With the prospect of remote working likely to continue for the foreseeable future, organizations are exploring new ways to engage their workers and ensure message alignment across fragmented workforces.
Unlike traditional learning methods, microlearning provides bite-sized digital learning experiences that focus on specific learning outcomes and are incorporated into the learner’s daily activities. By pushing business-critical content through a mobile microlearning experience, employees feel connected to the organization while engaging with learning at a time that best suits their schedule.
In the first blog post and webinar, 3 Ways to Active the Science of Successful Learning, we discussed the science of how microlearning is proven to be more effective than traditional eLearning methods for engaging learners and increasing long-term proficiency. Our next webinar in the Qstream Content Development Webinar Series is Creating Effective Qstream Content.
Now that you understand the concepts behind the science of learning retention, this next session is focused on helping you transform existing learning materials into a microlearning format to resonate with your learners, engage them throughout the experience, and help you align your learning programs to broader organizations goals.
The Qstream Client Services team has over a decade of experience deploying successful microlearning programs. The following six rules for designing the best microlearning content comes from expertise in working with the largest organizations in the world - planning, designing, and analyzing successful Qstream microlearning programs.
1. Know the Science of Successful Learning
Our first webinar discussed the science of microlearning in detail so it’s essential to keep these principles in mind when creating content:
- Testing: every microlearning program should have elements of testing or assessment to help learners retain information.
- Spacing: content should be pushed to the learner in short, easy to understand pieces of information and spaced over a period of time. By delivering information in the flow of people’s day, your learners are more likely to engage, learn and remember.
- Challenging: content should be suitably challenging for your participants. Research shows that the greater the cognitive effort to retrieve information, the more likely your learners are to remember it.
- Variety: adding different topics within your program is more effortful for the learners’ brain to process which will cause them to remember it.
- Game Mechanics: competitions with leaderboards and team rankings encourage learners to stay motivated and ensure that your learners will capture their attention and have them engage throughout the entire program.
By not including the factors above, learners will not engage with your program and may suffer from an overload of information. In terms of return on learning investment, the science of successful learning is the best place to start when designing microlearning content.
2. Well-Designed Microlearning Content Has an Incredible Impact on Engagement
Many organizations are shifting away from traditional learning methods due to the fact that learners don’t effectively engage with the learning programs in the first place. For the most part, people aren’t engaged in learning efforts because a course is time consuming, not relevant to their job, and isn’t a high priority for them. Many learning programs fail because learners and their managers just aren’t interested and are not engaging in the first place.
That’s why it’s essential to consider the impact of well-designed microlearning content on learner engagement, and the value reporting and analytics brings for proving engagement. Here are guidelines on how to approach an engaging microlearning content design strategy.
- “Relevant-to-Me” Content: content that is relevant to the learner's job will increase the chances of them engaging and interacting with that content on a daily basis.
- “Interesting-to-Me” Content: even the most fascinating content can lack interest. Engagement is an act of people connecting with content and showing that they are motivated to keep learning and improving their knowledge and skill sets.
- “Not-a-Distraction-to-Me” Content: there are so many distractions taking away from people's attention, which is why microlearning makes people more productive and effective. Content that achieves learning value in short amounts of time is the reason people will continue to engage with content progressively.
Qstream’s analytics demonstrate clearly if your participants are engaging with the content. On average, a Qstream microlearning program achieves engagement rates of greater than 90% and proficiency gains of 16%. However, well-designed Qstream programs with high impact microlearning content often achieve proficiency gains of over 30% and 100% engagement.
3. Aligning Organizational Goals with Microlearning
Now more than ever, having your workforce aligned towards achieving the same goals is critical and this should be reflected in your training initiatives to ensure that it is relevant to the business and the learners role. Aligning business goals to training initiatives demonstrates a direct correlation of proficiency gain achieved related to individual and organizational performance.
That’s why it’s recommended for organizations to link microlearning initiatives to broader organizational goals for the year. Learners should immediately recognize how a learning initiative will help them achieve their personal, team and organizational goals. If the learner recognizes that a learning program is relevant and has a direct impact on their performance, it will result in higher engagement.
4. Instant Feedback to Make Microlearning Stick
When a learner participates in a microlearning challenge, commitment to memory is strengthened by immediate feedback. Giving real-time corrective feedback after a microlearning exercise:
- Provides immediate knowledge reinforcement in the moment while the learner is most engaged.
- Prevents people from incorrectly retaining material they misunderstood and produces better learning of the correct information.
- Builds encouragement and confidence for those who do answer a question correctly.
As part of the content design process, creating clear, concise explanations is at the heart of knowledge reinforcement.
5. Video, Imagery, and Media for Powerful Learning Impact
There are countless studies that have confirmed the power of visual imagery in learning. As development experts, we recommend using media as an essential part of microlearning content design because it adds context to the experience. We've seen the results from including media that demonstrate the incredible impact for the learner.
- The part of the brain used to process words is small in comparison to the part that processes visual images.
- Video, imagery and media engages learners and most people access information this way outside of work. This means having a consumer experience while interacting with microlearning is valuable.
- Media helps people remember content while only having text does not.
Research tells us that if you include imagery then your learners are far more likely to remember information, especially if the image is something memorable and even more so if the image is associated with the content, which creates a visual cue to help them remember.
6. Scenario-Based Learning for Real-World Relevancy
To elevate a microlearning program, Qstream recommends that organizations add real-life experiences and situations for your learners through scenario-based learning. Scenario-based questions are hypothetical stories that require learners to think through complex problems or situations. This can be used to validate their decision making process in the context of a real-life setting. By putting your learners in a situation where they have to recall the information, studies show they are far more likely to remember it when the situation arises in real life.
Learn More at the Qstream Content Development Webinar Series
Putting these six rules in place during the design of your microlearning content will deliver better results. Watch the on-demand recording of the second session of the Qstream Content Development Series to understand how to create high quality, consistent, and relevant content so learners increase long-term retention of knowledge.
Watch the last session of the webinar series, Optimizing your Qstream Content for Better Results and explore how to build situational awareness and critical thinking skills through scenario-based learning.