Monday, December 4, 2017

Microlearning Leapfrogging - How to Succeed Against All Odds - Tip #160

This year I've had projects that I would classify as instances of leapfrogging.

Leapfrogging means vaulting from traditional, basic brick-and-mortar (classroom) learning into the rapid and instant Microlearning approach.

What the client wanted was to have their group of instructional designers and classroom trainers “leapfrog” into the world of high-speed and technology driven Microlearning. From classical instructional learning to largely self-driven, micro-actions, on-the-job learning. The leap may seem risky because the team has no prior experience in any form of technology supported learning: NO skills, tools and aptitude on elearning, webinars, LMSs, authoring tools, and implementation.
This is like shooting your team through a cannonball.
Is this irresponsible and reckless?

At first glance, this looked challenging because I saw plenty of blind curves due to the lack of exposure to actually using technologies. For example, the company has no LMS, hence, the team has never published elearning, has not done tracking of learning, and has never done a webinar. But they just want to move quickly from classroom training to high-speed learning for their organization.

All against my consulting mindset

Considering my years of experience and implementation of learning technologies, I could sense that the leadership may not exactly understand what they're getting into. Being a consultant, I want to succeed in the implementation and help the client avoid death traps. This simply means there are risks of failure involved.

So the biggest question in my mind is: How do you help a client and their instructional designers and developers, and technology team to carefully maneuver the process so that they recognize the daunting task? At the same time, how would you help them allocate their resources and aid them to shift their mindset and skills so that they can do a leapfrog.

Leapfrogging succeeds in these conditions

In the end, I learned more from the client about how to apply Microlearning. Here are my eye-opening insights:

The goal and benefits are so vividly clear; compelling

When leaders gain vivid clarity about the pressure and opportunities involving the shift from brick-and-mortar to high-paced learning, they recognize that they are behind the curve. Customer and organizational demands become the triggers and drivers of change.

Also, armed with a clear understanding of specific financial benefits, workers and customers can be trained faster without having to wait for a scheduled and delayed classroom training. Providing them with online learning allows them immediate access to information whenever they need it. This would drastically reduce the time needed to launch a product and therefore increase adoption and product usage. Furthermore, this increases the company’s cash flow.

A very specific and clear objective enables leaders to make that  great leap of faith -  a LeapFrog.
Leapfrogging Microlearning implementation

As I observe the desire of this client to LeapFrog, it became clear to me after reflection that the implementation process also needed to get a semblance of a leapfrogging process. It wasn't clear to my mind how to implement this because I got hung up on my own thought process - which is keeping the consulting mindset.

Instead of using ideal models - take stack of what the clients have


The client has no LMS. But is it really required in order to achieve the results they have in mind? They have a portal and a website. They also have Sharepoint for internal file sharing and collaboration.

The truth is, for the client, there was no need to even talk about an LMS.

No Captivate or Storyline

What if the client has no authoring tool, like Captivate or Storyline? Although this may shock some of us, should they be required to purchase one? How vital is it to their implementation process?

After a number of interviews, I learned the client produced a lot of PDF eBooks for their documentation.

Brilliant idea! Why not use it? No learning curve is needed.

Smartphones and tablet

A significant number of teams and employees have smartphones and tablets. So, why not let members submit images to Sharepoint or portal to show their work and share ideas on how to solve problems immediately?

Without realizing it, they have access to  free software for screen capturing to readily share learning. So they used Monosnap - a free software - that captures videos in screen motion. They concluded that they can use this to create small references by narrating and showing software actions.

Tweak as needed - No need for perfection

One key characteristic of Microlearning is the focus on usefulness, not high production quality products. Hence, useful knowledge is more important than perfection or “eye candy” quality presentations. The client had no high-quality video production studio nor the staff to run it. Yet, they know videos are useful. So they use them and it worked! They tweaked the Microlearning as they discovered and got feedback.


Leapfrogging means focusing on the desired results which are doable within the means of the organization, at the speed that they want to achieve it. This is not about selecting, implementing and learning the right tools. The passion, drive and clarity of the end results and benefits are so compelling that the ignorance of all of the implementation details was understated and the benefits magnified. This environment is fertile ground and favorable conditions for Microlearning leapfrogging.

Tip References

How to avoid eLearning paralysis and get moving with your projects
Tip #105 - Breaking 10 Training Rules Using Microlearning
Tip #123 - Micro-Instant Learning
Tip #157 - Microlearning Is the “It’s-Always-There” Solution

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

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