Monday, August 14, 2017

Virtual Reality and Micro Learning: Ready. Set. Engage. - Tip #145

Steven Spielberg just released the trailer for the highly anticipated movie Ready Player One.” This movie is an adaptation of the same titled Ernest Cline’s virtual reality thriller novel and is set in the year 2044. In this story, people escape the harsh reality of the real world by entering into a virtual reality (VR) platform called OASIS. The virtual worlds shown and how people interface with them are pure science fiction; however, they are based on current science and trends being explored and developed now.

Concept art from Spielberg's new movie “Ready Player One”

This leads me to think about what is happening in the VR field now and in the next few years. Is it ready to move beyond prototypes into business and training environments? What are the different ways of implementing this kind of move? What are the possible benefits of using VR within the learning space?

What Is Virtual Reality?

VR has the ability to seemingly transport you to another place. You use a headset and headphones to block out any sights or sounds in the room that you’re in and replace them with the sights and sounds of a digital environment.
Using a headset to experience Virtual Reality

As you move your head to change your line of sight, the view that you see within the VR environment responds accordingly. Products like Oculus Rift and Samsung Gear VR give you the sensation of “presence” in or of feeling that you are actually a part of the projected world. Everything you experience is how you would experience it in that virtual world. But, what if you wanted to interact in the real world, just enhanced instead of replaced? Is there a way to do that?

Enhance the real world though Augmented Reality

Augmented Reality (AR) takes the real world and enhances it by adding to or augmenting the current environment. Currently, there are two basic ways you could experience this. You could wear specially equipped smart glasses where the glasses display information regarding the things within your field of view, onto the lens. As you turn your head around and look at different things, objects and information would be displayed enabling you to interact with each. Alternately you could use a handheld device, a smartphone, or a tablet, and where the camera and screen display the environment around you with augmented digital objects embedded into the screen image. The latest craze Pok√©mon Go is an example of a platform that uses this technology to view and interact with objects only seen in your mobile devices.

Using Augmented Reality to play Pokemon Go on a mobile device

Using Augmented Reality To Explore and Learn

AR is already being used to provide people with an immersive learning experience. For example, Seattle’s Museum of Flight has recently launched an AR tour of an historic plane. As you walk through the plane, you can hold your mobile device up and view a full scale virtual model of the interior as it appeared decades ago. This allows you to compare the old and the new designs in real time and within the actual environment. As you compare and contrast designs, you become fully engaged in this immersive experience. This level of engagement deepens your learning because the experience is multisensory and authentic and encourages you to create your own insights and connections.
This is just the tip of the iceberg. Apple is betting large that AR will be the next big thing. They have created a new ARKit that allows developers to create AR apps for the iPhone. What does this mean? It means that millions of people will be able to use AR without having to buy any additional hardware or software – they will already have it in their iPhones and iPads with the update to OS11. Just imagine being able to access AR wherever you go.

Combining Micro Learning With Augmented Reality

The implications for learning are tremendous, but learning can be enhanced by becoming bite-sized. Micro Learning experiences are designed to place learning exactly when and where you need it. When Micro-actions based on this new knowledge are applied in the work environment, and within the workflow, they support the correct completion of the task. Here are two ways AR can do this:
  • Access Information in Real-Time - Workers in the field will be able to use their smart glasses or mobile devices to recognize equipment and receive contextual step-by-step guidance. They instantly receive the relevant micro information in order to perform the next micro-task. This drastically reduces the amount of time spent in retraining the workforce when there are updates to information and procedures.
  • Use Virtual Micro Mentoring and Micro Learning - When workers need mentoring, support, or assistance in the field from a more skilled worker back at the office, what they see through their smart glasses is instantly shared with their mentor. The mentor can then talk to the worker or even share visual data on the worker’s smart glasses or mobile device. Instances like these create powerful teachable moments in which the workers not only gain insight but apply what is learned immediately.

Ten years ago, Augmented Reality and Virtual Reality were delegated to the realms of science fiction; However, with the increasingly fast advances in technology, actual working products already exist in the marketplace. Major companies are investing heavily into this area making the products and services, undoubtedly, more powerful and compelling. We, as learning professionals, have an opportunity to seize this new powerful tool and begin exploring how it can change the experience of learning.

