“Younger generations view education and technology as going hand-in-hand, and they seek quick bursts of digital content,” writes Elise Greene Margol in the January issue of TD at Work. “They also are very social, but not necessarily in the traditional water-cooler way. Instead, they tend to socialize on social media and via online collaboration and networking.”

It’s important for learning and development professionals to keep learners and their desired experiences front and center when designing training. Indeed, this desired experience and the needs of the employee are as important as ever.

Ahead of creating microlearning assets, Margol emphasizes the importance of conducting a needs analysis: keeping in mind the desired business outcome, determining employee competencies that will drive the business outcome, and ascertaining the current state.

Further, the author encourages learning and development (L&D) professionals to use other sound instructional design practices, among them:

  • creating good learning objectives 
  • selecting the right modality 
  • deciding on an appropriate delivery method 
  • personalizing the learning 
  • repeating and reinforcing learning.

Margol warns, “Microlearning cannot stand alone. . . . Microlibraries need to be part of a larger, more comprehensive solution.”

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For instructional designers with questions about the type of delivery method for microlearning assets, Margol provides the following solutions and guidance:

  • Video for learning. Short one- to three-minutes videos are how learners want to consume their content. Types of these short videos include: 
  • Live videos. You don’t have to be a professional to shoot video with your smartphone. What the L&D professional needs to remember is that learners want to be able to access content on the device of their choosing, at the time of their choosing. 
  • Animations. “More so than live video, animation offers the flexibility to not only show a process, but also the concepts behind that process,” writes Margol.
  • VideoScribes. The whiteboard animation made popular by the Khan Academy can be fun and engaging—a visual way to tell a story. 
  • Infographics. Infographics help many learners easily absorb and understand a concept or story. Infographics are also easily reviewable if employees need to go over information a second time. 
  • Mini modules. Mini modules use such tactics as simulations and games to give learners an opportunity to practice and apply a skill, all in a short period.  
  • Digital job aids. Either static or interactive, digital job aids present a graphical representation of processes or solutions.

Margol closes the “Microlearning to Boost the Employee Experience” issue with a list of questions the learning professional can and should ask to determine whether microlearning is the right choice, including ones about the type of skills they are teaching, the skills and wants of the learner, the capabilities of the learning team, and tools available to the learner.

Want to learn more? Check out ATD Essentials of Microlearning. In this practical program, you’ll dive into the MILE model to determine the best microlearning strategy for your organization’s business needs.