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Micro-learning: The power of bite-sized training solutions
In today’s fast-paced world, where time is a precious commodity, micro-learning is in, and traditional training methods often struggle to keep up with learners’ needs.
Micro- and nano-learning are two revolutionary approaches to training and education that each offer bite-sized, targeted learning experiences.
In this episode of AcceleratedID, I’ll explore the benefits of micro- and nano-learning, discuss how to use them effectively and showcase some successful micro- and nano-learning courses that have made a significant impact. So, let’s dive into the world of micro-learning and discover how it can revolutionize your training programs!
What is Micro-learning?
Before we dive into the benefits and use cases, let’s settle on a simple definition of micro- and nano-learning.
When you think micro, you think small. And when you think nano, you think even smaller. Well, that’s really what micro- and nano- learning are all about.
A micro-learning experience is a bite-sized learning experience that instructional designers can use to support a traditional learning solution. Micro-learning lessons are typically 5-10 minutes. Nano-learning lessons are less than 5 minutes.
Now, don’t mistakenly think that micro-learning replaces long-form training. We’ll get into some of the most effective uses of micro-learning later in this article!
Micro-learning in the Wild
In order to get you centered, I’d like to talk about a few different places you encounter micro-learning every day.
- Youtube tutorials
- Snapchat or TikTok clips
- Training emails from tech companies
- Linked articles from Facebook or Twitter
Which of the above have you experienced today? What did you learn? I’ll share my example. This morning I watched a 30-second TikTok of someone making an easy but delicious-looking roast beef melt. I saved the video and immediately added the ingredients to my grocery list!
Benefits of Micro-Learning in Training
As an instructional designer, it’s important that you understand the benefits of micro-learning. Not only will it be necessary for you to understand when micro-learning is an appropriate choice, but you might also have to explain them to your boss or client.
Here are just a few of the biggest benefits:
Enhanced Knowledge Retention
Micro-learning leverages the spacing effect, allowing learners to absorb information in small, manageable chunks. Repeated exposure to key concepts over time improves knowledge retention. Micro-learning helps combat the forgetting curve (more about that here) and facilitates long-term memory formation.
Flexible and Time-Efficient
Micro-learning courses are designed to fit seamlessly into learners’ busy schedules. With short modules that can be accessed anytime and anywhere, training becomes more accessible and convenient. This flexibility can eliminate the need for lengthy training sessions and encourages continuous learning, resulting in higher engagement and knowledge acquisition.
Targeted and Relevant
Micro-learning enables instructional designers to create highly focused and targeted content. Learners can quickly access specific modules that address their immediate needs or address knowledge gaps. So, micro-learning ensures that learners gain practical skills that can be immediately applied in their work.
Engaging and Interactive
By utilizing multimedia elements such as videos, infographics, quizzes, and gamification, micro-learning captivates learners’ attention and creates an immersive learning experience. The interactive nature of micro-learning enhances engagement and facilitates active participation and knowledge application.
Using Micro-Learning Effectively
Just like any training solution, in order to be effective micro-learning needs to be done right.
My biggest tip for using micro-learning or nano-learning well is to use it carefully. I mentioned this earlier, but micro-learning isn’t always the first solution to a training problem.
There are times when you might be able to use micro-learning in place of traditional training. Take my example above of the video I watched that taught me how to make a yummy sandwich. In that scenario, there would have been no need for me to take a full cooking class, the video was just enough!
But this won’t be the case for many corporate or higher-ed learning opportunities. More likely, you’ll use micro-learning to reinforce the objectives after a more traditional training.
Here are a few other tips for creating the most effective micro-learning experiences.
- Set Clear Objectives: Clearly define the learning objectives for each micro-learning module. Align these objectives with the overall training goals to ensure consistency and relevance.
- Chunk Content Strategically: Break down complex topics into smaller, easily digestible modules. Each module should focus on a specific concept or skill, ensuring clarity and reducing cognitive overload.
- Design for Mobile: Optimize micro-learning content for mobile devices, allowing learners to access training material on-the-go. Ensure that the content is responsive and easily navigable on various screen sizes.
- Incorporate Interactivity: Leverage interactive elements such as quizzes, simulations, and branching scenarios to encourage active participation and reinforce learning.
