Friday, January 6, 2017

5 Success Strategies in Microlearning Implementation - Tip #115

Once a year I attend a truly exquisite dinner at the Caltech Athenaeum Faculty Club featuring the Escoffier Dinner. This is the closest that I ever get to experience Babette’s feast.

The French chef and culinary writer Auguste Escoffier popularized and updated traditional French cooking methods. The restaurateur also invented the five mother sauces - Béchamel, Velouté, Espagnole, Sauce Tomat, and Hollandaise from which all of today’s sauces and their combinations originated.

The five mother sauces are analogous to the five core success strategies in the elements of Microlearning. They make learning enjoyable so that it stays in our memories as flavorful and artistic experiences. Simply put, implementing Microlearning is like finding the right sauce to spice up a dish.

Strategy #1: Nanos, Quiet, Seamless and Yet Impactful

Microlearning lessons are tiny and seemingly hidden from plain sight, yet at the same time, they are all around us. We experience them even though we don't always sense their presence. For example, when you watch a powerful short video, like the iPad and Dad video or the Apartment Manager, you are moved by the experience. We hardly even notice it's a lesson. In much the same way, we don't consciously think about our interactions with smart devices like smartphones and the internet fridge. I explained this in " How Microlearning Boosts 'At the Moment Performance' ".

In the practical world, Microlearning objects are like nano objects that bind together a fabric. In learning, they are tiny connectors and lubricants that make learning fluid.

Strategy #2: Insertions into Workflow with Surgical Precision

Like the mother sauces, the core success strategies add spark or curiosity and entice the learner’s palate, promising new discoveries.

In implementing Microlearning, we target specific results by identifying precise learning insertion points with the skill of a surgeon. Think of how doctors today use tools and scopes to guide their actions in performing non-invasive operations.

When using Microlearning, insert them into troublesome areas such as constantly changing work processes, often-referenced documents, rapidly-evolving policies, very new knowledge, unknown processes and highly-critical operations. In short, insert Microlearning in the workflow.

Strategy #3: “It” Finds You—Store “Memories” and “Footprints” and Add Value

The Internet of Things (IoT) is evolving rapidly in many facets of our lives. You can control your refrigerator, thermostat and alarm from your smartphone.The Roomba vacuum cleaner is self-directing: It will go back to its docking station when the battery is about to run out of power so it can recharge itself. The list is long: automated lighting, smart pills, connected baby monitors, electronic toll collection systems, natural disaster early warning systems and many more.

If you lose your car keys, the keys will find you by beeping when you are 10 feet away. "It" finds you; you don't find it.

Train your learners, so each time they use the information, they store favorites and make recommendations. This simple act, done persistently and consistently, SEEDS and WATERS the process so knowledge FINDS them -  the worker, learner. Learning systems can track and store favorites and recommendations. Then, when new knowledge is available, that knowledge can locate the learner much like the way your keys find you. This is called the “Store Value” of learning systems.

Strategy #4: Embed Learning through Experience Sharing

Sharing insights from experiences on how to fix and change things are invaluable learning opportunities. Experiences are “fossilized” or “cemented” knowledge stored in our memories and emotional experiences. Microlearning facilitates sharing by allowing learners to forward, link and annotate tiny learning objects. This action intensifies memory creation and helps learners learn from each other.

Strategy #5: Speeds Up Actions

The end result of Microlearning is fixing, changing and creating new solutions faster and at lower costs.

This is also the goal of “democratizing content,” focusing on context as a strategy for content creation and distribution. In essence, we can improve the speed of Microlearning Implementation success.
  • Spaced - space learning opportunities to allow quickly applications
  • Accordion effect - chain Microlearning snippets as a course but keep the snippets accessible as separate components separately accessible
  • Uninterrupted - never interrupt learners with “finish this slide before you continue” (these are killers, by the way)
  • Self-driven - train learners to drive their own learning; give them freedom to jump around, fumble through and immerse themselves in their learning 
  • Barrierless - unshackle barriers; don't allow content to be tied down to curriculums or programs
  • Borderless - make Microlearning lessons part of the steps but don’t force learners to study step-by-step
Unbounded learning behaviors and skills become a reality and benefits will be realized when the 5 Success Strategies are in place in your Microlearning Implementation.


Because the 5 Success Strategies of Microlearning make learning fun, memorable and encourage knowledge sharing, they can motivate learners to achieve superior performance.


Wikipedia. Babette’s Feast

Wikipedia. Auguste Escoffier

Gallary, Christine. Do You Know Your French Mother Sauces?. Oct. 20, 2014

Kobie, Nicole. What is the internet of things? The Guardian. May 6, 2015

Schupp, H. T. et al. Newly-formed emotional memories guide selective attention processes: Evidence from event-related potentials. Sci. Rep. 6, 28091; doi: 10.1038/srep28091 (2016)

Ray Jimenez, PhD
Vignettes Learning
"Helping Learners Learn Their Way"

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