When considering how to integrate new approaches—like microlearning—into your overall employee development efforts, it can be useful to get back to basics. In this article, we place microlearning within a broader training development structure.
Let’s start at the broadest levels of training development: learning paths, curricula and courses. These learning categories define the overall topics and goals of a training program. Completing a course is generally considered a key milestone, requiring a quarter or semester in educational settings, a full week of intensive learning or multiple sessions online. Courses are part of a larger curriculum or learning path.
Within each course, there are generally:
- Lessons: A substantive collection of learning material on one focal topic
- Outcomes and Objectives: Specific, actionable goals used to assess learning
- Content: The material taught to achieve the desired outcomes and objectives
- Interactions: Interactive elements that either teach or reinforce content
- Assessments: Questions or exercises that assess learner understanding and retention
Microlearning can be blended into a broader learning program by considering where these short engagements fit within this hierarchical structure. Here are examples of microlearning engagements that could fit into a course design:
- Translating assessment questions into short interactions that repeat a main point and its importance, and assess learner retention of skills taught in training
- Extending existing training content by providing a new case study or exercise that supplements an existing lesson or that integrates two learning points together
- Designing a real-world scenario that asks the learner to apply course content to a realistic work problem
- Providing a preview of a training event (classroom or online) by offering an engagement that directly supports a relevant learning objective
Microlearning is a great resource for previewing, extending or reaffirming previous or upcoming learning—considering the tool within a structured framework can identify new opportunities to fill content gaps or build out assessments.