- Reinforce Learning: Use spaced repetition techniques to reinforce key concepts and promote long-term retention. Consider periodic assessments or quizzes to evaluate progress and identify areas for improvement.
Successful Micro-Learning Course Examples
I encourage you to think about opportunities that exist for micro-learning for your clients or portfolio projects. In the meantime, here are a few ideas and examples of effective and appropriate micro-learning solutions.
- “Time Management Hacks for Busy Professionals”: This micro-learning course offers practical tips and strategies to improve time management skills. Learners can access short modules on prioritization, delegation, and productivity hacks, allowing them to quickly implement these strategies in their work.
- “Customer Service Excellence in Retail”: Designed for retail employees, this micro-learning course focuses on key customer service skills. Interactive modules cover topics such as active listening, conflict resolution, and handling difficult customers, equipping learners with essential skills to excel in their roles. This kind of training might follow a more formal, elearning experience. The mini modules reinforce the objectives from the original course and promote long-term retention and, ultimately, the use of important skills in the workplace.
- “Cybersecurity Basics for Employees”: In this micro-learning course, employees learn about essential cybersecurity practices to protect themselves and their organizations. The course includes short modules on password security, phishing awareness, and data protection, creating a security-conscious workforce.
- Here’s a generic idea that could apply to any training topic for a number of different fields: create an infographic that reinforces key skills and send it to your audience one-week post-training. A week after, send a short video reinforcing a different skill.
- Training libraries: this is another idea that has many different uses. I like it for call center employees who have to use software like Salesforce to access caller data. Create a library of short videos on specific processes that are easy to grab and view as employees need them.
Wrapping it Up
Micro-learning represents a paradigm shift in training and education, offering numerous benefits for learners and organizations alike.
By leveraging its bite-sized, targeted approach, micro-learning enhances knowledge retention, provides flexibility, delivers targeted and relevant content, and engages learners through interactive experiences.
I would love to hear how you are using micro-learning- whether in your professional or personal time! Join me and my network of instructional design lovers in The Hangout Facebook Group and share!
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The Testimonials are In:
Working with Shanwtay and Katie at the Instructional Design Company was a dream come true. Their creativity, expertise, and professionalism throughout the entire process was beyond top notch. I engaged them to help turn my first book into a training course, and I could not be happier with how the final product turned out. If you have an instructional design project and you’re considering which company to work with, you can stop your search and thank me later. They are truly the best in the business.
I joined the Instructional Design & Tech Accelerator Certificate Program because I struggled to find jobs in instructional design beyond the development phase. I’ve done a couple of training programs with lots of random projects, but I was overwhelmed, not connecting the dots, and not good at structuring my writing to hit learning objectives. I was looking for motivation and direction at beginning a better Instructional Designer.
After taking the Instructional Design & Tech Certificate program and joining my fantastic team for support, I found the structure and approach to be what I need to take my next steps, evening improving my skills in the development stage.
Teacher, Future Instructional Designer
I love how this course let’s you work at your own pace. I got great tips and learned many things. The ongoing support for multiple people and groups is what I love the best. You are never alone in this process. I have been able to adjust my resume and began creating a portfolio of work I’ve completed to add when applying for jobs. I use many of the PowerPoint skills in my lessons and trainings. I would highly recommend this for anyone wanting to become an instructional designer.
Teacher, Future Instructional Designer
I have searched for the last few years to find some suitable career change where I wouldn’t have to earn another degree and where I could use the talents and skills I already have as a teacher. When I came across the Instructional Design Accelerator course, I loved the fact that Shawntay was a former teacher and could relate to a teacher’s need to transition from the classroom. This was what sold the course for me. Her experiences are invaluable especially when translating teacher duties to instructional designer duties. I would (and have) recommended this program to other teachers I know who are looking to transition out of the classroom. I do appreciate ALL of her feedback on my projects!
L&D Project Manager
The Instructional Design & Tech Accelerator certificate program is one of the most comprehensive ID programs out there for beginners. If you’re looking to grow your schools in ID and development then I highly recommend this program. Not only will this program give you an overview of theory, but you will receive a thorough walkthrough of how to apply what you have learned. Although I had already secured a position in Learning & Development when I bought this course, it helped me to move up into a new position as a Learning & Development Project Manager!
