A Step-By-Step To Creating Microlearning Courses
Converting your traditional training into microlearning courses may sound pretty straightforward. Microlearning lessons are brief, so you may assume it’s just a matter of breaking your content up into smaller pieces and calling it a day. There’s more to it than that, though.
Fitting everything your course should cover into bite-sized learning takes some consideration. What’s the best way to break the material down? How can you make good use of the resources you already have? And how can you be sure people learn effectively when they spend so little time in training?
Microlearning doesn’t mean hurried training. And it doesn’t mean rushed course development. But planning and building your courses shouldn’t be overwhelming either. In this guide, we’ll explore how to turn your training content into microlearning courses that fit your overall L&D strategy.
Microlearning For Beginners: Tackling The Challenges
Even if you’re already familiar with the benefits of microlearning, it can be hard to know where to start. You may find it challenging to work “smaller” than you’re used to. Follow these principles to avoid potential challenges when breaking your content down.
Keep It Visual
One of the advantages of cutting down your lessons is that you’ll be forced to think about how to engage people in the content more quickly and efficiently. Eliminate text-heavy screens and replace them with visuals that get people’s attention, like videos, infographics, images, and other media.
Visual learning has two main benefits: it engages different types of learners, and it communicates complicated ideas quickly.
Make It Mobile-Friendly
The point of microlearning is to help people fit training in where and when they can give it their full attention. Often, that means microlearning is synonymous with mobile training. Here’s why you should consider using a mobile platform for learning:
- Employees are already familiar with the tech. They reference their smartphones constantly for everything, from checking the weather to banking to tracking fitness. Mobile training cuts out the learning curve of a new platform.
- Mobile makes your training available anytime. With a mobile option, busy employees can check in when they have time and get quality learning quickly.
Keep learning fresh and make it more “sticky” by testing learners’ understanding regularly. Add quizzes at the end of each module to reinforce training. Reports will help you see how well employees are learning and determine areas for improvement.
Keep It Short
You might think this goes without saying, but it can be easy to lose sight of length when you’re worried about making sure all your content gets included in the training.
Remember, each lesson should only focus on one key concept and be kept to around ten minutes or less. If you find yourself exceeding that time, take a look at your lessons. Where can you break it down further?
Creating successful microlearning courses starts with figuring out how to make small, digestible lessons from what you have. But it’s more than that. You also need a structure that walks people through learning.
How To Build Successful Microlearning Courses
When you’re converting your training to microlearning, you’re not building a resource library. You should be creating an active learning experience. Here are three steps to take that will help you create and organize your content into a helpful framework.
1. Break It Down And Simplify
The first step is to review your lessons to make sure each is as straightforward as possible. One concept or skill per lesson is the rule of thumb.
If you find yourself needing more than ten minutes or extensive amounts of text to cover the content in one session, you haven’t simplified enough. You’ve likely got multiple ideas that can be further separated. Spend some time breaking the ideas down into even simpler blocks.
2. Cut Out The Fluff
Once you’ve got your lessons sorted out, it’s time to revisit the content you’ve put in. With traditional training, you usually have considerable time for each lesson. It’s easy to fill that time with useful, yet extra, content.
There’s no room for “fluff” in microlearning. You need to strip out content that doesn’t serve the purpose of the training.
How do you know what’s fluff and what’s not? Here are some tips for determining which content can go:
- Revisit your goals for the training. What do learners need to understand or be able to do by the time they finish their training? Weigh which content will get them there. Any information that doesn’t serve those goals should be cut.
- Get rid of anything that doesn’t teach the core idea. Cut out background info or theories that go along with the point you’re making. Remember, your goal in microlearning is to teach one idea. If any material doesn’t match that purpose, it’s not necessary.
- Rethink lengthy explanations. When you notice content going long but feel that it serves the purpose of the lesson, see if there’s a better way to present it. Could you replace it with a visual element? Graphics can often present complex concepts quickly.
- Simplify your language. Use short sentences. Cut out jargon or create links to definitions if you do find industry terms necessary. You don’t want to bog learners down with additional concepts that stray from the point of the lesson.
It can be hard to throw out good content that doesn’t seem to fit in the new, streamlined approach. But don’t worry, you don’t need to say goodbye completely. All that extra info can still be added to an actual resource library. Make sure learners have access to it through your learning platform so they can do deeper dives if they wish.
3. Choose The Right Platform
Your training should be easy to access and use—for both learners and administrators. Find an LMS that can handle the features you want, including various media types and quizzes. Make sure login is intuitive for learners, and that it has clear navigation that will help them see their learning history and the path they should follow to complete their learning.
Your LMS interface should also be intuitive for those building the training. Creating new microlearning courses doesn’t mean you need to reinvent the wheel. Instead, find something that has pre-built modules that let you drop in your content and go.
Finally, the platform you choose should be built for mobile. Use an LMS that has ready-made mobile formatting so you don’t have to spend time and money trying to make your content fit. Microlearning apps can speed up development with ready-to-use templates, graphics, and even intact lessons designed specifically for designing bite-sized learning content.
How To Structure Microlearning Training Programs
Microlearning isn’t only about shorter lessons. You also need to consider how you turn those lessons into a cohesive course.
If you want employees to learn a complete topic, you can’t just give them unconnected modules. You need to create online courses that lead them to the best learning outcome. Consider these best practices for structuring your training.
Create Clear Learning Paths
One of the benefits of microlearning is that the short lessons can also be handy resources. Learners can search them for one specific point they want to learn or review. However, when you’re talking about training, you need people to complete a whole series of minicourses.
Help them out by providing direction. Outline the order of lessons. Make sure people can quickly see which lessons they’ve completed and what they’ve got left. Also, consider linking lessons so they can move directly from one to the next as they finish them.
Putting a quiz at the end of a lesson will boost learning. It’ll help people cement their understanding of the single concept in that lesson.
To reinforce the idea of training flow, add a longer quiz to the end of a series of minicourses that make up a broader topic. Reviewing all of the concepts together will help people make the connections and see the bigger picture.
Use Gamification To Help Learners Get Through The Training
Reward learners with badges and points for content. Show progress on a leaderboard to add a bit of healthy competition. When people have something to show for their progress, they’re more likely to engage—till the end.
Your Training Redesign Is An Investment
There are good reasons you may be considering converting your traditional training to microlearning. But making the switch can seem daunting when you realize it’s not a quick fix limited to breaking up existing material.
Creating useful, engaging microlearning courses takes an initial investment of time and resources. Yes, you’ll need to spend time learning best practices and reworking your content to fit. But as you progress through your programs, you’ll end up with lots of useful minicourses that you’ll be able to easily edit and reuse. And that will open doors for engaging learners across your organization, ultimately making your training more effective.