Micro-learning

Micro-Learning: Develop, Manage & Deploy Bite Sized Training

There are many widely discussed training technology trends that fail to really take hold or that get quickly superseded, but the concept of micro-learning is one hot topic that is here to stay – because it works. Here we look at how to develop, manage and deploy bite sized training to engage and train your learners to maximum effect.

 

Learning messagesMost of us have probably heard by now the phrase ‘micro-learning’ floating around in industry literature. But what does it actually mean? And what kind of concrete example would take shape if we put micro-learning into practice?

 

Mixed media training contentAt WillowDNA we have always developed our training solutions as a mix of bite-sized assets and activities so although the term ‘micro learning’ has been buzzing around technological training for the last 18 months, we have been rendering training interventions in this way for the last 10 years! WillowDNA’s expertise lies in crafting the blend of mixed media learning designs for any client, from medium sized corporates to global institutions; bite-sized content delivery is a universal winning strategy for e-learning solutions.

Micro-learning downloads

 

A Micro-Learning Platform

Firstly, our cloud-based learning platform, Pathway LMS, has been developed specifically for the management of blended programmes. Pathway is made up of modular Learning Paths, which can hold any number of mixed media assets. Our clients can provide a seamless blended learning experience by creating learning paths which are made up of learning objects. These objects can range from videos, discussion boards and SCORM modules through to uploadable evidence-based assignments and podcasts.

 

Creating Learning Paths

Learning paths checklistLearning Paths can provide a chronological course of content, or focused packets of information that learners can quickly access. This ‘just in time’ approach is the underpinning philosophy behind micro-learning. Bite-sized training is consumable for learners, they can easily manage to fit training into their day and put aside 10 – 20 minutes per day to learn. The blend can be defined by the audience, for example exercises and tasks that can be performed in the field or assets that can be easily accessed while they are out and about, such as podcasts for people that spend much of their time in the car or downloadable job aids for those that have episodic access to devices.

 

Scalable e-Learning Content

Easy learning administrationThe scalability of bite-sized learning also benefits the custodians of content, from HR teams to tutors and subject matter experts. The ability to quickly respond to change and enforce that change within e-learning content is an imperative when managing any kind of learning. Pathway allows administrators to quickly and easily update or supplement content by adding and removing learning objects instead of ‘unpicking’ lengthy SCORM files or re-recording videos. Pathway allows administrators to simply insert a new Case Study or develop a new PDF/Infographic to ensure their training material keeps up to date with internal or business changes.

 

Bite-Size for Success – The Takeaway

Bite size learning takeawaysAs a final takeaway message, being a learner centric organisation, we know our success will always be measured by the learner experience. We have conducted extensive research across our various learner audiences and continually receive an overwhelming response that they prefer a mixed media approach and are unable to simply ‘choose’ a favourite medium. End users consistently feedback that the mixed media, bite-sized approach keeps them engaged and offers them a rich learning experience.

Feel free to contact us for an informal chat about your needs and to find out how WillowDNA could help you develop a micro-learning solution for your training requirements.

info@willowdna.com
+44(0)117 370 7735

Social learning in corporate training

Is Social Learning Part of Your Blend?

Hello again from WillowDNA! This is the first instalment of a regular blog series focusing on the hot topics within the world of e-learning. Today’s focus is on the growing influence of social learning strategies.

We know from recent studies that social learning is in high demand from learners.

One example of how WillowDNA can facilitate this new trend, is through the use of message boards within our LMS, which provide a space where users can compare their learning experiences and also discuss specific aspects of the content. This really brings home the social media feel that is transforming the e-learning game, and is being received by our client’s learners and tutors with great enthusiasm.

Not only does it give their audience a voice and an opportunity for them to contribute to the learning, it also exposes their individual experiences which helps to transfer learning back into the workplace.

Discussion boards for social learning

 

Benefits of Social Learning

Substantial analysis into the benefits of social learning has been conducted and making employees feel like they are contributing to a larger goal or joint mission seems to be an important take away factor. Therefore, building in LMS functionality that allows learners to contribute to their learning experience can really maximise this asset that social learning provides. Pathway can also facilitate this, with the ability for learners to upload content to a portfolio, which can be viewed by a tutor who can then share uploads with the rest of the cohort to generate discussion.