Future Instructional Designer
If you have any interest in ID, sign up for this program NOW! Shawntay and her team are top notch! The course content exceeded my expectations in a big way and the encouragement and support continues to be so valuable. You will not feel alone going through this course, you will learn so much, you’ll have many cheerleaders, and you will have fun!
Future Instructional Designer
I am really enjoying this program! It’s prerfect for someone who is thinking about a career shift to Instructional Design and does not have a lot of experience. This is my first real introduction to Instructional Design and it’s been the perfect beginner course to help me get my feet wet. The modules are broken down well and it’s great to go at your own pace and at your own time. The modules themselves are very comprehensive and you learn a lot from all of them. I really like how each one build upon each other and you’re working towards the bigger project of designing your first training course from scratch. I’m learning so much from going through this course! I was provided great feedback from Katie and Shawntay through the process via Trello Boards, comments on the Google documents, and Facebook group. This course has been well worth the time and effort and I appreciate the fact that I will always have the resources available to me after I complete the training (just in case I’m not quite ready to transition yet).
Future Instructional Designer
I can’t say enough great things about the Instructional Design & Tech Accelerator Certificate Program! The length of the program is perfect; it doesn’t feel rushed and there’s just the right amount of structure to give you the accountability you need. There are so many opportunities to get live answers to any questions you have related to the course content or anything ID-related! This program gave me the support and structure I needed to both feel affirmed in the relevant skills I already had coming in and to fill in the gaps I had as a career-changer going into ID. Shawntay, Katie, and all the coaches are super helpful and supportive. I now feel confident that I have the tools and access to resources I need to apply for ID jobs without wondering if there’s something I’m “missing” in the preparation process. I’d highly recommend this program to anyone wanting to transition into ID or who just wants to brush up on their skills in the field.
Krista Johnson Awomoyi
Freelance Instructional Designer
I’d highly recommend the Instructional Design & Tech Accelerator Certificate Program. I’m blown away by how much I learned in just 12 weeks. I had ID experience prior to taking this course and was just looking to get a better understanding of applying adult learning principles. This course well exceeded my expectations! Not only did I gain a clear understanding of adult learning principles, I was also able to apply those principles by creating assets for your portfolio using PowerPoint, Adobe Premiere Pro and Storyline. The hands on support that we received was top notch.
This program is one of the most robust yet fulfilling L&D programs I’ve seen. I learned so much about the industry and about the limitlessness of my own capabilities. I am so appreciative of Shawntay and all of the trainers who took part in the program. They went above and beyond with not only guiding, but communicating live and working one on one or in small groups. If you are on the fence, I say take the leap and you will not regret it! There’s so much to learn, not only from the trainers, but also the learners in your group. Everyone comes in with their own skills and can be additional support and guidance for you. Thank you for creating this program!
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Shawntay is an amazing individual. She is very knowledgeable in all aspects of ID and eLearning. She is also very compassionate and loves to help and see everyone around her grow and prosper. Shawntay has been a great mentor to me and she has helped me mature as an instructional designer and eLearning developer. She has provided me with opportunities when others have overlooked me. I am very grateful to have met and built a lifelong relationship with Shawntay.
I recently got hired into my first instructional design / training position and Shawntay was one of the first people to congratulate me!
Freelance Instructional Designer
My teacher-to-instructional-designer journey began two years ago when I left my teaching comfort zone and started my first freelance ID job. Now, I’m stepping out of the classroom and taking my freelance work full-time, so I’m thrilled to be joining the Tech Accelerator program. Adding technologies like Articulate 360 and Adobe Premiere Pro to my qualifications will help me take my courses to the next level and attract more clients!
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I am genuinely grateful for this course. I wanted a real-world perspective and feel like I got it. I’m teaching now, but nearing retirement age but can see myself working as an instructional designer well into my retirement years. My other goal is to take as many courses in statistics as possible in hopes of bringing some mathematical precision to the ROI question. Like you say, getting accurate metrics to measure ROI can be a challenge, but I intend to work on that part. That’s unimportant right now, what is important is the fact that I feel like this course was well worth every penny I spent and I would to it again in a heartbeat. I have too much going on right now, but as soon as I get some time freed up I intend to take your course in project management.