You Might Also Be Interested In

Applying World War II Scenario-based strategy in eLearning?
Surgical Insertion of Micro-Scenarios that Beautify and Fire Up Your eLearning
Tip #35 - Instant Learning Impacts Performance: One Idea, One Action Learning Events
Tip #90 - Be A Scientist - Set Up Your Own Learning Behavior Lab on Micro- Experiences and Stories


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

Monday, August 7, 2017

Virtual Reality Makes Our Stories Even More Real - Tip #144

Virtual Reality (VR) is quickly becoming the next great medium. It is a medium by which its users are transported into other worlds, times, and spaces. The medium, in a sense, tricks the brain into thinking it is experiencing many different senses making it possible for users to experience places or something that they might not otherwise experience. Why does VR promise to impact our lives as uniquely as other mediums such as literature, radio, television, the movies, and the internet? What does it have in common to these other mediums and why can we relate it to storytelling?

“It is a deeply personal experience”

VR is just that; a personal experience that is able to expand a user’s perception and suspend belief. It lights up our senses and makes the imaginable real. Though each of the mediums mentioned above had made a lasting effect on the way in which we live and function globally today, VR activates the mind in a completely different way. Just as a good book relies on the language centers of our brains, music relies on the sound systems of our brains, both are limited to their specific communicative realm. VR does something different. It does rely greatly on the visual and sound centers of the brain, but not more so than a television show or movie that stands as a well-produced and coherent sensory experience. What VR achieves is absolute immersion.
So how does it relate to storytelling?

When we are truly immersed into something, there appears to be no separation between the user and the experience. There is no storyteller. Our experience is no different than if we had actually lived that experience ourselves. Our emotional and physical responses would be no different from our response in the real world.
This is why VR is so effective and what it shares with other life-changing mediums. The more we are immersed in the story, engaging as many senses as we can, the more we both experience and desire it. How do we then bring this concept into how we develop training and learning?

Step away from traditional storytelling and into the future

We all love a good story. We sit passively and watch, listen, or both to someone’s retelling of events and experiences. It has been proven to be a successful learning strategy that has increased engagement, recall, and retention of concepts. In my blog, “Can you Explain the “Fiscal Cliff Crisis” to an Eight year old?” I summarize a study completed by Lonnie Bryant and Renard Harris, stating:

“By incorporating a storytelling presentation, results from student performance reveal that a significant proportion of students have an increased recollection of the material covered. It was also found that this positive outcome was not related to the type of class but rather the increased interest in the lecture.”
What is interesting is that the use of storytelling was really in a “traditional storytelling” sense and it garnered positive results. Learners can understand and identify with the story, however, cannot be truly immersed in the experience. Why? It goes back to the VR world and how it essentially takes out the “go between” and injects the participant fully. How then, can we utilize storytelling as a completely immersive experience within our development practices?

Say goodbye to the go-between

Infuse the learner as the creator of the story. Think back; do you remember a time when you hurt yourself?
  • What were you doing before getting hurt?
  • What happened that caused you to hurt yourself?
  • Where were you?
  • What did you see? What did you smell? What did you hear?
  • How did your body respond? What were you thinking, feeling, or experiencing?
  • Who or what was around you?
  • What can you compare the pain to?
  • How and when did you get out of the situation?
  • What will you always remember?

Could you feel this event like it happened yesterday? Did your body begin to echo how it felt? Did you begin to connect emotionally? This is how we are immersed in a story, engaged, and at times, moved.
Say hello to the new learner experience

Learners can be immersed into the content through storytelling when they become part of the story. The only way to really engage the learner in this multi-sensory way is to have them as creators of the story. It is ingrained into our neurological system that when we recall most events, our bodies physically respond in the manner in which the event was experienced. Recall is multisensory. It stimulates an emotional connection and can lead to the moment of full immersion.

We achieve this by creating periods within our storytelling where we pause and let learners connect by allowing them to infuse their own connections to the story. Not all of the story is given, just enough to have learners pursue themselves in the story to shape the path toward that moment of full immersion.


