Microlearning was the buzzword of 2016 in HR and training circles, and it’s trending for good reason. Not only is microlearning in high demand, but it can also successfully supplement long-form training.

Seventy-four percent of today’s hourly workforce values a mobile, connected, flexible and predictable environment to work in. Ninety-four percent say they want small, bite-sized training that is customized to meet their needs: on-demand and informal.

They’re already consuming this type of content, too. If you’re a Facebook user, for example, you may have seen Buzzfeed’s “Tasty” videos. These quick how-to cooking videos have taken over newsfeeds, racking up the views and creating a loyal, engaged audience in the process.

How did an informative video grow its views from one to 30 million, going viral with just a few tweaks? A laser focus on content and fast-motion edits kept the video well under five minutes, and learners didn’t require sound to absorb instruction. The new format appealed to viewers because of its visual approachability and time flexibility. You can save the video to watch at a later date or use it on-the-fly, when you’re in the kitchen and need to see exactly how, for instance, to butterfly a chicken.

To successfully add microlearning to your organization’s training program, here are a few things to keep in mind:

  • Keep videos short – two minutes or less.
  • Cut to the chase and dump the introduction.
  • Don’t deviate from the subject.
  • Don’t leave out other forms of content. Microlearning can include games, videos, infographics or even quizzes.
  • Follow up with your team: When did they watch it? Did it help? Was it sufficient to learn the material?
  • Ultimately, after digesting the content, you want the learner to be able to answer “yes” to this question: Can I immediately perform that skill?

There’s a misconception that great training has to be an expensive production. With microlearning, that notion couldn’t be farther from the truth. With a few tools your team can inexpensively add to your toolbox, you can create powerful and effective microlearning videos!

Your Smartphone: In its simplest form, you can create microlearning by pulling out your mobile phone and hitting the “record” button. On Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, you probably have friends who share videos every day that they’ve created themselves, from a montage of their cat waking up from a nap to their epic dive out of a plane 30,000 feet in the air – all from their smartphones.

A Decent Microphone: Find a microphone that can plug into the headphone jack of your camera, whether it’s an SLR (single-lens reflex camera) or a smartphone. For beginning video creators, the Samson Go Mic offers an inexpensive microphone great for a restaurant on a budget. If you’re looking to go a little fancier, the Blue Yeti Microphone is the most popular seller on Amazon.

A Steady Hand and Camera Grip: Let’s say you eschew a camera in favor of using your phone or tablet. How are you going to keep it steady? You’ll need a device-ready attachment, like the Glif or Anycase, to hold it up during long takes.

A Simple Video-Editing Tool: Every video won’t be perfect. You’ll need some editing tools to make your training masterpiece look like an award-winner. There are plenty of tools that don’t cost a dime. iMovie and Photobooth come with your MacBook, and there are plenty of editing tools on Linux to keep you occupied. If you’re looking for paid options, HotSchedules’ video expert recommends TechSmith Camtasia.

Ultimately, an effective online training program keeps everyone in the organization – from new hires to your most tenured employees – engaged in continuous learning. Microlearning content might just be the right mix of engaging and effective for the modern workforce.

As long as it’s under five minutes, it’s focused and it acts as supplemental content, it should be engaging and effective – good for your business, your workforce and your customers.

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