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Shawntay has been incredible!
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U.S. Air Force Officer, Special Operations Pilot, U.S.A.F. Academy Instructor, Motivational Speaker
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Working with Shawntay and the Instructional Design Company has allowed our university to meet the growing demands of our programs. Shawntay’s expertise allowed for the course development to be completed on time and met all of the university requirements. Shawntay’s project management skills were phenomenal and allowed my team to work on other areas while she completed this project for us. Her work is of high quality and her professionalism and willingness to help made her a tremendous asset to the project team.
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Shawntay is a creative and highly talented instructional designer. She brought a wealth of knowledge, expertise, and leadership that enabled her to own the design and creation of a full scale facilitator curriculum and train-the-trainer program. It was a pleasure to partner with Shawntay, her project management and communication skills ensured the project was on time and on budget.
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Top Notch Professional
Working with Shawntay has been an immense pleasure. She is atop notch professional who brings enthusiasm and extensiveexpertise to professional curriculum development and execution. Her knowledge of tried and true techniques to maximize the effectiveness of presentations is invaluable.
Nancy Drapeau, PRC
Vice President of Research, CEIR - Center for Exhibition Industry Research
Fortunate to Find Shawntay!
“I was fortunate to find Shawntay when our organization was looking to expand and update our educational offerings. Shawntay proved herself to be an educational and personal development expert who immediately made an impact with our clients throughout Europe. Everyone who came into contact with Shawntay was immediately impressed by her level of expertise and willingness to share her knowledge with those around her. I would not hesitate to recommend Shawntay to anyone looking for an education subject matter expert.”
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Dave Beeman, CPP
Vice President, Andy Frain Services
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“Working with Shawntay you will immediately notice her professional presence and poise, but over time her tenacious pursuit of excellence and her skills in instructional development and adult learning will really impress you. I worked with her at Mary Kay, and was able to experience firsthand her great rapport with regional partners in Europe, understanding their unique sales force training needs. In addition, Shawntay consistently exhibited grace under pressure, made executive decisions to move business forward. If you are looking for an expert who consistently delivers and goes the extra mile to get things done, contact Shawntay!”
Marketing Director, Academic Partnerships
Quality Products & Solutions!
“I had had the pleasure of knowing and working with Shawntay on more than a few occasions. I found her to be a very good business partner and very committed to delivering a quality product or solution in a timely manner. I have always had a positive experience in partnering with Shawntay and would recommend that you consider leveraging her talent.”
Judy Owen, CPC
Transformational Leadership Coach
“Invest in yourself and take your skills to the next NEXT level!”
Get yourself signed up for Shawntay Skjoldager’s Instructional Design & Tech Accelerator Certificate Program today and be on your way to success! Within the first week of taking her course, you will experience growth! Be sure to plug into her Facebook Q&A sessions for personalized help, too. This is THE course to take if you are new to instructional design or have landed on the training team and need help getting started.
Managing Partner, PHiG
“Her enthusiasm for adult learning is contagious!”
Shawntay has exceptional knowledge and experience with all aspects of creating and implementing effective, performance based training for adults. She is exceptional at needs analysis – identifying target audiences and collaborating with business owners to keep training focused on business needs. And she is great to work with – always providing great support to get projects done on-time and on-target. She is always on the look-out for new and more effective ways to engage learners. Her enthusiasm for adult learning is contagious!
eLearning Developer/Instructional Designer, Vivos Therapeutics
I have known and worked with Shawntay as a education program director and use the expertise of ShawntayMichelle for the development of my presentations. The service has always been “spot on” with professionalism, care and attention. Shawntay’s recommendations to my ideas make me look good to my clients.
Al Lomas CMP, CEM, CMM, CFE
Owner, Certified Consulting Services
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I am new to the training design and development world and I was SO excited to get in there, but I really lacked the real-world knowledge that would set me apart from my peers. And, then Shawntay Skjoldager walked into my life with an outstretched hand and a seemingly endless list of ways to knock every training out of the park. From the Training Analysis Form to the Tay Tay tips, this course made my life so much easier and even ironed out the review process that I had been struggling with for months.
Take time to invest in your own learning and make sure to put Shawntay Michelle at the top of your personal development list!
Training Specialist, LegalShieldCourses