By allowing learners to contribute content at key stages along the learning experience, a collaborative spirit can be fostered, and with tutors or SME guidance, this learner input can be incorporated into the overall content stream. For certain professions that are highly practical and often require behavioural change, such as sales, the ability to quickly put into practice what you have recently learnt from content is invaluable.

For example, sales reps in the field could use their smartphones to quickly record and share recent experiences and best practice with their colleagues, providing they use an LMS that supports learner contribution. The option to trial and test content in the field affords learners more confidence in their e-learning solution and provides a faster pace to their learning experience.

We are implementing this research in the construction of our online Sales Training Academy and will hopefully yield the clear benefits that social learning methods can provide to our learners.

Keep an eye out for upcoming WillowDNA blog posts for further insights.

eLearning Advice from Cambridge University

What’s next for e-learning?  Short and sharp is the view from Cambridge

Commentators at Cambridge University published an article earlier this year exploring the future of e-learning and role of short snappy content, supported by the guidance of an expert tutor.  This would shape the future delivery model for students.  Back in 2013 we published a White Paper exploring exactly this concept of created and curated content that powers our learning path design concept.  

It’s a model that our clients have used across the globe to deliver more impactful learning experiences and ensure collaboration and application are sustained.

eLearning Advice from Cambridge University

More and more, our team are working with clients to create short, high impact content, from animations and quick how to videos through to game style challenges and scenarios.

Debbie Lawley, MD at WillowDNA says ‘It’s great to see the recognition that content can inspire and start a learning journey but is recognised as part of the process.  Our role as learning content and technology suppliers is to help organisations set the scene for great performance through engaging the audience and inspiring change’.

A great example of this was our work with Mediabrands on a new tools launch back in 2016

As well creating formal performance content, a key element of the programme for their new tools launch was high impact comms content, designed to feed curiosity about the new tools and start conversations throughout the business:

To accompany the formal content and encourage independent research and application of the knowledge covered in the e-learning modules, e daily google quiz, developed using Articulate Storyline was released every day for a fortnight, encouraging learners back to the LMS to take part in daily challenges and win prizes.

Online quiz

YouTube Challenge

YouTube Tools

As a compliment to this, each global office were encouraged to upload video case studies of how they were using the campaign planning cycle in new work pitches and discussing the revenue generated.  Top case studies as rated by their peers won prizes for their local office and provided useful content for the business as a whole.

Getting to know you – a video on delivering what people really need

Our head of learning solutions, Lisa Minogue-White recorded a quick video on why we need to work harder to get to know our learners and what will really make a difference.

In this 2 minute piece, she explores;

  • how to make best use of technology to help create and share resources
  • why we should create a choice architecture rather than invest in big budget programmes and,
  • how we can really make a difference through focusing our time on helping people in the application of learning

e-learning network and WillowDNA Webinar – Beyond The Blend

ELN and WillowDNA webinar – Thursday 25th May 2017, 12:00 noon

From courses to resources, self- learning, curated or created, community and collaborative learning, adaptive learning… the list of ‘how to do learning today?’ goes on. But in practical terms, learning in today’s organisations takes more than a blend; it takes an understanding of the dynamics of how stuff gets done and providing support in a way that fits people, not ‘learners’.

Sign-up now to learn more about how real learning happens in organisations and what you can do to work with your learners rather than against them!

CIPD L&D Show preview – times are changing


Next week, London Olympia will be host to the annual CIPD L&D show and a read through of the conference and seminar agenda reflects the state of the nation for learning and where emphasis will be placed moving forward.

From ‘Innovating and Upskilling the Learning Organisation’ to ‘Learning and the Future of the Professions’, the event is taking a decidedly future scoping view. There are a range of practical how to session covering video, microlearning, coaching and analytics which always prove popular. But there is no doubt that over the next year, we’ll see the conversations continue to focus on the shape, direction and focus of the new learning professional.

Lisa Minogue-White will be reporting from the event so check back for her report coming soon.

2017 HR and L&D Conference, Swansea

Our Director of Learning Solutions, Lisa Minogue-White, will be speaking at Community Housing Cymru HR and L&D conference – “The future of learning” – on 23rd May 2017, at the Village Hotel, Swansea, South Wales.

