The pick and mix approach to learning content

How to use microlearning successfully in your organisation

Helen Marshall

Helen Marshall Chief Learning Officer

Pick and Mix Approach to Content Curation

Learning new things isn’t a one-stop-shop. It’s a continual process that takes time, and above all effort. Changing our behaviour is also very hard to do and is closely tied to habit formation. Did you know it can take anywhere from 18 to 254 days to form a new habit (or behaviour)? That’s an average of 66 days. It’s not quick, and as anyone who has ever set a New Years resolution will attest to, it’s not easy. This suggests that if you’re looking to make knowledge building a bigger part of your life you’re going to have to work pretty hard at it. That’s where microlearning - or micro content as I’d prefer to call it - comes in.

Now for those of us who have been in the industry a while you’ll know the idea of microlearning isn’t new. In fact, in 2014 it was earmarked as a next big trend - largely fueled by Bersin’s Meet the Modern learner infographic, which has recently been making the rounds again. What’s always a little bit sad is when stuff like this gets re-circulated and people shout “yes, that’s what we need!” And yet here we are nearly 7 years down the line, questioning what’s changed. Well actually, from where we’re standing: quite a lot.

Pick and mix micro content

The main thing I’d draw attention to is how most of the clients we work with here at THRIVE now openly recognise the fact that microlearning - and everything it encompasses, from short pieces of content to just in time resources - are really valuable to their employees. There’s definitely not as much of an uphill battle when trying to convince people that a two minute video used at the right time can have more of an impact than a 45 minute module (yikes!). Which is brilliant.

Content needs to be drip-fed, searchable and relevant in a particular moment. You need to be able to pick and mix options, and try things out. And what’s even more crucial is that content is bitesize and easy to digest. Pairing this with approaches like campaigns, where content delivery is staggered and purposeful, plays on the fact that our attention is being pulled in numerous different directions at once and allows focus to be pulled back in every now and then. 

THRIVE turn up for the challenge

THRIVE always loves to challenge. We’re always listening and responding to what people want and need, and micro content is a huge part of what we live and breathe here. From learning in the flow of work, bitesize resources, to just in time microlearning modules, we’ve had our finger on this pulse for a while. We have a simple philosophy when it comes to our content:

  • It’s to-the-point: nothing goes over ten minutes.
  • Hard hitting and visually gripping: the key messages are clear, impactful and often deal with sensitive subjects.
  • Resource focused: from modules, PDFs, podcasts, animations, and TikToks, we’ve got you covered.

Our content is so successful because we realise we’re just one part of a much bigger picture in organisations, and we know it’s highly unlikely that a single digital experience will ever cover everything you need it to. We’ve heard numerous times that it’s particularly difficult to know exactly how to use catalogue content when it’s just thrown over the fence at you, and that’s why we offer a wrap-around service as part of our Content Club. Aligning content to your strategy is what we’re all about. We also love to think of our microlearning resources as truly sustainable and adaptable to the ever changing landscapes in organisations. 

Think about what you really want from your content. Do you want it to work well alongside other initiatives and fit in as part of your strategy, with support and advice offered along the way? Or do you want someone to simply give you access to a catalogue and off you pop? I know which one I would choose.

Micro content - or microlearning - is where it’s at, and can be weaved around the needs of your business and (maybe more importantly) your employees. And if something changes? No worries, we’ll simply advise you on what you can pick and mix from instead. 

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