In a world where business moves at a blistering clip, your learning programs must keep pace.

“Far and away, the number one issue that learning leaders have is the pace of change,” says Carolyn Peer, CEO, Humaxa and former manager of learning solutions for ADP. “If we take six months to build a very complex e-learning, the world would be drastically different in six months. That course, no matter how good it is, will be irrelevant.”

Unfortunately, internal roadblocks can complicate the e-learning development process.

Quality learning content can require input from multiple subject matter experts (SMEs), as well as approvals from various stakeholders. But everyone’s busy, and priorities are juggled. So, while certain components in a comprehensive e-learning course may be progressing smoothly, other components may be delayed waiting for approvals, technical details or content that’s not yet available. This impacts the ability to complete a comprehensive course within a reasonable timeline.

Mandi Soderlund, CPTM, e-learning manager at Great Clips University, says, “As a project manager, even just getting subject matter expert time to weigh in on courses and review courses can really be challenging because everybody’s busy; everybody’s doing four, five, six jobs in one day.” As a result, valuable learning content, tools and experiences sit on servers instead of getting in the hands of learners, where they could be positively impacting performance.

Meanwhile, the need for speed grows increasingly urgent. “I think the biggest challenge is time,” says Judi Bader, CPTM, senior director of learning at Arby’s. “There’s so much competitive energy out there and … you want to be the first one to market to really get that recognition from the consumer. So for us, what may have taken us 12 or 16 weeks to deliver to the restaurants, now we’re charged with, ‘OK, can we do this in six weeks?’”

I believe you can.

The Solution: Microlearning

Today, organizations can design and develop valuable learning content and experiences faster than ever, while working around roadblocks in the process. Microlearning enables you to develop smaller, bite-sized experiences that learners can digest in minutes. You can develop these learning morsels using an agile approach that requires less time for SMEs and stakeholders to review, enabling you to distribute the learning and impact performance sooner.

In the past, if you needed training for a new product, you’d develop a comprehensive course. The course might include multiple five-minute modules and an assessment. When you add up the time to log in to the LMS, complete the course and take an assessment, the learner would have to invest an hour. And, while the time to develop the course might be 10 to 12 weeks, the additional time required for SME input and stakeholder approval can turn the timeline into six to eight months.

As an alternative, organizations can develop and distribute microlearning experiences with an engaged SME and a streamlined approval process in three weeks. For instance, you can produce a video demonstration of a new product’s features and distribute it to the field while you’re still developing a case study of a customer using the new product and an interactive sales tool to assess a prospective customer’s need for the product.

The video demonstration can start educating the sales force and impacting performance even without the case studies and interactive sales tool. You can also receive input and feedback from the sales team about the video demonstration that you can then share with their peers and use to make revisions to the video, if needed. Once distributed, you can compile microlearning components into a comprehensive course launched from a LMS with an assessment. Meanwhile, you have already deployed an arsenal of small, manageable microlearning assets.

As Soderlund says, “With microlearning, by going with short video segments or giving them digestible information, I really think that you have an opportunity to focus your message.”

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