Development Happening at Grovo Microlearning

3 Steps to Creating a Microlearning Strategy: Dallas Lunch & (Micro)Learn Highlights

Last week, I had the privilege of hosting a Microlearning® strategy session for local L&D practitioners in Dallas. At the event, I interviewed Jayson Maxwell from Six Flags about his success in identifying and deploying a Microlearning® strategy to solve for his company’s compliance and regulatory training needs. We had a full house, nearly 40 professionals representing multiple companies and industries, and were able to identify many practical approaches for making Microlearning® strategies successful.

For those of you who missed the event, here’s an overview of my three-step Microlearning® strategy and the key learnings from our discussion.

A Microlearning® Strategy in 3 Steps

Step 1: Start Small

Every learning strategy begins by spotting behaviors that help or hurt your company’s goals. Jayson from Six Flags desired to overhaul the onboarding experience for new hires, making it more impactful and engaging. He set his sights on compliance training for new hires. His goal was to apply a Microlearning® strategy by whittling down its required portions. To do this, he weeded out presentations that mostly “talked at” the participants and focused only on the compliance areas with the broadest impact.

Step 2: Stay Focused

An effective L&D solution will target the behavior you identified in Step 1. Just be mindful of competing priorities; dividing your focus may weaken the impact of your initiative. Now is not the time to revise the company intranet and update the onboarding curriculum just for the sake of it. Staying focused on his Microlearning® strategy, Jayson shifted the majority of compliance training out of the onboarding flow to online learning. Further, the engagement of park-level trainers and managers was a big part of making this program successful. Sitting closely with employees, these park-level trainers and managers supported the in-action Microlearning® strategy, driving up engagement and connecting the learning to employee Individual Development Plans (IDPs). They saw a 50% return rate for each lesson assigned: half of employees who completed a required lesson would then choose to browse Grovo’s Library and complete additional, unassigned lessons.

Step 3: Make it Stick

Surround new learning with context, application points, and opportunities for transfer. By increasing the stickiness of your learning strategy, you will change employee behavior and promote a learning culture in your organization. Jayson sought to make new training relevant to each employee by identifying the ways it would support their careers, helping them understand their impact, and tying all learning back to the company’s talent development process. Further, the trainers and managers added depth and context to the learning experience because they were right there alongside the employees.

Key learnings from the event

  • Keep it real. The modalities you choose to convey your learning strategy should be varied (to generate those positive learning emotions), but should ultimately be authentic to your organizational culture . Some companies prioritize expertly crafted videos, while others may be satisfied with webcam shots that convey a more intimate and personal connection to the topic.
  • Build trust with every click. In virtual learning, you have limited options to build trust with your learners. Think of every “click” as a part of a larger trust contract you are building with your learners.  Learners click, then determine whether they got what we said they would get. They then choose to click again or, alternatively,  stop clicking altogether. The trust contract is a fragile construct in the virtual learning world. Keep it in mind as you build and deploy your Microlearning® strategy.  
  • Don’t over-architect. As L&D practitioners, we love to craft a great learning solution. But oftentimes that leads to over-architecting – which can cloud the initial intent of training. Remember Step 2 – and stay focused on your initial strategy that targets that single, concrete goal.
  • Make the business case early. And often. You should solidify your business case in Step 1. Moving to strategy deployment without validating its connection to business goals and inextricably aligning it to your company’s priorities is a recipe for disaster. Make the case clearly and concisely, then keep making it to rally others to your cause.
  • Don’t underestimate compliance. Chances are that despite your industry or company size, one of your primary learning objectives is to develop and implement compliance training. However, as L&D practitioners, we often emphasize the “get it done” portion of compliance training and overlook the possibilities of revamping this critical initiative . Jayson applied a Microlearning® strategy to his company’s compliance needs. He called this the “Stop Talking” approach – and used it as a barometer to determine whether a training should be included or excluded in onboarding. If a training was included only to accommodate someone “talking at new hires for 30 minutes,” he shifted it elsewhere. By starting with compliance, he was able to win over employees quickly by surprising them with well-crafted content that would naturally encourage curiosity to check out other learning in the Grovo library.
Future of Learning Microlearning

Does Your 2018 Learning Strategy Include Microlearning? If Not, It Should

When I joined Grovo as CEO last year, I mentioned how excited I was to see L&D getting its day in the sun after years of waiting. I mean, the #1 competitive advantage for any organization is being able to recruit, develop and retain the best people. Teams and organizations that effectively do so have a greater chance of success, regardless of size or industry. That success creates a network effect, drawing more, similarly stellar people who want to join and be part of that growth opportunity. When teams aggregate a critical mass of great people, they become difficult to compete against.

That’s why the role of Learning & Development has become more strategic – and integral – than ever before. And despite the ongoing complexity of solving for people-related development, there is now an array of technology products and services that have a significant business impact on the L&D landscape.

This recent overview by ATD does a terrific job of highlighting the “Tech Trends That Will Change Learning in 2018” with microlearning explicitly identified as a critical component of every organization’s learning strategy. The point is: if you want to make learning a business priority in 2018, and you aren’t thinking about employing microlearning, then you are missing a fundamental aspect of your plan.

Microlearning can no longer be seen as a “fad.” It’s not just a generic term for “short bursts of content” that is “delivered at the time of need.” Rather, microlearning is a methodology and modern approach to learning that is more effective with the way we work today.

So, then, what is “microlearning”? The way we think of it at Grovo is straightforward to describe and difficult to do well. An effective microlearning strategy has 3 key components:

    • Single concept lessons that convey, you guessed it, just one concept at a time and therefore have have the best chance of sticking. The ability to deep-dive into just one topic actually enhances retention and improves recall;
    • Learning in context, or learning that is integrated into an employee’s workflow. Not only does this increase engagement, it also increases an employee’s ability to transfer knowledge to new, different, and more complex scenarios; and
    • Mixed media lessons – whether audio, video, graphics, or text – which improves engagement by enticing employees to keep clicking. This experience elicits positive learning emotions (curiosity, delight, engagement, and flow), which increases the employee’s commitment to learning.

There’s so much opportunity to help people excel and thrive in their jobs. It’s gratifying to be building products and services at a time when the need is so acute and the business case so evident. That’s why I am so excited for the entire L&D category in 2018 and for Grovo’s approach to making learning better, more applicable, and more effective for employees and their businesses alike.

Interested in sampling some Microlearning® lessons to see why they should be a component of your learning strategy? Check out Grovo Explore.

Learn Better Microlearning

How One Simple Sentence Can Transform Your Microlearning Lessons

I’m a sucker for adages. If you tell me a short, pithy, memorable quote, I’ll probably believe it blindly. And I bet I’m not alone. Think about it: how many times a day do you say or hear phrases like, “Better late than never,” “When in Rome, do as the Romans,” “If it ain’t broke don’t fix it,” or one of my favorites, “Too many cooks spoil the broth.”

There’s something comforting about these short, pithy sentences. They’re easy to remember, widely applicable, and somehow they just sound true. Which is why writers are always chasing after them. In his essay, “The Short Sentence as Gospel Truth,” Roy Peter Clark urges writers: “Express your most powerful thought in the shortest sentence.” In other words: Think long, write short.

Why does this matter for Microlearning®?

What does the ability to express a powerful thought in a short sentence have to do with creating effective Microlearning? In a word, everything. (more…)