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A well planned, designed and executed employee training and development program is the foundation for organizational success. When implemented using best practice microlearning design principles, business and learning leaders can accomplish the outcomes that they want by increasing productivity, proficiency, and ultimately business performance. 

With so many different technologies, methodologies, consultancy services, content libraries, and instructional design options to navigate, it is difficult to know where to start when designing an effective learning program to achieve learning program goals. In this blog, I will distill down the key principles of good microlearning design to give you clear guidance on how to improve your learning programs.

Before I start, it is helpful to keep in mind that a microlearning strategy should combine a number of core learning design principles to create an effective training program that is fun, fast and engaging for learners. It should also deliver and reinforce job-specific information to learners so they can retain knowledge for longer. And lastly, business and learning leaders should be able to access insights and achieve the business outcomes they want in a cost-effective and less time consuming fashion.  

When designing an impactful microlearning program, these are the six most important best practices that will contribute to the overall success of your learning initiative.

Designing Learning Programs for Lasting Impact

1. Central Vision

Consistency is key to developing a centralized vision and strategy. In order to achieve that vision, there are a few questions to first ask yourself:

  1. Who is the audience that I am targeting?
  2. What are the most important learning objectives to focus on?
  3. How will I best execute my program to achieve success?

Identifying your audience and what learning objectives you are trying to achieve will allow you to execute a successful program. When you consistently organize and highlight important metrics like user attributes and topics, you can then analyze trends and patterns in a meaningful way to determine if your program was a success.

2. Business Goals

Key performance indicators or core metrics, that are specific and unique to your business, should align with your business’ macro-level focus for the year or your central vision. Uncovering your broader organizational goals involves understanding what’s going on internally and linking these internal initiatives to your program to eventually validate your ROI.


3. Brand

Your brand should be simple and effective. It should differentiate your program and engage your participants. You should think about how you want your program to be perceived. When participants complete your program, how would you want them to describe their experience? A consistent branding approach will increase engagement in your program if participants can easily recognize the initiatives their involved in.

4. Insights

By clearly defining your audience and topics, your program insights should determine where to focus your future training and coaching efforts which are so critical to the ongoing success of your program.

What metrics will your stakeholders want to see?

What outcomes will infer that your program was a success?

Business leaders will be really interested in what impact your training programs have if you can clearly infer trends and patterns within your data. Your insights become part of executive reporting to achieve that top level down support.

5. Monitor

How will you track and monitor your metrics and surface them in a way that is easily digestible to senior leadership? As you review your program and initiatives on a regular basis you can evaluate and revise as necessary. Being methodical in your monitoring practice and understanding who to surface metrics to produces clarity on what is needed. This practice should enhance or support your program and push you further up the priority ladder with your stakeholders.

6. Content Development

Regardless of the intent of your program, the elements of the content that you create or utilize should be of high quality, consistent, and relevant. Good content should always:

  •       Identify its audience by emphasizing the ‘what’s in it for me’ factor
  •       Be well researched, accurate, thoroughly reviewed and appropriately challenging
  •       Incorporate purposeful rich media like supporting images, video clips, and hyperlinks to external training

I hope these high-level guidelines encourage you to develop and evolve a logical learning strategy that dovetails into a tactical program plan to successfully achieve your business and learning goals.

Interested in more practical actions to implement an effective learning program that has a long-term and measurable impact on performance? Watch this video: Designing Learning Programs for Lasting Impact. 

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