micro-learning should be designed to engage the learners to achieve better results, this means they need to be immersive. They should be designed to enable the learner to link his performance to the content he has learned over a repeated period of time.
Beyond the formative assessment, there is a need to assess the return of investment (ROI) or return on training investment (ROTI). One of the most commonly used evaluation model is Kirkpatrick’s Four Levels of Evaluation Model. The four levels of Kirkpatrick’s evaluation model essentially measure:
- reaction of student – what they thought and felt about the training
- learning – the resulting increase in knowledge or capability
- behaviour – extent of behaviour and capability improvement and implementation/application
- results – the effects on the business or environment resulting from the trainee’s performance
All these measures are recommended for full and meaningful evaluation of learning in organizations.
The following table illustrates the basic Kirkpatrick structure at a glance. The second grid, beneath this one, is the same thing with more detail. Details here.