We improve the opportunity for learning when we engage our learners into the fully immersive experience that storytelling must offer by giving space for them to be creators of the story. From the learner’s perspective, when the story is no longer yours and becomes my story - I am fully immersed in that experience; therefore, I learn.

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

Monday, July 31, 2017

The Bumblebee Effect: How Digital Learners Interact with Information - Tip #143

Bumblebees are known to be smart, agile, and purpose-driven insects. A simplified look at their life may make their actions appear to be random, but they are not.  Looking through a smaller, more specific lens, they monitor the amount of honey in the honey pot which dictates when they need to leave the nest to forage for nectar. They then return to the same flower patches using their sense of smell to draw them to the flowers that yield the best nectar while being careful to avoid the flowers that have been visited previously. They extract the nectar simultaneously while collecting pollen, and then carry it all back to their nest to be processed and stored.

Bumblebee’s behavior is purposeful, specific, sequential, and single-minded. They see a need, determine the best tool to use, follow a specific process for meeting that need, and remain prepared to repeat it all when necessary. Most notably, their learning of this process is social, and their implementation is collaborative.

How does this connect to our digital behaviors?

What is fascinating is that this, in many respects, resembles how our digital learning behaves in a highly technological enabled lifestyle. This makes the bumblebee is a very good metaphor. It demonstrates a few of the assumptions regarding how workers navigate in environments of rapid change, rapid development, and extreme demand for quick information and problem- solving.

What does Google say?

Sharing a study of our new multi-screen existence, Google found that 90% of media interactions (including tablets, smartphones, laptops, and television), are screen-based. They discovered “two distinct ways people move among screens” to get a task done. Those two ways are simultaneously and sequentially. This pattern of interaction is characterized by specific behaviors in which vacillate between specific devices as they move through the task. The use of numerous devices in tandem not only assist in them achieving a goal but is fast becoming the norm.
For example…

During a virtual meeting, a person may Skype on their laptop, sharing their screen with the team, while projecting a Google Doc that team members are actively modifying or commenting on collaboratively. Team members may also use a program like Slack to share links to sites in real-time while looking up pertinent information on their phones or tablets and may use a messaging app to communicate privately.
Each unit of technology has a specific purpose that enables team members to communicate effectively and to complete the task. Each of these tools serves a singular focus, and their use is triggered by the situation or shift in the task. The tool becomes ubiquitous as the function is a medium for the tasks rather than the purpose.
Food for thought

Are we developing our content so it can be portable across all platforms in response to or driven by the context in which it is needed? Are we developing learning the way our learners consume information? Are we engaging them in simultaneous and sequential processes that can address needs in an agile and effective way?

Think about conducting a study that assesses how your learning platform or digital tools perform. Consider these questions:

Generally, are these tools:
  • utilized or not
  • easily accessible
  • effective conductors of the desired content
  • yielding the desired results

What is the purpose behind their use? Do learners utilize these tools to:
  • keep informed
  • increase productiveness
  • stay connected
  • problem-solve

Observe how these tools are used. Are they used:
  • singularly
  • simultaneously
  • sequentially

Once you have interpreted the data, ask yourself how the design and development of content may better:
  • help workers to perform specific tasks using a variety of tools in a variety of environments
  • help workers to become familiar and comfortable with a particular workflow
  • ebb and flow according to demand and depending upon the changes in the workflow that are caused by rapid change and development
  • provide support WITHIN workers’ current workflows to learn, practice, and refine their performance or production

When we consider how our digital behaviors are in continuous evolution and how the tech-savvy worker navigates within a diverse digital world, it is critical that we create opportunities that support workers in achieving success. This comes from knowing your workforce; what is used and not used, effective and ineffective, and how the available tools are being infused into the workflow. Just as the bumblebee is purposeful, driven, and single-minded when it comes to their function within the nest - we must be diligent in understanding the needs of our workers. We must be certain we are providing the right tools and presenting the content in the right ways so that workers have the resources needed to be coherent within the workflow and to maximize their success.

