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When m-learning and microlearning effectively team up

M-learning: put knowledge on your priority list

And if you are a Learning and Development specialist struggling to come up with an effective training strategy or a Human Resources specialist constantly looking forward to improving the induction and onboarding processes or a member of any team in a company who simply wants to be up-to-date with what happens in your professional field, then you've probably researched the field of learning until now. You've heard about mobile learning, microlearning and other words which are highly related to learning, designed to make the training process easier and more efficient.

There is a multitude of tips & tricks and learning methods which have emerged lately, in an attempt to make the knowledge delivery process more effective and to lead to higher rates of retention. However, they should be carefully selected and added to your specific learning approach in order to fit your company's needs and to fill in some skill gaps.

Among the learning trends which have emerged, there are two that you can combine in order to improve your learning approach: m-learning and microlearning.

Why? Not because we say so, but because of the social and professional changes that have appeared lately in the business world and that further impose some changes in the training programs. But let's take it easy and see how they fit in nowadays contexts.

Why m-learning?

Well, mainly because mobile (learning) is an integrated part of our life, as you already know. If you don't, put your phone aside for one moment and look around you: in the metro, in the shops, at every waiting queue, during lunch breaks and mainly anywhere and anytime.

We are almost as dependent to scroll as we are to sleep and most of us cannot think of managing one day without smartphones. So why not turn this into something productive and use our smartphones as a natural extension for acquiring information? This is exactly what m-learning is about: providing the learners with a method to learn on the go. This is also enhanced by microlearning, but we'll talk about this later on.

Mobile learning gives the knowledge seekers two main advantages: accessibility and control. The former because the learning materials can be checked out anytime and anywhere, which is also a benefit in terms of knowledge retention and the latter because the learners get to set their own pace of acquiring information, adapted to their own learning style.

Giving people control over their learning process should not be a benefit, but rather a must, as this will turn out to be a checked goal for the company, bringing long-term results and increasing the retention and completion rates.

As we've moved to the advantages of m-learning from the company's perspective, it should be mentioned that mobile learning can be the key solution to most of the corporate training needs, from induction and onboarding to soft and technical skills. Also, m-learning is an environment for multi-device support, which empowers the usage of blended learning and which offers a greater flexibility for the learners.

Basically, you do not have to think of ingenious channels of delivering knowledge in order to get to the learners, because this is time consuming and it might get frustrating faster than you think. You already have your channel: it's generously provided by technology and it's called m-learning.

While microlearning?

We've already talked about m-learning and its advantages on a previous article, which you can check out right here. But let's sum it up, to have a clear overview on both methods before seeing why it's efficient to combine them in the learning process.

So, again, why microlearning? Because we live in a world full of distractions and in a time in which attention spans get shorter and shorter every day and, as natural as it may be, it's also alarming and it turns into a big challenge at every level.

How does this look if we employ some numbers? Well, according to the forgetting curve, we forget 80% of what we learn in 30 days in the absence of learning reinforcement. Moreover, according to the 90/20/8 rule, we need interaction every 8 minutes, content needs to be chunked in 20-minute sections and the amount of time in which we can listen and actually internalise information is 90 minutes.

Of course, you can deliver knowledge without taking into account these statistics, but only if you try to learn your tech people how to build houses and you're pretty sure that they'll never build houses. Otherwise, if you want to provide them with information and skills which are mandatory for their jobs, you must take into account the statistics and adapt the learning process to them.

But don't worry, microlearning can help you deal with these challenging facts because it's specifically designed to deliver knowledge in a format in which the attention span is taken into account. Basically, you deliver chunks of information, which are easy to internalise and are action-oriented, encouraging your employees to constantly practice what they are learning.

Moreover, you design these pieces of content in order to meet a specific learning outcome which you find primordial to your business and to your learning strategy and you do this while offsetting the challenges of distractions and short attention spans.

Let's team them up now. Because everything works better in a collaborative environment, right? So, a combination of mobile learning and microlearning gives you the two main things you need while acquiring information: the format (bite-sized pieces of information, easy to internalise and to retain) and the channel (smartphones, the wonder of our century :D).

They offer a better learning experience and they can be empowered by the right interactive methods, such as gamification, interactive videos, animations, infographics to summarise key-concepts, branching scenarios to simulate real situations is a safe environment.

This way, they provide learning as a continuum and they keep reinforcing learning after a corporate training, while offering your teams personalised learning and leading to higher completion cycles.

Some (final) thoughts

Also, you might want to know that you should employ them in a thoroughly planned process: define learning goals, craft the learning path and then adapt it according to the insights you get from the analytics tools. Briefly, microlearning and m-learning light up your 🧠 and boost the outcome of your learning process.

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