The Five Most Common Microlearning Mistakes (and How to Avoid Them)

Learning & Development | June 26, 2018

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Microlearning is all the rage in corporate learning. Learn how to avoid the five most common microlearning mistakes in this blog post.

If you’re a corporate learning professional, then chances are you’ve heard about microlearning. The idea of microlearning is to create lessons that feature small, digestible chunks of information that can be completed by employees in only a few minutes a day. When done correctly, it is an efficient, effective and cost-effective way to encourage professional development and continual learning. However, there are mistakes that even the savviest organizations can make when trying to adopt this practice.

Cutting Down Existing Lessons

A very common microlearning mistake is believing you can simply take existing lessons, such as videos or articles, and make them shorter or split them into multiple parts. Although it may be appealing to utilize the content you’ve already created, it’s important that microlearning content is specifically designed to be consumed in only a few minutes.

A key factor of microlearning is to provide content that is self-contained — an employee must be able to complete a single microlearning module without the need to follow up with another lesson. Each lesson must focus on only one or two concepts to be effective. When traditional courses are simply shortened or split into multiple parts, they often end up missing key information or require the employee to complete more courses on the same topic.

Thinking that Microlearning Works for Everything

It’s important to realize that microlearning does not work for every training or learning opportunity. There are some topics that cannot be condensed into five-minute clips. For example, microlearning would not be recommended for training on a very technical and complicated skill. Microlearning may be better suited to develop “soft skills” such as teamwork or innovation. Employees should be able to utilize lessons on very specific skills they would like to improve with actionable content. It is unlikely an organization would be able to train an employee on a new technology in just a few minutes.

For this reason, many organizations use microlearning as a learning supplement, not a standalone solution. You can still use your traditional training courses while giving employees the opportunity to develop additional skills using microlearning. It is important to review your current learning plan and see where microlearning would be the best fit.

Not Having an Implementation Plan in Place

With any new corporate learning initiative, make sure you have the right plan in place to get employees on board. Because microlearning is informal, some organizations may assume that an implementation plan is not necessary. This common mistake will ensure your microlearning resources are not utilized to their full potential.

To ensure the success of your microlearning initiative, create an in-depth implementation plan that will get employees excited to use their new tools. Some ideas might include sending communication emails leading up to the launch of the new program, holding a training workshop on the new resources available, hanging posters throughout your organization and alerting employees whenever new content is available.

Failing to Make Lessons Mobile

A key component of microlearning is the ability to consume content on the go. Organizations must understand that employees are unlikely to only practice microlearning at their desk. Ensure that your microlearning resources are available on mobile devices, either through an app or a mobile responsive website. This way your employees will be able to complete lessons anywhere and anytime — whether they are reading a book summary at the airport, watching a video on the train or skimming an article between meetings.

Not Investing in the Right Tools

Many organizations simply do not have the capacity or budget to create a library of new content from scratch. This can lead to some of the common microlearning mistakes mentioned above such as shortening lessons that have already been created, using microlearning for the wrong topics or failing to create a critical mobile component for their microlearning program.

To implement a microlearning program it is important to invest in a tool that has ready-made lessons that can be customized to your company’s specific competencies. EBSCO’s Accel5 features videos, book summaries and articles to help your employees develop critical soft skills. This microlearning tool has content designed specifically for microlearning purposes, so you know you are avoiding common microlearning mistakes. Sign up for a free trial to see if Accel5 is right for your organization.

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