What is Micro-Learning?
By: Matt Toresco
Micro-learning – we have all heard the term, but what does it really mean? Words like “snackable,” and “bite-sized,” are often used to describe micro-learning, but in essence, it is breaking down a learning activity into smaller pieces to maximize learning effectiveness.
In today’s day and age, our sales teams and account managers are pulled in many different directions. They are tasked with a number of strategic tactics that they have to perform on a daily basis. They may be responsible for populating a CRM like Salesforce.com or VIVA or even a simple spreadsheet to keep track of their client interactions. Combine all of this with the age of social media, personal relationships, and the fact that the average millennial has the attention span of just 90 seconds, and you are left with minimal time to reach your learners. So how can we, as learning professionals, possibly reach our audience effectively?
The answer is “micro-learning” or “m-learning.” Beyond that, it is also meeting the learner where they are, on their terms. Let’s dive into this a bit…
- WIIFM: This is standard in Learning & Development, however, it’s amazing how often the WIIFM gets left out of the module description. WIIFM or “what’s in it for me” (for your sales representative / account manager) is a must to get buy-in from your learners
- Snackable Learning Modules: Learning modules should be split into pieces 5 minutes in length (no longer than 10), that have a single learning objective. This will ensure that the learner can apply their focus to this one main objective, knowing that a break is just around the corner.
- Mobile Ready: Most of the time, your sales team is in the field, where they are supposed to be, and many of them don’t have access to their computer or a wifi connection. Therefore, your content should be available via their mobile device (cell phone or 4G connected tablet). This ensures that your learners have the ability to take the course when they have free time in the field or home office.
- Video: We are in a video-centric world right now. Twitter came out recently and noted that video will surpass text in the near future. If you think about the top social media platforms and websites (Instagram, Snapchat, YouTube, Facebook) video is everywhere. Young children are using YouTube videos for learning simple tasks like playing with Play-Doh. Our learners don’t want to have to sit and read, they would prefer the opportunity to watch and take notes.
- Course Workbook: Similar to video content, to ensure that our learners are maximizing their ability to pay attention to these snack-sized videos, the creation of a course workbook guides the learner through the course. Providing the learner with a workbook to take notes, jot down key points or phrases, etc ensures that we are pulling through the objectives the videos are aimed to hit.
- Assessment / Learner Upload: A brief assessment at the tail end of the module is another way to ensure that learning took place. To boost pull through, having your learner show what they took away from your course via a self-recorded video adds a level of interaction and fun while proving to you they pulled the key materials from the course.
- Follow-Up: The end of the module cannot be the last time our learners hear about these new bits of information. Ensure you are planting these new learnings in regional district conference calls. Encourage your directors to get creative in their own ways to test their sales members on their knowledge obtained through the course.
As millennials enter the workforce, we must continue to evolve with the times and evaluate the ways our new audience learns. Today’s busy sales professionals require “snackable” content that is aimed at a mutually beneficial objective. These micro-learning modules will ensure that we maximize pull through of knowledge for our learners in the finite amount of time today’s salespeople have to dedicate to learning.