In the age of speed, internet and accessibility people are very careful about their time. And while learning is something universally deemed useful and bettering, very long sessions will feel prohibitive to a large portion of your audience. This, combined with an ever-decreasing attention span, leads to a growing need for educational material to be short, engaging and, most of all, relevant.
Microlearning might not be what you had in mind when you decided to become an e-learning entrepreneur but it’s something you ought to consider.
It’s like in the case of bakeries – big, intricate wedding and anniversary cakes may be spectacular and bring good money with one sale but there is a lot to be said about packaging individual slices, not to mention cookies and cupcakes.
4 Ways to create meaningful microlearning
Without further ado, here are a few ideas on how to create meaningful microlearning modules for your course buyers.
Employ authoring tools
The most obvious way to start creating micro e-learning content is to use one of these tools to help with the design process. In bakery terms, it would mean filling pre-existing molds.
Authoring tools are obviously more complex, having already established templates, themes, pictures, and cut-out characters that are appropriate for setting up bite-size e-learning modules. If you don’t already have such a tool, there are a lot of vendors offering free trials so you can find out which is best suited for your needs.
It’s a good idea to also check out customer reviews for things you might not notice during the demo. Your learning management system (LMS) can help with content authoring as well. Also, note that micro-learning can also come in the form of a short video or podcast.
Develop situationally relevant material
As any marketer can tell, it’s paramount to be constantly focused on customer needs and demand. Microlearning gives you the possibility to create on-the-spot online learning modules focusing on whatever topic or challenges are trending in your target audience at a certain point.
If we look at the current context, for example, there is less of a need for information on culturally-immersing exotic travel and more of a call for modules that teach people how to organize themselves when working from home, dealing with anxiety or mastering skills they have wanted to acquire for some time.
By being present with a product when it is in highest demand you make sure that your learning design endeavors will be successful – just like bakers with a fresh-out-of-the-oven muffin that goes perfectly with morning coffee.
Harness the potential of video
As I have mentioned earlier, there are more ways of doing online microlearning. People are watching increasingly more filmed materials online. Zenith’s online video forecast shows that the average person will spend 100 minutes each day watching online video in 2021, up from 84 minutes this year.
And you want them to be watching your video content, so it is time to figure out what are the subjects of the day and make some quality, engaging and informative videos to put out there.
If you are worried about not being a skilled filmmaker, just hit Google search – there are a number of free or reasonably priced apps that will help you produce good video content. You can also check out my tips on how to film for online learning:
Read more: 9+1 Tips for making a video for your course
Remember that the ‘micro’ in microlearning refers to brevity. Cover only one subject and do it concisely.
Use powerful images and infographics
Information is remembered a lot better when it is linked with a good visual aid. Since your aim is to keep modules short yet convey as much knowledge as possible, it’s very important to employ more than just words and numbers.
Especially when there are a lot of these in your presentation, it’s a good idea to use infographics. These can easily convert an otherwise confusing enumeration of facts and figures into a visual representation that is easy to follow and understand. Infographics can be made up of a collection of images, charts, diagrams, graphs, and even visual metaphors.
Once more, if you are not an infographic pro, there are several apps that provide you with great templates to start from. Just make sure you put in just as much information as can be swallowed in one bite – don’t overcrowd the screen with non-relevant items.
Even if your long-term goal is to create and sell comprehensive online courses on the subjects that are important to you, it’s important you don’t overlook the growing appetite that audiences have for microlearning. If you want them to buy your intricate and delicious four layered cake, you’ll have to convince them with a taste of a skillfully made slice first.
Raluca Cristescu has over ten years of experience in corporate training, focused mainly on soft skills for customer service and direct sales.