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The microlearning revolution

Last May, we asked you to vote on a selection of workshops at the prestigious ATD Conference in Denver, which was attended by Jean-Philippe Bradette, Vice-President of Training Strategies, and Patrick Duperré, Director of Training Strategies with Ellicom. We thank you for your significant participation in our survey, and you can find the results here!

You voted for: The Microlearning Revolution: A Bold New Model for Developing Organizational Talent. Here is a an overview of the microlearning presentation, and a summary of Patrick Duperré’s overall experience at the ATD.

His experience

This was the third time Patrick attended the ATD to stock up on new ideas, take stock of the current state of the training field, and meet with his peers. The last time he went to the ATD was in 2004 and 2008. This year, what struck him the most was the international character of the event. Participants came from ALL OVER the world. Patrick says that there was even a space for different delegations where conference-goers from other countries could meet. “This brought a new flavour to this event, which aims to be a place for sharing, where the differences in our backgrounds lead to rich and varied exchanges.”

The microlearning revolution

This presentation was given by Stephen Meyer, President and CEO at Rapid Learning Institute, an American provider specialized in microlearning solutions. The presenter showed that short capsules are often a great solution for managers who lack resources to coach their employees and follow up on their training as much as they should. Also, microlearning helps keep learners engaged, while respecting the amount of time they have to train and applying their knowledge in the long term. Moreover, this solution is Millennial- and mobile-friendly. Microlearning has become more than just a buzzword, and the public is becoming increasingly aware of this learning solution. Patrick is particularly interested in where the situation gets another dimension: microlearning is more than just a question of length and format (segments or episodes). It’s in the “how”… how do we divide up the theory and organize performance? It’s more complicated than taking a long video and breaking it down into pieces! According to Patrick, performance is the very foundation of microlearning:

  • The “how to”

The content must be centred on a task to be performed

E.g. How to make a latte

  • Orientation

The task must be organized starting with the generic and moving towards the specific, or from the specific to the general.

To do this, the information will be organized or simply divided into different sections:

  1. An introduction that describes both the task and the problem;
  2. An activity (resolve a problem or accomplish a task);
  3. A conclusion in the form of feedback on the activity or the learner’s performance.
  • Respecting the principles of Merrill’s theory: Component Display Theory (CDT)
  1. Instruction will be more effective if all three primary performance forms (remember, use, generality) are present;
  2. Primary forms can be presented by either an explanatory or inquisitory learning strategy;
  3. The sequence of primary forms is not critical provided they are all present;
  4. Students should be given control over the number of instances or practice items they receive.

The latte example is universal, and supports the concept. Why does a latte, which takes 3 minutes for the local coffee shop’s barista to make, take 30 minutes to teach? Instruction needs to keep pace with our ever-faster society. A study conducted by Visible Measures on YouTube video consumers shows that after 30 seconds, one-third of users leave the page, and half of them are gone after 60 seconds. Moreover, you will notice that as soon as we start watching a video on the Internet, we tend to put our mouse on the “x” to close the window and go elsewhere! Finally, Patrick agrees with Mr. Meyer to say that length is CRITICAL for instruction.

*The ATD is the largest training conference in North America with over 10,000 participants, 400 speakers and 300 presentations and workshops over an entire week!

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