Why Video Microlearning is Perfect for Combating Short Attention Spans

A goldfish jumping from a small bowl to a larger one to symbolize the concept of video microlearning helping to combat short attention spans

We’ve all heard about the power of learning videos to engage distracted employees. Likewise, microlearning has proven itself to be more than just a passing fad. The concept of video microlearning represents a convergence of two important approaches that are here to stay.

Why video microlearning? Two reasons…

1) Video learning is a mainstay of any organization with ambitions to give its workforce the broadest possible variety of ways to build and share knowledge.

2) We’re always hearing about the dwindling attention spans of distracted and time-poor learners, and the power of short bursts of learning to solve this challenge. One study even found that microlearning can reduce the number of learners failing a course to zero, markedly improving results compared to traditional learning methods.

Microlearning and video dovetail, with one industry survey showing that video as well as eLearning are the two most popular ways to deliver microlearning.

However, quantity means nothing without quality!

In this blog, we’re going to look at why companies are creating and deploying video microlearning. How? By using tools that make it easy for them to add video content to their learning ecosystem and achieve great results.

But first, here’s a great example of video microlearning in action!

Using the YouTube Factor (But Without the Filler)

Understandably, companies are keen to capitalize on the immediacy and popularity of video platforms such as YouTube, which boasts billions of monthly users.

The obvious note of caution here is that the quality of the videos you find on YouTube, both overall and in learning terms, could be diplomatically described as ‘unrealiable’. For every how-to video that skilfully teaches us a trick of the trade or a phrase in a foreign language, there are a vast number of YouTube videos that are poor quality, uninspiring or downright unhelpful.

Although video learning platforms such as Instilled are integral to the growth and development of organizations who use them, they are only as good as the quality of content created. As learning professionals, we need to go beyond YouTube and act as facilitators for unique video microlearning experiences that are curated to meet learner needs.

Video Microlearning: Collaboration is Key to Quality Control

Maintaining quality control might seem like a tough task at first, particularly when:

What learning tools do is make it easy for people to create, edit and collaborate on high-quality, often short videos.

Their success is founded on a simplicity of interface that allows learning professionals and people at all levels of a company to enhance and add videos, and rapidly create their own content on any smart device with a camera.

While L&D teams have ultimate control over their platform’s videos, the organizations we work with find that giving learners the power to produce their own videos results in a constant flow of highly relevant, well thought-out content.

This is an essential part of any impactful learning program, and an added bonus is that it’s based on an intrinsic level of collaboration. For example, employees usually partner with a co-worker, project lead or subject matter expert to discuss and create new video learning content, and teams create microlearning videos on targeted subjects in direct response to need or demand.

A group of office working holding hands to symbolize collaboration on high-quality, often short eLearning videos.

So How Long Should Video Microlearning Content Be?

Brevity is important in learning, but as the saying goes, how long is a piece of string?

Deliberating over exactly how long a piece of microlearning should be is unnecessary. While you might be able to demonstrate a simple learning point in less than a minute, sometimes it isn’t realistically possible—or helpful to learners—to try to cram everything that needs to be taught into a video that’s strictly five minutes or less.

Optimum video length can also be relative to the learning that is already within an organization. Our sister company, gomo Authoring, works with one major UK-based government organization to create their health and safety training. They found their existing three-hour course had resulted in less than a quarter of managers completing the required learning, as well as low average satisfaction ratings for the course across all employees.

gomo’s solution, which dramatically increased uptake as part of a culture of continuous learning, achieved lasting results by paring the content down to make it much shorter, more focused and role-specific.

The important point here is to remember the principles of microlearning: communicating learning points concisely and engagingly in order to hold learner attention and ensure that the time they spend watching learning videos is never wasted.

Video Learning That Encourages Exploration

Part of YouTube’s appeal is its ability to keep viewers exploring by suggesting similar videos to the one being watched. Any amateur chef knows how easy it is to go from recipe to recipe thanks to sidebar suggestions. Likewise, music video fans can easily fall down the proverbial rabbit hole, watching video after video thanks to the site’s algorithm-based suggestions and auto-playing of related content.

Corporate learning has historically struggled to achieve this stickiness. Without an organized platform, learning videos tend to be standalone and infrequent, accessed by those who can find them before being forgotten about entirely.

There is a way to change that. We call them ‘containers’. L&D teams use containers to organize video learning content by department or common areas such as sales and technical support, planning future content around these container categories.

Containers of food to symbolize how video microlearning can be compartmentalized into different silos that are either themed or relevant to specific audiences

Let Learners Find Exactly What They Want

Just as people search through genres on Netflix or subscribe to their preferred channels on YouTube, video learning tools allow them to find, favorite, subscribe and stay up to speed with the content and containers that are most valuable to them.

A good video learning platform can then make suggestions that address ensuing questions and spark curiosity. Learners no longer need to track down tutorials or slog through subjects that bear no relation to their job.

And within videos, there are easy ways to give employees opportunities to find exactly what they want to learn without sacrificing unnecessary time. For example, chaptering a video that delivers the perfect product pitch can allow your sales professionals to jump to the exact point of the learning that will help to close the deal.

Successful Social Learning Depends on the Right Tools

Social and collaborative tools are a priority for businesses because they’re the way people prefer to learn. From formal training to just-in-time advice, video microlearning drives knowledge sharing and makes life much easier for L&D teams and employees.

The right learning platforms and tools seamlessly incorporate features like screen recording, making them an everyday must-have rather than another piece of software to license and figure out.

Your people are already learning from each other every day. A modern video learning platform/learning experience platform gives them a compelling way to channel this knowledge as part of a resource that grows exponentially and keeps them coming back.

A version of this post originally appeared on gomolearning.com.

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