You Might Also Be Interested In:

Tip #71 - Freedom to Learn and Pursue One's Expertise
Tip #129 - Why Does Microlearning Mean Better Learning?
Tip #140 - “Quick Answers are All I Need.” The Learner at Work Tells Us
Strategic Microlearning: Making Training Initiatives Keep Pace with Rapid Workflow


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

Monday, July 24, 2017

Why a Reflection Pause is Critical to Performance - Tip #142

The workplace has changed. Regardless of what industry or sector you are in, the speed of work has increased over the last few years influencing the idea of agility in the workspace. One of the key drivers of this increase in pace is technology. Whether it is software, hardware, online services, cloud technology - or whatever is coming next, the result is an ever increasing change. Telecommunication companies are now media companies (AT&T buys Time Warner), software companies combine with others to enhance their services (Microsoft buys LinkedIn), and even your local grocery stores are being swallowed by online retailers (Amazon wants to buy Whole Foods).

It is easy to forget that at the heart of all of this significant and constant change are the workers. Whether professional development or on the job trainings, they are who we serve as learning professionals and we can’t lose sight that change affects the learner.

How does change impact learning?

The answer to this question can be approached from various points of view. I will focus my answer to what I have observed when looking through the idea of reflection. According to Joseph A. Raelin, author of “Work-Based Learning: Bridging Knowledge and Action in the Workplace (2008),” when referring to the three critical areas of the work-based learning process, he suggests:

He continues by adding that learning happens at 3 levels:
  1. First Order Learning - Reflecting and questioning prior actions that prove reliable may influence the choice to try something different.
  2. Second Order Learning - Learning about concepts are deepened by looking critically at our own responses and transferring that understanding into other contexts.
  3. Third Order Learning - Realizing that how we have previously perceived the world may have been based on biases and not necessarily truth.
Why does reflection matter in fast evolving work situations?

Author and expert, Roger Schank, addresses the need for the worker to expect that failure is a part of learning and the decision-making process. He emphasizes:
The process detailed is surprising but can be viewed as a kind of error-analysis-based diagnostic. We don’t like the negative consequences that occur when we make mistakes as it is a complete somatic response. Our brains respond by placing the experience in a retrievable place, making it easy for us to recall the incident when faced with similar situations. This recall, which could also be seen as a form of reflection, is then used to guide us towards better or more effective choices.

Schank provides an example of this process when sharing a story about a captain dealing with his ship’s exhaust gas boiler catching fire while navigating through the Suez Canal. He makes the point that what seems to be the logical thing to do, stop the ship and put out the fire, is not how experienced captains would respond. Why? Because they have learned that the red tape and corruption associated with stopping the ship and then leaving the canal once the fire has been attended far outweighs the extent of damage the fire would cause to the the ship.
If we look deeper into the story we may find that the Captain is in the process of constant diagnosis as he must navigate his ship through a very delicate and involved process, monitor the condition of the fire, anticipate the possible damage to the hull and protect the lives and cargo aboard the ship. This kind of reflection must happen at an accelerated rate as one miscalculation has many possible consequences attached. We also know that it has been the collection of similar incidents and their associated negative experiences, that the decision to move forward comes from the recall of others' experiences, making this a social reflection. The ability to reflect becomes crucial to ever-evolving work situations. This is how the workers need to be prepared to work and how they need to be trained to respond.

Accelerating diagnostic skills and improving the ability to reflect leads to efficiency and excellence in the workplace

Learning and content development professionals typically rely on mainstream models of learning behaviors to assist in understanding the needs of the worker. I ask how do we update, adjust or refine these learning models to truly meet the needs of the worker who must navigate a face-paced working atmosphere? Let’s return to the issue of workers consistently needing to quickly diagnose and respond to situations appropriately.
1. Rapid, invisible and intuitive cycle
The cycle is invisible to observe because it is intuitive and happens in milliseconds. Though issues associated with this project may be small or large and may vary in complexity, this process still applies. Hiring someone, for example, may look like: we need to find the right person for the job; during the interview we diagnose the person instantly; the applicant responds, “I can’t work more than 40 hours” and we ask ourselves why? We then use this fact to determine if it works as a solution for the problem. Then we ask another question or go to the next interviewee. This sequence is done several times.

