10 top strategies for creating micro-learning content that works.

How should you develop micro-learning to maximize the benefits?

What's driving the rising popularity of micro-learning?

Micro-learning content is quickly taking over in popularity from traditional courses due to its many benefits including its ability to be found and consumed in a short time and at exactly the right time.

Micro-learning content is convenient to consume because it is generally mobile friendly. It is versatile in the sense that content creators use different forms of media and decompose big topics into bite-size lessons to make the content engaging.

According to the Journal of Applied Psychology, micro-learning in bite-sized pieces makes the transfer of learning 17% more efficient than learning in the classroom. 
In addition, micro-learning is often completed through discretionary effort in the learners' own time (on the commute to and from work, for example) giving further productivity gains.

Micro-learning courses can be created in 300% less time compared to traditional courses and this is not only typically 50% more cost-effective, but it enables learning content to be updated more readily to ensure currency and relevance; particularly important for compliance scenarios.

If you are in the process of developing micro-learning content, here are the top 10 strategies for creating micro-learning content that works:

1. Keep it short

While developing micro-learning content, remember its length is essential.

Micro-learning courses are short, concise and to the point, which is also the most significant challenge that micro-learning content developers face because creating short, comprehensive, focused content is easier said than done.

The ideal length of a micro-learning course is no longer than 5 to 7 minutes to complete.

For video and audio, this is easy to time. For written material such as articles and processes, the average reading speed is around 200 words per minute, putting the maximum effective article length at around 1000 words.

If your learning is coming out longer than 5 to 7 minutes, consider splitting it into multiple shorter sessions.

2. Concentrate on a single learning objective

The length of the course and the learning objective go hand in hand. It is crucial that you identify a single learning objective that you want your content to achieve. 

Your audience will be able to maintain focus and get the most out of the short course when it is specific to one goal.

The learning objective generally aims to teach or change a behaviour, however, micro-learning is now being used to share facts, explain procedures or processes and provide workplace exercises to practice.

Avoid merging information or concepts into your micro-learning courses, and offer content for people at different starting points of knowledge from beginner to advanced.

3. Improve retention and engagement by using multimedia

According to recent research, the attention span of today’s audience is decreasing, and content developers have to be creative to keep the learners engaged.

One of the most effective methods of ensuring that your audience is paying attention is to use different types of content and multimedia.

Avoid relying too heavily on the text; try to include slides, animation, videos, and sound wherever possible. The use of multimedia also improves retention.

Due to overuse of 'talking head' formats, these are being received less positively. They can be quite boring, so crank up engagement with cuts every 30 to 45 seconds to differing camera angles, inserted images, or overlays/subtitles to emphasise key points.

Experiment with angles. Most often, a second camera during an interview setup will be placed at a 45-degree angle to the talent to capture an entirely different look. Profile shots can also work really well too, depending on the aesthetic you are going for.

4. Include real-world examples

Real world examples increase relatability which in turn makes the information presented in the micro-learning course easier to remember.

User-generated and localized content can be very powerful; where the brand, people, place, or process are recognisable to the learner.

Consider adding case studies, scenarios, and experiences in your content but remember to keep it short and to the point. Make sure that the examples you are adding complement the information you are trying to teach without being too complicated or taking away the focus from the learning objective because that will directly influence the retention.

Involving your people in the creation of training materials can be great for morale as well as lifting the results of the learning itself.

5. Use spaced repetition

You can use repetition as a tool to improve retention and knowledge.

By using spaced repetition throughout the content you can ensure that the learners grasp and remember that information well.

Do not be afraid to repeat important material even though time is short.

A great way to use spaced repetition is to differ the way you convey that info through various forms of delivery, e.g. through animation, sound, or images. Get creative!

Spaced repetition also works when developed into a series of linked micro-learning resources. For example, the next resource in the series might begin with a recap of what came prior or might build on that with the same message presented from a different perspective.

6. Consider adding quizzes

Adding a quiz to your micro-learning course is a great way to increase consciousness and involvement of the learner.

Try your best to make quizzes as closely aligned to the learning outcome as possible.

Quizzes will help you in evaluating how effectively your learners are learning. This insight will help you make positive changes to the course.

7. Involve the learner with active voice

Stick to the use of active voice and conversation tone throughout your micro-learning.

The intention behind this is to keep the information simple, concise and to eliminate narrative.

Active voice minimises the use of unnecessary words and addresses the learner directly. It puts the learner centre stage to know how to take the learning objectives forward into actions and behaviours in the workplace.

8. Make your content discoverable

Tag your micro-learning content to help learners to find it. One of the huge advantages of tagging is that it's not hierarchical like a traditional learning catalogue.

You can and should tag the content for all of the relevant attributes.

For example is it video, audio, written - this makes a difference to where the learning might consume it.  What level is it aimed towards; introductory, intermediate, advanced. What subjects are covered?  Who is presenting them? When was the material produced? Is it free or does it cost money? .... and so on.

Beyond tagging your content, you should also make sure that your content is optimised for search engines to index, be these internal Enterprise Search or external search engines like google and bing.

9. Know your audience context

To deliver effective micro-learning you must always keep the context of your audience in mind.

Consider whether your target audience has the necessary tools and environment that will allow them to access and consume the content in the formats you choose.

Video content would be of no use to the learner if he/she does not have access to the player that plays the format of video or if they cannot listen due to the learning environment.

It's always best to subtitle a video, and provide a transcript so that people can follow along in silent mode. In fact, in 2018 85% of Facebook video was watched without the sound turned on, and workers tend to follow the same habits on work platforms as they've learned on consumer platforms.

Many workers cannot install plug-ins and so it's always best that you stick with micro-learning platforms that have embedded players and no technical pre-requisites to maximise your reach.

10. Capture micro-learning analytics

Despite the popularity of the micro-learning format, it is not a complete learning solution. When used in combination with feedback, coaching, mentoring, classes and peer support it is a valuable tool. These things intersect to form the employee experience in general and the learning experience specifically.

Use analysis of search terms, topic popularity, feedback sentiment, learning needs form performance review and coaching goals to identify micro-learning content gaps.

Use learning reflections, learner ratings and learning abandonment to curate content and remove the clutter or badly performing content.

We've done the hard work for you

The Pay Compliment platform delivers the entire feedback-learning continuum for an exceptional employee and learning experience for workers.

There are no apps to install, no plug-ins, no capital to spend, and no long lead times for implementation.

In fact, everything is instantly available for a monthly subscription via a credit card.

We curate content on general personal growth topics using key people of influence to deliver these, and we provide the platform to add, manage and measure the impact of your own micro-learning content in addition to ours.

We host the content for you, taking care of storage, backup, and content delivery so you can concentrate on the quality of learning content without worrying about the technicalities.

If you're unable to find or produce the content you need we can help with that too.

When you are considering the value of micro-learning in your organisation, please take a look at our learning library and get in touch for a chat about what we can offer.

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