What do many people turn to when they need to know how to do something right now? YouTube videos, of course! This method of building engagement through small snippets of video content is a powerful means to improve learning’s effectiveness. Not only does this strategy ensure that learners stick around until the end of the video (because of its short duration), it also increases knowledge transfer and retention.
This is a classic example of the use of video in microlearning.
Microlearning employs small bite-sized chunks of information that typically focus on a single item, topic, subject, or skill. What makes microcontent (including videos) unique is that it not only deconstructs the subject matter into smaller, more easily understood chunks, but trainers are then able to stitch together multiple micromodules to create larger and more seamless training programmes.
How do companies make use of YouTube-like microcontent? Two common uses include:
1. Employees use them to learn in the flow of work: When there’s a challenging task that employees are stuck on, they can consult the archive of microcontent for help. This means they learn without breaking their workflow – no need to schedule a course or join a lengthy training session.
2. Ideal for just-in-time training: Some tasks at work aren’t frequently used on the job. All the employee is looking for is a 5-minute “helping hand” to do it – and then they’ll likely be self-sufficient to continue on their own. Example: How do you compare two 400-page reports in Microsoft Word and highlight differences in them? Not something one does daily – but nice to learn it just when you need it!
Other uses of microlearning include weaving them into broader corporate training content, making them available as Performance Support Tools (PSTs), and using them as supplemental or optional training materials. Microlearning content, such as limited-duration videos, may also be used to deliver refresher training.
Once implemented, microlearning strategies using video yield several benefits. Some of the key benefits of videos as microlearning include:
1. Quick delivery: A typical microlearning module spans 8-12 minutes. This makes it ideal for corporate and retail training delivery without imposing upon work or personal schedules.
2. Direct and to-the-point: Due to the “jump right in” nature of how microlearning is structured, learners typically hone right into the topics or skills they need to learn.
3. Cost-effective: Producing and maintaining courses built around small-footprint microlearning content is more cost-effective (and convenient) than creating and launching massive full-blown online training programmes.
4. Stronger engagement: By including elements of interactivity and hosting microlearning on social platforms – which are ideal for light form-factor content – microlearning encourages better engagement between learners and with learning content.
5. Increased retention: Because of how our brains work and our limited attention spans, learners are better at retaining material delivered in micro-chunks.
6. Ease of accessibility: Short video content is easily accessed via mobile or tablet device. You don’t need big computing power to process this type of learning content.
The bottom-line benefit of microlearning is that it induces greater understanding and absorption of new concepts and skills in comparison to full-featured learning content. As a result, there’s better transference of learned knowledge into the workforce, which then yields better performance improvements.
As noted previously, because we learn better when seeing, watching, and observing, video-based microlearning is a preferred way of consuming learning content. Here are some reasons why video-based microlearning is popular:
1. Familiar delivery method for many learners: As the old saying goes, “Familiarity breeds endearment.” Locating, accessing, and consuming videos is easy and requires no special skills. And that makes learners gravitate toward short-form videos.
2. Topics and skills that are best learned by seeing: Our brains are wired to better learn by seeing than by reading or listening. Microlearning videos tap into the physiology of our brains.
3. Ideal for limited-focus learning: Microlearning videos don’t demand extensive focus, which makes them a popular training medium of choice, especially for busy professionals.
Additionally, because they are simpler to produce and easier to host/launch, micro video learning is a highly effective strategy to include as part of any corporate learning programme.
Like any video-based learning programme, micro video-based learning requires a cohesive strategy. And the best way to implement such a strategy is through a Learning Experience platform like Engage. Here’s how to put video microlearning into practice by building a library of curated content on the Engage platform:
1. Subject matter experts (SMEs) can provide content and video themselves: Rather than piecing together video content yourself, work with experts in the field. Get SMEs to create small-footprint video content on topics of interest related to your courses.
2. Curate playlists of relevant videos: Microlearning links smaller snippets of video content and weaves them together to deliver larger learning objectives. Build playlists in Engage, much like a lesson plan, to produce entire video-based learning modules.
3. Improve searches for specific topics: The advantage of using a platform like Engage, as opposed to hosting video learning across random services without a plan, is that platforms like Engage make it easy for learners to seek and find video content of interest.
4. Encourage collaboration and social interaction with the content: Engaged learners are likely to consume more of your micro videos than those who aren’t engaged. Using a platform like Engage helps video producers, trainers, and consumers collaborate and interact with each other through the content, driving greater interest and engagement.
Microlearning, backed by a broader video learning strategy, delivers a better return on investment to learning content producers. By building a curated collection of microlearning through platforms like Engage, companies and individual microlearning content producers are guaranteed better availability and acceptance of their learning programmes.