2. Immediate Diagnosis = Quick fix
Workers are aware of and driven by gaps in their work product or outcomes. Because they know the expectations, goals and parameters of their tasks, they must diagnose each gap quickly and effectively to ensure a timely desired outcome. For example: In a bottling company, any equipment stoppage is detrimental to the entire processing system. To avoid the loss in production and time, workers must constantly diagnose the output of the equipment to determine if it is functioning correctly.

3. Time for reflection results in responsive actions
The challenge for workers is having the time and space to reflect on their work, their team's work and the reasoning behind whether their goals were met or not. When we don’t allow workers room for ongoing reflection, even within the shortest possible moment to review, how can we expect them to make better choices or discover more effective ways to meet and even exceed expectations? Workers can not make responsive decisions without being given the time to do so.

4. Reflection is key
The reflection moment, therefore, is critical if this is what we desire of our workers. Reflection needs time so that the worker may apply their experience to, or inquire possible alternative solutions to the pending problem. It also ensures that the worker will be better prepared and quicker to respond since time was devoted to both diagnosing and reflecting on the problem and possible solutions. Failure to reflect may result in a lack of ability to fix, solve and improve the gaps in results and performance.

Now you apply or test this theory

1. The Reflection Pause
When designing any form of learning, add the thinking process and design opportunities for learners to reflect on how they may apply the learned ideas or concepts. This can be accomplished by providing more time and building in the deliberate pauses for reflection. A reflection pause may need to be taught and learned. One way to encourage workers to engage in a reflection pause is to ask them to pause and think about what they want to say before they speak their minds. This gives time for them to reflect upon if what they are about to say, or how they are about to say it, conveys what their intent is for sharing.

2. Start with an inquiry: “How would you solve this?”
Start training with a situation the learner and worker are familiar with and can diagnose. This enables them to quickly and unconsciously, rely on their inner diagnostic process. This is important because there is no prospect for reflection if there is no opportunity for diagnosis. This process opens the mind and prepares it for learning; which is why starting with a lecture closes the mind of the learner. Asking them what they would do, immediately engages the diagnostic process. By the way, you can apply this to almost any person to person interaction, including discussions with your kids (smile).


Ultimately, as learning professionals, we must remember who our audience is and where their needs lie. In an agile setting that is filled with fast moving changes and requires quick and informed responses, it behooves us to design moments that allow workers to digest what they have learned, discovered, and uncovered in the process of diagnosing problems and choosing the best possible solutions. This pause to reflect moves worker response from adequate to dynamic and informed. The impact of this simple action could make the difference between a small error and a million dollar mistake.


Are you guilty of interrupting the learners learning?
Tip #68 - Why Reflect? The Role of Reflection in the Learning Process
Tip #69 - Reflections Impact Performance
Tip #132 - “Keep This A Secret...”
Tip #136 - How My Life Changed with Virtual Learning and Webinars

Additional Articles Referenced

AT&T is Buying Time Warner Because the Future is Google
Microsoft Just Finalized Its Deal for Linkedin - Here's What Happens Next
Whole Foods Stock Rockets 28% on $13.7 Billion Amazon Takeover Deal


S.I. Meisel & D.S. Featon, Leading Learning. pp. 2-3 in S.A. Cavaleri and D.S. Fearon (eds), Managing in Organizations That Learn. Blackwell, Cambridge, MA.1996
Raelin, Joseph A. Work-Based Learning: Bridging Knowledge and Action in the Workplace. Jossey Bass, San Francisco, CA.  2008
Schank, Roger C. The Future of Decision Making. (p 8). Palgrave Macmillan, New York, NY. 2010
Schank, Roger C. The Future of Decision Making. (pp 6-7). Palgrave Macmillan, New York, NY. 2010

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

Friday, July 14, 2017

Advanced Models of Story-Based eLearning Design - Tip #141

I just presented to a large audience in a webinar on the 7 Advanced Models of Story-Based eLearning Design.

Four provocative discoveries stood out. I’d like to share with you some interesting ways on how technology influences the way stories are told.

Stories evolve over time

Our traditional understanding of a story structure required a beginning, a middle and the end. It contains the well balanced elements from exposition to resolution.
Chart 1

You have exposition, rising crisis, climax and ending with resolution. This is a typical story structure or story archetype.
Chart 2
Click here for the enlarged view.

