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Beyond the LMS: Microlearning as an Extension (Not a Replacement) of Your Strategy

Monday, November 19, 2018

Traditional learning and development initiatives managed by a learning management system (LMS) are invaluable to an organization when it comes to assessing and arming your healthcare team with knowledge. However, the growing popularity of microlearning has left L&D professionals across the continuum of care thinking twice about their L&D mix and where microlearning fits in.

Best-practice microlearning is a method of continuous training that breaks complex clinical and nonclinical training content into digestible pieces. When this is repeated over time, microlearning can increase knowledge retention and proficiency in ways that “one and done” training methods don’t.

You may have heard the term microlearning and thought that anything teaching in “micro” amounts of information at a time could never replace the benefits of other learning formats, especially in knowledge-intensive fields. But the reality is that microlearning, your LMS, and traditional training methods should be viewed as a learning ecosystem, not as mutually exclusive investments. Each has their own value and outcomes, but are maximized with a seamless and integrated approach.

Microlearning as an extension of your healthcare organization’s existing L&D programs can be the winning combination for improving proficiency against performance goals, giving your team the best chance at success. Here are a few reasons why:


It identifies gaps where more extensive training is needed.

Part of L&D’s role is to identify performance and knowledge gaps among employees and respond to them. Gaps can be challenging to identify, let alone address, without the right methodology and technology support. By identifying exact proficiency levels before, during, and after first-presentation training, managers and L&D teams have data-backed intel to inform precision training and coaching for individuals and teams. This allows more time to reduce proficiency gaps and less time identifying the gaps themselves.

Spaced reinforcement improves knowledge retention and retrieval.

The forgetting curve is the boogeyman of learning and development, but best-practice microlearning can help chase it away. Studies show that in as little as 30 days, 79 percent of knowledge is forgotten. When the “spacing effect” is incorporated through microlearning, that percentage reduces because constant reinforcement keeps knowledge fresh in the minds of your employees. It’s just how the brain works, and it’s been proven by science again and again.

Bite-sized training in the flow of work limits disruptions and improves engagement.

Length training modules or recorded video scenarios and presentations can be effective to start, but can also be highly disruptive to the healthcare professional’s workday. Additionally, individuals are expected to “learn by doing,” and have a multitude of tasks to accomplish each day. It’s no surprise that training is often seen as getting in the way or is deprioritized, especially for more tenured employees. Imagine a scenario where your learners only have to answer a few questions a day to improve their proficiency, can engage with colleagues online during the course, and can get real-time feedback on where they are doing well and where there are areas for improvement. The benefits are endless, making for a happier, more engaged employee while reinforcing critical skills and knowledge in just minutes a day—leaving more time available to do their actual job.

It preserves, enhances, and complements your existing L&D investments.

Traditional L&D initiatives are invaluable to an organization when it comes to assessing and arming your team with knowledge. But with the addition of best-practice microlearning, the L&D department can become even more effective in enabling healthcare teams to excel, and do it faster. Not only that, valuable proficiency data provides a measure of training effectiveness as well as insights to guide further training and enablement programs.

Preparing your healthcare employees to be agile, responsive, and compliant is essential to the success of an organization. Pairing L&D initiatives with best-practice microlearning is the perfect alliance to make that a reality—and at scale. If you’d like to learn more about enhancing your L&D strategy with best-practice microlearning, watch the on-demand ATD webcast Microlearning: 5 Techniques to Improve Job Proficiency and Prove ROI on Training Investments.

About the Author

Meredith Odgers heads up Qstream’s marketing strategy and operations, aligning Qstream to customer and market needs to bring the brand to life. She brings a wealth of international marketing experience for category leaders in technology, data, and financial services, including Citibank, FTSE Group, and SS&C Technologies. Having held global and regional roles based out of Australia, Singapore, and Hong Kong, Meredith now lives in the U.K. and works in close collaboration with the Sales, Services, and Product teams to deliver customer-focused marketing programs that support the adoption and usage of Qstream. Meredith holds a Bachelor of Commerce degree with majors in marketing and hospitality management from UNSW, Australia.

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