Learning and development (L&D) professionals are constantly on the lookout for new approaches to engage learners and cement learning. A dynamic new approach to digital learning moves the focus beyond presenting new information and takes a long-term view, adding a knowledge retention campaign that dramatically improves eLearning effectiveness.

Blending what Neovation calls Agile Microlearning with conventional eLearning creates a solution that is much greater than the sum of its parts. “The minute you add microlearning, there’s a different kind of engagement,” said Susan Hurrell, the company’s inbound marketing director. “It’s not sitting in front of a computer for half an hour; it’s on the fly, on the go, for a few minutes here and there.”

This approach offers a new take on an old problem—creating comprehensive, engaging, and effective training for modern digital learners. “A success factor perhaps unique to blended learning efforts is managing the interaction of content and learners—that is, assembling the components into a complete learning experience in an intentional, cohesive way. This is particularly important to L&D practitioners in this new era of digital learning, in which small, often disparate elements from a variety of sources are used to create a complete experience,” Jane Bozarth wrote in a recent eLearning Guild research report, Research Essentials.

Rather than pulling together disparate elements that include face-to-face training and eLearning, as in a conventional blended learning experience, Hurrell’s solution is all digital. Once learners have completed an eLearning course, an in-the-workflow, microlearning-based knowledge retention campaign ensures that they remember what they’ve learned, indefinitely.

Create an integrated solution

Adding Agile Microlearning to an LMS-based training program “gives you much more rapid feedback, based on an understanding of what the learner does know and what they don’t know,” Hurrell said. This adds up to an integrated training strategy that teaches new information and skills, reinforces that training while filling any gaps in learners’ knowledge, and supports learning transfer in the workflow.

An effective training program:

  • Aligns learning goals and outcomes with the needs of both the organization and the learners
  • Is both adaptive and personalized, to address both the needs of learners who have both different levels of knowledge coming into training, and different needs for mastery and competence at the completion of training
  • Is easy for L&D teams to create, administer, and maintain
  • Meets the needs of adult learners, who are largely self-directed and expect on-demand and workflow solutions

OttoLearn®, Neovation’s Agile Microlearning solution, does all of this and more. It offers “personalized training without all the overhead,” Hurrell said. The platform, which can be an extension of conventional eLearning or a standalone training solution, delivers continuous microlearning. This eliminates the need to create annual training, enroll learners, and chase them to ensure that they complete their training. “Learners are continually learning, continually being challenged,” she said.

Agile microlearning is adaptive, which means that each learner gets different content, targeted to their weak spots. Zooming out to a team- or cohort view, OttoLearn helps L&D professionals and learners’ managers “get a broader overview of where the gaps are in their learner base—and then they can beef up their content accordingly,” Hurrell said.

Combined with the ability to add more activities and deploy them immediately, while fading out content that learners have mastered—or that is incorrect or outdated—OttoLearn significantly reduces the administrative burden of maintaining training while improving its effectiveness.

Adult learners expect a lot from training: “Don’t waste my time. Don’t make me crazy. Don’t bore me. And make it fun,” Hurrell said. “As an adult learner, I hate having to read things that I already know to try to find the one little thing that I might have missed or misunderstood,” she said. OttoLearn “tells me exactly what I don’t know and allows me to learn about it.” It’s available on any device, at any time, so “learners don’t have to make time” to train but can practice whenever they want.

Agile Microlearning is attractive to adult learners because it creates a more “conversational” training dynamic than conventional eLearning with “the learner sitting there and clicking through content,” Hurrell said. “It’s much more engaging; it solves that knowledge gap much more quickly—and it makes it much more of a game than a chore.”

Understanding effective training

Agile Microlearning can be a key element of an effective, comprehensive training strategy. Learn more about the components of effective eLearning in Research Essentials, a research report from The eLearning Guild. In it, Bozarth examines research on microlearning, along with 10 other concepts or approaches to creating effective eLearning.