Microlearning delivers training content to employees in bite-sized chunks - usually for between 3-5 minutes. That's the attention span of viewers on platforms like YouTube. Matching that should improve learning engagement and knowledge retention. The micro format is also better suited for mobile devices and curation on learning experience platforms.
However, does microlearning work for training staff on corporate compliance? We think yes and look at some strategies that make it work.
The concept of microlearning
The e-learning sector, just like any other sector, goes through fads and cycles. Ideas can arise off the back of popular sentiment and fade away just as quickly.
Microlearning isn’t one of those fads.
The “forgetting curve” is a concept coined by Herman Ebbinghaus that describes the rate at which we forget things we’ve learnt over time. The more time that passes, the more we forget. And according to Ebbinghaus’s theory, we forget more than 80 percent of what we learnt 30 days ago.
Ebbinghaus also argued that our ability to retain information decays very quickly at first, and then more slowly as time passes. So after just one hour, most people forget about half of all the material they learn. That’s a scary thought!
This is why supplementing training with microlearning can be so powerful. Microlearning can halt the progression of the “forgetting curve”, helping employees remember more of what they’ve learnt.
Ideally, you want a compliance programme that incorporates a steady stream of education throughout the year to reinforce key compliance concepts in-between annual training and minimise knowledge gaps.
There are many engaging and compelling microlearning formats we can invest in to help supplement our annual compliance training. Most are suitable for all types of devices and can be made accessible for everyone.
Here are some of the ways you could include microlearning in your compliance training.
1. Mobile apps
Mobile apps are becoming increasingly common in the distribution of compliance content. Apps make it easy for employees to access compliance content anytime, anywhere. They can be “gamified”, meaning employees can top-up their learning using quick-fire games on their mobiles.
For new regulations like the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), mobile apps can prove especially useful as people get to grips with what they mean for them in their role.
2. Short videos
Short videos are another popular way of using microlearning. They can be used to construct visual scenarios where learners must then answer follow-up questions. Or they can be used to give an overview of something, with a focus on doing it the right way, with real people or animations all helping staff visualise the appropriate action.
3. Interactive videos
Interactive videos go one step further. Remember when you were first learning to drive and you took a Hazard Perception Test? Just like DVLA use computer-generated graphics to test a person’s ability to detect developing situations that would require them to take action, organisations can do the same to test how people would act in certain scenarios.
There are a number of procedures your staff have to follow when completing a task; rules which are in place to keep your staff and customers safe. Interactive videos allow employees to explore the steps and skills involved in a compliant environment, while they get a sense of the consequences of their actions.
4. Kinetic text-based animations
Kinetic text-based animations are training tools often used in courses that involve primary learning. Here the text is animated so as to make it appear more engaging and easy to follow. Kinetic text animations are perfect for e-learning courses that make use of storyboards to explain concepts. The format is also useful for presenting concepts that are difficult to explain using pictures, helping to keep the text interesting and the viewer’s attention firmly on the screen.
5. Serious games, including quizzes
Serious games have been proven to drive behavioural change and improve knowledge retention. A quiz is just one example of a kind of a serious game, and can be a great asset to support compliance e-learning. Most people love a quiz. They make people think and add an element of competition, which drives up motivation levels.
At an event held in London earlier this year, Simon Truckle talked about how the real benefit of quizzes is how easy it is to track an employee’s progress. You can hear what Simon had to say in the video below.
Infographics are great for presenting a lot of information but in a way that captures the learner’s attention and is easy to digest. Infographics are an excellent asset to provide training overviews of information on a particular topic, such as anti-bribery practices to follow, through the use of minimal text and appealing visuals.
You can also use infographics to communicate your company’s policy on anything from GDPR to using social media responsibly. Placing these around the office can act as a trigger, helping to remind people of the importance of following policies on a day-to-day basis.
7. Cause-and-effect case studies
To really safeguard your company, your staff need to not only understand the rules and regulations, but also to understand the significance of them and why they are in place. If people understand how violations can compromise the safety of others or the company’s ability to succeed, they are more likely to take them on board.
This is why cause-and-effect case studies can be a great addition to your training library. It gives people an opportunity to see how even minor failings can have far-reaching consequences.
8. Checklists, tips, factsheets, and posters
Checklists, tips, factsheets, and even eBooks, can serve as great takeaways from any compliance e-learning course. It’s also a good idea to use these formats to make policies and procedures visible in the everyday working environment, with posters stuck on the wall for example.
Things to consider when developing microlearning modules
All of these formats can be great assets to supplement annual compliance training and remind staff of key compliance concepts on a daily basis.
But your microlearning modules need to be designed with the audience in mind. Think about what core concepts your staff need to know, the complex topics that could benefit from being broken down into an infographic or video, and when and where they might need access to this content.
These modules also need to be designed with accessibility in mind. Will everyone will be able to access them? A PDF isn’t a viable alternative if you are committed to providing innovating and engaging compliance e-learning content for all.