The classical story structure takes a different form when we review technologies like YouTube, crowdcasting, cloud serving, Vimeo, Facebook, Twitter and other interactive tools. The delivery of the story becomes shorter. The story jumps to the crisis, climax and then resolution or it is compressed tightly due to a shorter time or for faster delivery. What is taking place is that the story allows people to participate in the story. They interact by immersion or skimming, dive to parts they like as well as comment and exchange ideas with the audience sharing their views. This whole process brings in a high context reference for the users.

As a result, stories in videos, blogs, Twitter, Facebook and other social media technology facilitate the experience of context and add meaning to the content instantly.
Click here for the enlarged view.

This is significant because stories continue to be an important vehicle to help learners learn. However now, there’s more opportunity to allow the learners to come in as creators of their own story. It has become more apparent that learners want to experience the story.

Storytelling with the data
Storytelling with Data: A Data Visualization Guide for Business Professionals

Storytelling with data is a provocative process because it helps learners choose and travel with a certain timeline of the story. This means that the learner interacts more effectively because the factual content gets converted into a story. Cole Nussbaumer Knaflic wrote a book on this, Storytelling with Data.

Watch this demonstration on The Bright Future of Car Sharing and see how data has been converted into a story. Observe how learners are able to come up with their own stories and follow what’s interesting to them in the context of the entire data presentation. It is interesting to observe your own behavior as you view the examples.

Mapping experiences help learners see the big picture

This particular advanced story learning design was inspired by my reading and research in relation to mapping experiences.
Mapping Experiences: A Complete Guide to Creating Value through Journeys, Blueprints, and Diagrams 1st Edition - James Kalbach.

In the example below, the main theory and concept of mapping experiences is that if we are able to replicate and capture the flow of experience that a person goes through during the process, it would significantly allow us a way to understand what it is all about. It is more than just data. It is understanding and relating with the experience. In the example provided, as the customer experiences the journey, you can begin to see that the learner follows the different stages of the customer experience and develops empathy towards the customer’s experience throughout the journey.
Click here for the enlarged view.

Click here for the enlarged view.

The illustration above of Lego's Designing the Experience is a graphic presentation of varied examples of the flow that a user goes through in terms of the experience and engagement during a Lego activity. This is again an example of mapping experiences. It is another way of expanding the value of stories. The main benefit is that it allows the learners to undergo the chain of events, recognize the direct meaning and be able to acquire very rich context to gain an understanding of this particular process.
Another illustration is this brainstorming chart on the wall with a lot of post-it notes. This is what happens to us as learners or team members when we brainstorm. We are able to create a flowchart on a wall using post-it notes of the collated experiences. The process helps us relate to the story of such experience which in turn allows us to bring our own stories within the flow.

Realistic framing

In this other example I will show you realistic framing. This is a way to present two views of an experience. You create the story that will put the learner into two alternative worlds. We call it the realistic world. It presents two “realities” - what would happen if we save our planet and the unfortunate results if we destroy our planet.

This model of an advanced story design allows the learner to have a simultaneous experience. It’s emotional because it shows two points of view. One shows consequences - worst case scenarios. The other side exhibits the joyous benefits if things go well and what we can continue to enjoy. Click below to preview the video.

In conclusion, the technology, speed and amount of information has enabled us to shorten the ways stories are done. Today, the tools for deploying and developing stories like mapping experiences, framing realistic options and understanding storytelling with data are examples that show us the greater emphasis on allowing learners or readers the ability to empathize with the emotions shared and discover the rich context of the information provided as well as the ability to contribute. The story becomes more powerful within the control of the learner’s engagement. Reflect on this and see how you may draw inspiration from these advanced models of the story-design approach.


Storytelling with Data: A Data Visualization Guide for Business Professionals
Mapping Experiences: A Complete Guide to Creating Value through Journeys, Blueprints, and Diagrams 1st Edition
The Bright Future of Car Sharing
The Bright Future

Previous Tips

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

Monday, July 10, 2017

“Quick Answers are All I Need.” The Learner at Work Tells Us - Tip #140

Why is there a need to access knowledge anytime? Also, why is there an increasing need for us to search for good training opportunities and push learning? Are you ready to take advantage of this trend?

