Millennials are taking over the corporate world, and with that comes the need for microlearning, and keeping it engaging.
We need to discover ways that will not only teach your corporates new lessons but keep them engaged and interested.
That’s where microlearning comes in.
What is Microlearning?
Microlearning is a teaching concept that breaks down lessons into microsites – or short, focused sessions.
It’s a massive help for the modern-day brain, that has a lower attention span and different ways of learning.
Millennials are set to make up 75% of the workforce by 2015, and they have an attention span of 90 seconds.
What this means, for a corporate business is that, in short, traditional learning strategies just won’t be effective.
That’s where microlearning proves to be such a great strategy. By presenting lessons in short, focused nuggets – you can ensure that those watching and leaning are taking everything in and that they don’t get bored.
Microlearning is typically short-term. How long the sessions depend entirely on what lesson you’ll make, and how much you need to fit into a session.
Most microlearning sessions are about 20 minutes and include interaction throughout.
Below, we’ve listed our top strategies for writing great microlearning content. Let’s check them out.
Understand Attention Spans
As we mentioned, the average attention span of a millennial is around 90 seconds. This means that they won’t focus on something unstimulating for longer than that.
For you to write excellent, useful content, you need to understand attention spans.
Brain research has revealed that a person’s ability to learn something is affected by periodic variations – caused by the neurotransmitters in the brain that regulate attention.
Basically, the brain works in periods of high-level attention levels, and then low-level attention levels. These variations occur at 90-minute intervals.
This means, for your microlearning content, that learners will stop focusing or tune out any adequate breaks that are not stimulating or engaging.
“Pike’s 90/20/8 rule is a great one to follow. This means that a concept or content can be thought for around 90 minutes – meaning the entire lesson can be 90 minutes long.” — Jeffrey Astrachan, Science Writer at Is Accurate.
However, this content needs to be chopped into 20-minute sections, that have interactions available every 8 minutes.
Obviously, maintaining the attention of millennial employees has become quite a task. This little structure could help you with writing your next microlearning session.
Remember, 90.20/8 throughout.
Know the Moment of Need
The moment of need acts like a catalyst for the employee. For example, you need to know when a particular person will need help, guidance, or learning – this way, you can make your content more specialized.
For instance, when an employee approaches a moment – like a sales meeting or a pitch, you can have a microlearning session to prepare.
This way, you can make your lessons more personalized and specialized. Knowing when you’ll use it and need it is imperative.
It could be used before a moment, during a term, or after an occasion to help brush up on skills.
Know Your Objective
What is your aim of making this course or learning session?
What do you hope to achieve from this, and how will it benefit your company?
For instance, if you want your company to dive more into social media marketing, what type of lessons do you want to include into your sessions – what platforms, techniques, and budget do you want to promote?
When writing your content, always note what the objectives are: this will help your learner to strive towards it. The aim is usually a behavior or a new skill.
Of course, make your objectives reasonable and attainable.
Who is Your Audience?
Writing content for anything, even if it is a microlearning course, requires you to know your target audience.
This affects everything – the linguistics, graphics, and terminology.
The age range, skill level, and interests will all change how the learner reacts to a session. If it doesn’t appeal to them, they might not concentrate as quickly.
Of course, this is also an excellent time to remember the attention span fact, too.
Check how your user is reacting to a lesson – cut them down shorter, make them more interactive, or change certain aspects. Every writer changes and adapts their content every now and then – microlearning is no exception to this.
Focus on Your Must-learn Content
This is one of the most essential tips for writing effective microlearning content.
As the name suggests, these lessons are incredibly short and snappy – meaning you can’t include any useless information. It has to be clear, concise, and straight to the point.
Always consider what your must-learn pieces are before creating your lessons.
You can always provide links to anything else that could be useful. It’s then up to the learner to take the initiative to learn that by themselves.
It’s not all about the writing either, you should focus on adding graphics to your microlearning content.
Obviously, these have to tie in seamlessly with the rest of your content – they add a slight break to reading, and can help explain specific points to the maximum.
“Infographics, graphs, and videos are great ways to make a point easier to understand. Don’t be afraid to add images or gifs to microlearning either, if it’s relevant and your audience will react well.” — Emma Michaels, HR manager at Supreme Dissertations.
Interactive demos are arguably the most effective microlearning courses.
Adopt the “Learning by Doing” Mantra
You can’t simply add a video onto a microlearning lesson, as it won’t be effective and will take away from the snappy benefits.
Learners will benefit significantly from this, as it’s almost like applying everything they’ve learned. Practice makes perfect.
For example, if you have a microlearning course on making a sales pitch, you can have a part in your lesson that makes the learner directly create a sales pitch.
There are many ways to incorporate this learning by doing mantra into your courses.
What Material Would You Like to Write?
There are many forms of content that you can opt for when it comes to microlearning.
This is excellent news as everybody learns in different ways. You can opt for:
- Gamification – You take your material and inject life into it. This creates a competitive edge to your lessons, making it perfect for corporate situations that are fast-paced.
- Podcasts – These are incredibly popular at the moment, and offer flexibility for the learner. They could listen to them on their way to work, while eating lunch or on their morning walk.
- Blogging – Think of these as short, concise essays. Many people still learn topics by reading, it’s one of the most tried and tested ways of teaching a lesson.
- Quizzes – If the topics you learn have a right or wrong type of answer, a questionnaire can be the best thing for you.
The majority, if not all, of your employees, will have a mobile. You could consider writing your content so that it’s mobile accessible. Again, this makes the course more flexible.
This could be more suitable for your employees, who may feel more comfortable using their mobile.
If you consider this, you need to write your courses in a little bit of a different way.
Teach It Your Way
Your employees know your tone of voice, and how you like to teach things. Write it like you’re having a conversation, or you’re casually tutoring if that makes you feel better.
Use an active voice and a conversational tone. Tell stories, keep everything short and simple, and avoid anything too technical or complicated.
Your employees probably don’t want to feel like they’re back at school.
Again, this all depends on your audience, and what you’re trying to teach.
Use Real-World Examples
You users will interact and learn more from content that they can relate to.
You should use scenarios, real-life examples, and case studies. This will help them visualize everything, and make the most out of the lessons.
The main benefit of this is knowledge retention. This means that anything the audience learns during this session will stay in their brain much longer.
Don’t put too much information into a story – this will make the audience lose interest. Keep it short and straightforward, like everything else.
Also, encourage your leaners to develop their own stories – tell them that they can become a success story, too.
Your course should motivate and incite curiosity.
We hope these tips help you with writing new courses. Microlearning is a natural, effective way to make significant improvements to your company.
Teaching new skills and lessons to your corporate company will only make your business accelerate.
As with all writing, it will get better with time. You’ll find a great style, that proves to be the most effective way.
Microlearning is the future of learning -, especially with the new modern brain. Bite-sized information that’s focused and concise is the way forward. Though not a substitute for traditional online training, but only complementary to a comprehensive learning program.