Effective employee training has a ripple effect. Not only does it help employees grow in their position and career, it also creates engaging learning experiences and better retention of knowledge. Skilled employees are better equipped to do their jobs well which translates into higher employee productivity and engagement, ultimately benefiting the organization at large.
Microlearning is the latest trend in corporate training that has seen quite some success. It has helped several organizations across the globe to create focused learning activities that drive behavioral change as opposed to traditional classroom training. However, microlearning also needs careful implementation.
Every organization differs in terms of products, people, and work environments. To make sure that microlearning works as a training strategy, it needs to be seen if your organization is a good fit. Apart from this, several other initiatives need to be taken in order to ensure that microlearning works for your organization. Let’s look at each of them in detail:
1. Communication with employees
Training happens for employees which is why they need to be interested in it. To keep employees excited, they need to be involved in every stage of the learning cycle so that they know exactly what’s going on. It starts by engaging the employees before the training starts to even after it ends.
Before the training, learners need to be asked about what they want to learn and told about the scope of the training that is going to take place. For example, learners can be asked about what areas they might want more information on. This can be done through a microlearning tool such as an interactive quiz or a quick survey.
Through microlearning, learners can also be given an idea of what the training is going to be like, how it will be beneficial to them and why it is necessary. This will not only keep them informed about what is coming their way but also motivate them to do well and look forward to the training. This can also help organizations identify knowledge gaps and situate the training in a way that fills those gaps.
Such a pre-training engagement can be done through videos, diagnostic quizzes, infographics, short video messages from leaders and other types of creative microcontent. For example, in case of a new product training, there can be clear pre-training communication on the new direction the company is heading into, the scope of the new launch and how it will impact the brand and the employees. Such engagement will also make employees feel like they are important. Open and straightforward communication about what’s coming up can keep learners excited and well informed in advance.
2. Keeping leaders involved
Leaders are the second biggest stakeholders in training (after employees) as they play a very big role in developing a learning culture in organizations. These are the people who can drive behavioral change in employees, as their attitude can determine the culture of the organization. Employees also look up to their senior leaders for motivation and support, which is why leaders need to participate in providing that. There needs to be some sort of visible and genuine enthusiasm from the leaders and supervisors from time to time. After all, leaders are the people who have to enforce the training initiatives and get the learning culture integrated into the workplace.
It starts with making leaders participate at each level of the training program. Leaders should be involved right from the strategy phase. Their feedback should be taken at various levels and incorporated into the microlearning programs. Leaders should encourage employees to pick up new skills and recognize the efforts of employees who do well in the training. This will create motivation for other employees who are lagging behind.
Leaders should also ask for feedback from employees to make them feel like their opinion matters. Leaders also need to ensure those clear standards are set for everyone. The steps and processes for each stage should be clearly set out. Managers should be made aware of their roles and responsibilities as well as held accountable for outcomes. Most importantly, leaders need to be accessible and approachable, so that employees are willing to go to them in case of any need.
3. Tracking and monitoring progress
Once training is successfully deployed, it cannot be abandoned. In order to measure whether the training has been understood and will be applied on the job, understanding the behavioral change in employees is crucial. This is possible through monitoring and tracking performance and participation of employees throughout various stages of the learning cycle. Learning technology should be used to analyze trends such as participation rates, understanding of concepts, scores etc. at individual and cumulative levels.
Data analytics can help L&D experts understand and pinpoint what is working and what needs more planning. This helps to understand and explore areas for improvement in the microlearning program. The impact of the training also needs to be frequent. Every step of the training process needs to be examined and re-examined to witness trends within it. Conducting assessments after each training program could be one way of figuring out exactly how much knowledge employees have actually been able to grasp and apply on the job.
4. Keeping technology updated
Deploying microlearning effectively is deploying technological tools to achieve the same. Since it’s technology, issues are bound to arise. The biggest error could be to not resolve these issues as and when they crop up. Learning teams need to ensure that all devices are technology enabled and that employees have mobile devices that have the features compatible with the technology hosting microlearning. Integration of features into existing devices and ensuring that they work without fail is necessary as too many interruptions can lead to a dip in employee motivation levels.
Technological blockages need to be cleared up for microlearning initiatives to be hindrance free. Be it issues related to activation of the training or its smooth functioning on mobile devices in all its formats, technology teams have to ensure that experiencing the training is as user-friendly and hiccup-free as possible. So make sure there is strong tech support to resolve technical issues at any time required. At advanced stages, training can also be integrated with other in-house systems and applications. For example, microlearning can be integrated with performance management tools to drive employee progress and motivation.
Providing employees with learning and career development content is great, but it needs a lot of careful thought for successful implementation. The above four areas, if carefully considered and taken care of can help implement microlearning in your organization correctly. Integrating the people, the processes, and The technology effectively can help organizations achieve the results they have been looking for.