There’s a new corporate learning landscape called “digital learning,” where the emergence of digital content and tools are reinventing professional development for digital access. It “enables businesses and employees to learn like never before.”

How does this impact our interest in implementing Microlearning?

Deloitte released this study. The insights tell us that we are now in a new environment that propels a different type of learning.

“This topic is now the #2 topic on the minds of CEO and HR leaders. The 2017 Deloitte Human Capital Trends research discovered that 83% of companies rate this issue important and 54% rate it urgent, up 11% from last year.”

Digital Learning Disruption and Microlearning Opportunities
Digital learning isn’t a type of learning. Neither is it mobile learning or learning on your phone. It’s a way of learning that brings learning to where employees are.

In my view, Digital Learning parallels or seamlessly encourages the application of the Microlearning approach to learning in the workflow. It confirms our earlier thinking about how we are moving into learning on demand today - how everyone could learn all the time and anywhere.

Bringing Learning Where Employees Are: Microlearning Tips

Trim down huge learning content to bite-sized 25-minute (or less) learning
Click here for the enlarged view.

The study further suggests that our need to constantly search for information has increased:

“We spend an inordinate amount of time looking for information at work, and we are constantly bombarded by distractions, messages, and emails."

“And all this effort is not necessarily making us more productive. In addition to spending as much as 25% of our time doing email, we’re now taking almost a week less vacation than we did in the 1990s (Project: PTO) and we spend an inordinate amount of time looking for information. Our research shows that in a given week, employees take less than 25 minutes of time to actually slow down and learn.” -- 25 minutes is more than enough time to consume bite-sized learning contenthi

Ideas to ponder

The study results confirm two key Microlearning tips we shared with you earlier.

1. Need to search to find quick answers is a must-skill in Microlearning

Learners and workers forage and sniff content. Due to the constant flow of content and the need to find solutions to problems on the job, we learn to find patterns and review the value of content a lot faster. The study of Project: PTO suggests that the increasing need to search is a distraction and therefore makes it difficult for learners to spend more time on digesting content.

From a learning consumption point of view, the distractions present a challenge, since our expectation is that learners need to focus and study. This argument assumes that the act of learning is separate from the the workflow. In the workflow, learners search for an answer and use a small amount of content that provides an answer. Hence, they focus on application. Application is a different behavior from learning.
2. “River of News” is the new environment we need to help learners and workers

The behavior of foraging and sniffing coupled with the anytime, anywhere and anyhow learning become the new normal. Solutions to problems and issues at work don’t reside in learning content. In fact the content we produce in most formal learning, e.g. classroom, elearning, FAQs are the least sources for quick solutions while at work. Most answers come from the company portal, company databases, industry blogs, supplier information, quick messaging and conversations with peers on the job. These methods are closer to the worker while on the job compared to most learning programs.

Our focus in Microlearning is not about ‘producing content” but rather managing the “River of News”, with all types of sources for answers, managing them in order to help the workers find quick answers.  Our content is NO LONGER the source, has never been the source for answers to problems on the job.

There are dominant trends that shift the very foundation of how we help learners work better to produce results. The shifts are opportunities for us to identify very specific tactical actions so we are working with inertia. In our case, we espouse Microlearning as quick ways to find answers for work issues. We look at the trends and shifts that accelerate helping workers fix, solve and improve issues at work.

Related Tips

How Micro-Learning Boosts "At the Moment Performance"
5 Success Strategies in Micro-Learning Implementation
Why Does Micro-Learning Mean Better Learning?
Micro-Learning Leads to Rapid Skill Acquisition
Why Simple Rules Produce Instant Learning and Application

The Disruption of Digital Learning: Ten Things We Have Learned
2017 Deloitte Human Capital Trends
Project: PTO
Tip #134 - Microlearning Leads to Rapid Skill Acquisition 
Tip #135 - Learning by SNIFFING: Are Learners Really Distracted or Are They Learning Differently
Tip #114 - How Microlearning Boosts “At the Moment Performance”

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