This, the first Human Resources and Learning & Development Conference run by CHC, will be taking place on the 23d & 24th of May at the Village Hotel, Swansea.

There will be lots of opportunities to network with colleagues and enjoy conference dinner and drinks in the evening.

And if that isn’t enough, there will be a wide spectrum of workshops on various topics, and taster sessions of all of CHC’s housing toolkit training.

Click here to book a place online.

Discounted accommodation is available at the Village Hotel for delegates who book in advance of the conference date.

WillowDNA Webinar – Using off the shelf to build bespoke programmes

Our next WillowDNA webinar explores how you can use off the shelf content to create a bespoke solution.

Sign up today and join us to explore how you can create a great hub of learning resources through an effective mix of created and curated content.

  • Resources vs courses: what is expected of today’s learning mix
  • Using off the shelf content as scene setters
  • Activities that move learning into experience
  • Introducing Pathway360, our platform with preloaded content and authoring

Sign up for free via Eventbrite

Learning Technologies Summer Forum 2017

The WillowDNA team will be attending the Learning Technologies Summer Forum 2017.

Held at Olympia London on 13th June 2017, this event is the follow up to the main Learning Technologies event held in February. This allows greater exploration of the topics that proved most popular at that event.

The will be 30 L&D seminars and 20 experts speakers.

Are you planning on attending the event and interested in discussing your corporate elearning needs?

Please contact us to arrange a chat and a coffee with our Director of Learning Solutions, Lisa Minogue-White.

Create engaging elearning with honesty

“Why can’t we just take an existing product, and put a clock in it or something?”

Create engaging elearning with honesty
One of my favourite Simpsons episodes has a moment where Homer offers the quote above as his response, when confronted with a complex blueprint for a revolutionary new product that he just can’t get his head around.

What’s this got to do with e-learning? Well, to me it comes to mind when you look at how some training providers propose games as a radical new solution to engage learners – and then come up with a bolt-on game-playing experience that combines racing cars, multiple choice questions and a third-rate set of character designs to teach learners about the Data Protection Act.

Now, this isn’t knocking games as a learning device. Properly targeted and carefully crafted, they can produce effective learning experiences ranging from simulations and skills-practice through to powerful prompts to reflection.

But I think that their popularity sometimes reflects a failure to engage with a much more fundamental, underlying issue in online learning – one of narrative credibility.

All too often, online training can suffer from the same kind of ‘narrative delusion’ that insular politicians do. ‘If we only explain what we’re proposing clearly enough, surely everyone sensible will then agree with us’ – whilst failing to genuinely acknowledge different perspectives; dissent; the fact that very serious challenges may exist and that many endeavours, initiatives and processes are – at least initially – unpopular (especially when change is involved).

Now, clearly learning providers have to present content in a positive way that helps organisations achieve their training aims. But often, when e-learning claims that it treats learners as adults/presents content from a ‘What’s In It For Me?’ perspective and acknowledges real-world complexity – it doesn’t , not really – and learners smell a rat right from the start, which undermines engagement (and whatever the narrative is) on a fundamental level. 

Similarly, if the content isn’t demonstrably useful, easy to navigate and oriented towards supporting performance rather than covering an arbitrary curriculum – people will often start looking at their watches and clicking Next.

And at that stage, all of the gimmicks in the world won’t be much use.

One answer? Radical honesty. This could present itself in any number of ways – open acknowledgement of past organisational failures; the pressures of tough targets; challenges to motivation; competitors’ strengths; or personal stress. Same basic content – different paradigm.

And then, having started off from a solid position – by telling a powerful truth to learners that resonates with the real world they live in – narratives (whether through case studies, scenarios, or – indeed – games) are in a much better place to succeed.

Here, ‘honest’ learning content can use the weight of (implicit) negative expectation to its advantage, subverting expectations and generating surprise, engagement and buy-in. ‘Oh, another corporate e-learning course – yawn…hey, wait – what did they just say?!? I think I’d better pay attention to this!’

Alternatively, you could just go with the racing cars… 

Instructional Designer D Whiston

Many thanks to guest blogger, Daniel Whiston, Award Winning Instructional Designer & Scriptwriter