In an age where continuous learning is widely becoming a mutual goal for both employers and employees, it is vital for a company to supply learners with a structured eLearning environment. Part of what conveys a stable structure of the learning environment is the ability to optimize the learning time and efficiency.
Workers, in general, work hard and are consistently busy people leading busy lives. Taking time to learn something new, either concerning their work or for self-improvement, may also be consuming time where the worker could be actively accomplishing a key task.
Micro, On-demand, On the go– New Industry Standards
Multitasking between a multitude of tasks in conjunction with the digital distractions people commonly face paints a realistic picture of the challenges employees struggle with every day to be able to focus on a specific project for an extended period.
Electronic tools such as e-mail, voicemail, instant messages, video conferences, texts, and corporate cell phone accessibility; all contribute to overwhelming people. Added to this fact, studies show that in a typical 8-hour workday, approximately ninety minutes per day can be lost merely by employees checking their business e-mail.
Moreover, according to LinkedIn's 2020 Workplace Learning Report, one of the top factors that prevent teams from learning is that they don’t have time to learn at work, but nearly all workers do see the career benefits of carving out time to learn.
Given that time is of the essence, employees are eager to have at their disposable micro, on-demand, personalized learning experiences that can be accessed at the right time, without having to invest hours consuming content.
eLearning professionals can use the following techniques to maximize student learning time and efficiency (in other words, help learners know all the required information in the least amount of time):
1) Focused Material: One Goal for Each Module or Lesson
You probably have the main objective for your eLearning course clear before starting out. However, each module should also have its own singular objective clearly defined.
The reason behind this theory is simple: Having one unique and simple goal in mind makes it easy for learners to focus and realistic for them to achieve once the module is completed. By designing your micro modules with this simplicity in mind you are contributing to the learning process and providing students a huge opportunity to actually retain this key knowledge and APPLY it back at work as soon as possible.
2) Frequent Evaluations
Research has acknowledged that most students prefer not to be tested at the end of the course. On the contrary, most learners have a strong preference for having continuous assessments throughout a course. For instance, after each section or module... and ideally with immediate access to testing results and their course progress.
Different studies through history have provided proof that frequent testing helps learners to recall recently learned information and helps the mind speed up the process of transferring the new knowledge from the working memory (short-term memory) to the long-term memory.
Also read: 6 Ways to Assess Your Students in eLearning
3) Adopt a Mobile-First Course Design Approach
Expectations are changing in the learning world. As mobile device adoption continues to grow, so the way we train workers should continue evolving to adapt their current behaviors and expectations. Designing courses with a mobile-first approach and using the appropriate responsive technology can increase the student’s ability to learn anytime, anywhere.
After all, Mobile isn’t just a new technology trend. It’s an entire mindset change about how content is designed and delivered.
This represents a huge opportunity to leverage the multi-purpose abilities of smartphones. Users can move seamlessly from text to videos, to reference websites, to sharing apps. This takes an entirely new approach to how training programs are designed. The learner is now in control of their own learning. That’s why we now need to be mobile-minded in order to provide better learning experiences.
The takeaway: Make mobile your first consideration in eLearning content planning, not just as a way to retrofit old course content to a new platform. Design your training programs to be delivered on a mobile device from the outset.
Other important takeaways:
- Responsive design – Optimizing for mobile requires a responsive design, which ensures your learning content is easily resized for all mobile devices, from smartphones to mobile tablets, to portable laptops and desktop. Screen size does not matter in a responsive design because the design ensures optimal visibility on every screen size.
- Video content training is a valuable addition to your mLearning for both portability and learning abilities – Short videos of two to four minutes in length are a valuable addition embedded into your learning materials. The short time periods ensure the content can be fit-in to the student’s mobile activities and spare moments. Because of the ease of understanding video content can provide, students can get a “quick understanding” of the core lesson points which allow them to skim the remainder of the module as needed.
4) Embrace MicroLearning to Boost Productivity and Knowledge Retention!
Gone are the days when all employees will sit for hours on end listening passively to training sessions. Today, people learn non-linearly and actively, on the go, in short bursts when they can find time, and across a variety of devices.
Microlearning's quick format allows learners to take advantage of short breaks throughout their day instead of interrupting it for long hours at a time. They can focus on something for 5-15 minutes and then move on to more important issues. It’s more realistic to request the completion of a bite-size 10-minute lesson per week than a 3-hour course from your employees.
"8 out of 10 L&D professionals favor microlearning because their learners prefer it". More Micro-Learning Stats & Benefits in this article.
There are two key ways MicroLearning can be effective for students to gain knowledge of the training course.
- Direct Primary Information Passing – practical MicroLearning modules added to the primary message of the training provide immediate information and help the student gain further knowledge. These segments can be used to assist in-class training or eLearning videos. Because eLearning offers the ability for the student to review and return to the information as many times as the student may require, it provides the best avenue for retention of the learning material.
- Supplemental Information Passing – offering additional information in the form of quizzes, cheat or check sheets, and flashcards can provide the ultimate learning advantage for students. Videos and other course elements which are supported by quizzes, flashcards, and other forms of MicroLearning materials have been shown to provide an additional avenue for the best retention of the information included in the training.
Read more: Start Thinking Micro-Moments
If you want to start applying the principles of Micro-Learning to your eLearning design take into consideration these valuable implementation tips.
5)Focus: Tap into Your Student’s Engagement Points and Motivation
Engagement from your learners and the motivation gained from that engagement should be a solid goal for every eLearning course developer.
By analyzing and identifying “why” your learners are taking a training course, you can tailor your content to those needs, which in turn can provide the desired motivation and ultimately the engagement from the student.
Motivation and engagement can come from many different venues. Whether your learners are newly hired employees in your instruction to understand company policies and procedures or working through corporate compliance training or learning new corporate support software; any scenario can gain motivation and engagement on behalf of the student, by merely ascertaining the motives for the practice and tailoring the content to those motives.
For larger information exchange learning sessions, it is a solid recommendation to resize the information into smaller MicroLearning packets. No matter the learning project, the focus should always center on the engagement of the learner, regardless of the length of information required for completion.
It is for this reason of engagement and motivation, the most popular TED Talks (technology, entertainment, design presentations) range in length from 15 to 20 minutes, but seldom more than 30 minutes in length.
6) Aligned Learning: Solution-Based Learning
As a rule, when someone has a “moment of need” they are open to receiving help, seeking guidance, or entering into a training course to achieve their goal. This moment of need is known as a motivational window, which is a prime time to introduce a workplace learning opportunity.
Giving employees a solution-based eLearning course catalog, available on-demand, and personalized with their unique needs in mind, for instance, is a great way for organizations to start seeing a substantial rise in the registration, adoption, engagement, and completion rates of their learning experiences.
According to a study based on CEB Research, 57% of employees today expect their learning experience to be more "just in time" than it was three years ago.
Recommended read: Is Your Company Embracing Just-in-Time Learning?
Companies that have users at their core are looking to provide more efficient and effective learning opportunities to keep their workforce motivated and engaged.
Has your company implemented any of these methods? Tell us about your experiences in the comments.