A Microlearning Experience About Microlearning
"It feels pretty silly to talk about microlearning for an hour with nothing else," I commented to Shannon Tipton late last year as we discussed what we could do to improve the Training 2018 Conference experience. Microlearning is a strategy for aligning training to the way people actually learn in order to solve meaningful business problems. It's not something you execute in an hour, so I didn't feel like we were doing the topicjustice with a typical conference session.
So Shannon and I reached out to Training magazine and pitched something new. We would help participants learn about microlearning by giving them the opportunity to experience microlearning for themselves. Because we were doing this with no budget, we needed a technology partner to get involved just to help the community and move the microlearning conversation forward. Emily Ullberg and our friends at UMU jumped in.
Building the Experience
By the time we had everything organized, we were two weeks away from the start of Training 2018. I stress again: We had no budget. And Shannon and I both have day jobs that put us on the road 60 percent of the time. But when you think about our constraints, they were similar to what you likely face in your corporate learning environment. We decided the best solution was a balance of content curation and creation. And rather than invest time we didn't have in fancy production, we would focus on speed and value.
We created a blended program that included videos, online articles, resources links, refresher quizzes, and downloadable assets. Videos and quizzes were created from scratch. The seven videos were outlined, shot, and edited in one day (Super Bowl Sunday). Each was completed in less than one hour and was produced in my home office using a laptop, Webcam, and Adobe Premiere. The rest of the content was curated from across the Learning and Development (L&D) community.
We then packaged the content into a series of eight courses. Each course was designed to last only 5 to 10 minutes so as to fit into the average L&D pro's day. Each was focused on one specific component of microlearning. The courses built on one another, allowing participants to incrementally explore microlearning in the week leading up to the conference. Refresher quizzes were positioned throughout to reinforce key points from previous courses. Everything was accessible via mobile app or desktop browser.
How Did It Go?
T18 MicroLearn went live one week prior to the start of Training 2018. Some 386 people logged into UMU to access the content over the next three weeks — approximately 20 percent of the total conference attendance. The majority of the content received high ratings and likes in UMU. Given our limited time for marketing, we were excited to see that level of engagement. However, participation did decline quickly over time as we approached the conference. What does this mean? One participant nailed it with this comment: "This was a great model. I also got to see how easy it was not to keep up, so we need to understand and expect that from our learners."
T18 MicroLearn was a demonstration of modern workplace learning principles. I hope this behind-the-scenes look at the T18 MicroLearn experience shows you what is possible when you rethink how you provide support to your employees every day. T18 MicroLearn is still online if you'd like to try it out. Access the program for free at learngeek.co/t18microlearn for a limited time. Send thoughts on Twitter via @JD_Dillon or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com.
JD Dillon is the Chief Learning Architect at Axonify, where he partners with leading organizations to solve business problems through the application of modern learning practices and cutting-edge technology. He is also the founder of LearnGeek, through which he provides professional consulting and educational services.