With a lot written about microlearning in recent years, it’s become a bit of a buzzword. But how practical is microlearning for compliance training? Find out more in this blog.
Microlearning has been defined in many different ways, but most agree that microlearning is:
- A discrete chunk or ‘burst’ of learning that focuses on a small set of learning objectives or single topic
- Usually no longer than around 5-7 minutes, although it can be as short as one minute
- Well suited for accessing content on the go
- Often created using video or animation to distill key learning messages
- A slightly more informal way of delivering learning compared to a traditional, formal training course.
Microlearning has been touted as the solution to engaging a busy, distracted workforce. But is it right for compliance training?
Microlearning for compliance training: balancing regulatory requirements and learner experience
Implementing microlearning for compliance training requires a more considered approach. This needs to take into account the unique characteristics of compliance training and the contexts in which it takes place.
In many firms, meeting regulatory requirements means enrolling employees on multiple compliance-related courses – sometimes up to 30 courses a year. Breaking these courses into smaller chunks could hinder the learner experience, as learners may be overwhelmed by a higher volume of learning to complete.
When learning is more informal, microlearning makes sense. But for courses that must be completed to prove compliance, microlearning is not automatically the right design approach.
Another related factor that comes into play with compliance training is assessment. While not always required by regulators, passing end-of-course tests is often a key way firms can demonstrate compliance with regulations.
Splitting the learning up provides a challenge to assessment. It makes little sense to incorporate a test at the end of a three-minute course, and implementing an increased volume of assessment can result in learner fatigue.
Microlearning for compliance training: How it can work
So what is the right way to use microlearning for compliance training?
In our experience, we’ve found that taking a microlearning-based approach to learning is the best way to harness the benefits of microlearning, while considering the context in which compliance training takes place in many firms.
We do this by breaking up courses into a series of short topics, or units, that translate often-complex subject matter into a series of focused learning bursts that distill key information.
Our Learning Designers also use techniques to keep course content focused on key principles, moving background or supplementary information to resource links or pop-up screens. Case studies, illustrations and examples also keep the learning practical and focused, giving learners what they need clearly and quickly.
This approach has the benefit of delivering a microlearning experience within a single course, which enables a one-off assessment to demonstrate knowledge uptake.
Implementing dashboards and progress trackers also means learners can easily consume content in short chunks, but remain within a single course.
Increasingly, we are building courses that are mobile-optimised. This gives learners the ability to access courses on the go and as and when they have spare time.
Using microlearning to target behaviour change
As well as taking a microlearning approach to a compliance course, there is still a place for microlearning within a wider, campaign-based approach to learning.
Here, microlearning can take on a supplementary role to support more formal compliance training courses.
Distributing short bursts of learning content throughout the year can help embed key behaviours and play a valuable role in achieving real behavioural change.
Animations, short videos, posters and desk drops are all forms of microlearning that can be used to reinforce critical learning points, long after annual training has been completed.
Making the case for microlearning
In this blog we’ve detailed how we take a microlearning approach to compliances courses that considers both the regulatory landscape and the training demands that learners in firms face.
We recommend microlearning as a supporting element to compliance courses because the nature of compliance in the current climate leaves firms with little room for error or laxity. But that doesn’t mean that the principles of microlearning should not be leveraged within compliance course design to create succinct, engaging learning experiences.