Microlearning is the hottest talent development trend as organizations become increasingly distributed, and as demographic shifts bring tech-savvy employees into the workplace. We all feel the pressure to make things shorter, faster, and more accessible, at the moment of need, on any mobile device. Successful leadership development strategies include microlearning elements based on sound cognitive principles.
Here are six brain-based learning principles to ensure that the microlearning elements you include in a virtual leadership development program contribute to short-term engagement and long-term retention.
Prime the Pump:
To prepare your managers to participate eagerly and actively in a collaborative online session, you must Prime the Pump. That old-fashioned pump required the user to vigorously pump the handle and drive the air out of the pipe so the water could flow. Use microlearning before a web workshop to prepare participants to actively engage with their colleagues in the virtual training session. Short video testimonials from past participants may pique their interest. A compelling case example may get them thinking. A simple infographic can introduce new terms and goals.
Active Engagement = Active Brains:
One of the least effective ways to incorporate microlearning is to leave learners in passive observation mode, viewing a two-minute video that has little relevance to their work and no call to action. That video should be directly tied to a practical action that a manager must take as a result of watching. It should require active engagement, not passive observation.
Vision Trumps All Other Senses:
With a head nod to
(John Medina), this principle reminds us that microlearning must be visually compelling. Rich graphics, animation, and appropriate use of text on the screen contribute to memorable learning nuggets.
Social Learning Fires Mirror Neurons:
To develop interpersonal and leadership skills, people need to relate to one another in a collaborative, social experience. As we watch others on video, hear their struggle and triumph stories, and solve tough problems together, our brains fire mirror neurons allowing us to empathize and connect with our colleagues. Blend microlearning experiences with social collaboration for the deepest learning.
Chunk it Down:
Microlearning elements may be as short as 1 - 2 minutes or as long as 3 - 4 minutes. Research consistently demonstrates that our attention begins to wane after about seven minutes. In a virtual training session, we can change topics every 15 - 20 minutes as long as learners interact every 2 - 3 minutes to stay engaged. With the proliferation of media on mobile devices, our attention spans are getting shorter. Don't try to do too much in one microlearning element. Design microlearning to meet one learning objective per element, with a specific call to action.
Mix it Up:
As we design and deliver blended learning journeys, we must add creativity and variety to the mix. Microlearning elements may include inspirational videos, polling questions, stimulating discussion questions, animated videos, succinct ebooks mixed with opportunities to collaborate with colleagues. The elements of surprise and humor keep learners on their virtual toes.
To learn how organizations like yours are developing their digital leaders to manage across geographic distance, join us for our next complimentary webinar Rocking the Digital Workplace: Leading High Impact Virtual Teams on Wednesday, November 14, 1:00 pm ET / 10:00 am PT.