Professional life is demanding. At the technical expert level, you are faced with rapid new developments in your field. As an executive manager, you face demands and priorities 360 degrees around you. Even if you are motivated to learn, where will you find the time?
Microlearning offers added value when learners are busy managing many priorities. Microlearning gives learners bite-sized programs that fit into their workday more easily than traditional training. Video lectures of 3-4 minutes are more attractive than those taking 30-40 minutes. But there is a catch! You must resist the temptation to take the easy road, and simply chop up a lecture in 10 smaller parts, without modifying the storyline. Because doing that forces the learner to follow all lectures in a fixed sequence. Plus you risk that a single short video raises more questions than it answers.
Recently, a corporate client approached us with the request to create training for senior managers within the organisation. The topic had technical aspects, as well as tactical and strategic elements. The purpose of the training would require the managers to update knowledge and to align with the global corporate policy. Knowledge and experience varied within the group and as a consequence, so would the individual learning objectives.
Microlearning offered a solution. We categorised the field of knowledge into 6 domains. For each of the domains, we identified six to ten concepts that managers had to know. Each of these concepts could be explained briefly, which is what we did. Together with Vetpot Video productions, we created bite-sized video lectures, varying in length from 3 to 9 minutes. The micro-lectured were designed such, that they could be viewed in any sequence. The lectures could be viewed on a desktop, tablet or smartphone, to optimize the access.
But very short lectures alone are not enough to make micro-learning successful. Motivation to engage with the training is not a matter of course (no pun intended). To achieve this, we introduced three online problem-based debating events, each one around a specific topic. Pegbarians created cartoon invitations, which we sent around to introduce the topics for debate. Also, we distributed a syllabus with an overview of all micro-learning. This included provocative comic book stories created by Jordan Collver, to jumpstart the debate.
This combination of micro-learning and problem-based awareness-raising proved to be very popular and successful. Participants agreed or disagreed with the comic-book narrative. Either way, this filled the online events with lively discussions about perceptions, values and expectations around the three topics. It also helped to separate knowledge from opinions. To share knowledge, we referred to the microlearning videos. This allowed focussing the discussions on opinions and strategic directions.
An additional benefit of microlearning is improved accessibility to the learning content. The short lectures easily fill idle time, for example, while travelling.