The Top 3 Questions Answered in Microlearning Short & Sweet

**This blog was originally published on Central Ohio ATD’s website but since I wrote it, I also wanted to share it here.** As part of my role as an ATD President, Central Ohio ATD was asked to be part of Karl Kapp & Robyn Defelice’s book tour!  Check out all of the stops and purchase the book to learn more. 

Don’t let the name of the book fool you, Microlearning Short and Sweet does not skip on the content.  In fact Karl Kapp and Robyn Defelice explore so many questions in microlearning, it’s likely you probably didn’t think of many of these questions.  Here are my picks for the top 3 questions answered in Kapp’s & Defelice’s book:

What is microlearning?

You’ve likely seen multiple defintions of microlearning out there but what is microlearning? I appreciated how Kapp & Defelice bring in practitoner’s perspectives in carving out the defintion.  When I think of microlearning, my mind immediately goes to Shannon Tipton and her candy dish anaolgy.  Before coming to their defintion, Kapp & Defelice share many examples of microlearning across the industry.  Here is what they come up with for the defintion: 

“Microlearning is an instructional unit that provides a short engagement in an activity intentionally designed to elicit a specific outcome from the participant.”

Hmm, what does short engagement mean?  What about intentionally designed?  Don’t worry, much like in Kapp’s The Gamification of Learning and Instruction , the defintion is broken down piece by piece. For inquiring minds, short engagement is operationalized as a “singular outcome” and intentionally designed part challenges learning and development professionals to keep the fluff out of crafting the learning experience. 

What are the stages of production that comprise a microlearning development process?

Often learning and development professionals deal with what I call the “fire hose of content”.  It’s not necessarily a bad thing when you are working with a passionate and knowledgable SME, but it can be daunting to think about how to create microlearning from so much content.  Fear not, Kapp & Defelice walk you through the stages of producing microlearning.  The authors share considerations for pre-production, production, and post-production.  One aspect I felt was missing from their considerations is finding champions for projects.  Especially if you are new to microlearning and this is the first time you are implementing it at your organization. I know the ability to do this has served me well throughout my career because if you don’t have buy-in and champions for your learning initatives, they often fail. 

What methods can be used to make microlearning engaging?    

Kapp & Defelice do a great job of walking through methods to improve your learning products.  I’d argue that these methods could be used for multiple types of L&D solutions, not just microlearning.  Some of the methods include clear and concise writing (I recommend the writings of Patti Shank if you are looking to upskill), podcasting, video, simulations, and of course gamification.  The tips in this chapter are solid and provide basic overviews and considerations.  If you want to learn more about any of these topics, check out the ATD bookstore which has many great resources on this techniques as well. 

I hope I didn’t give too much away from Microlearning Short and Sweet. If you consider yourself an emerging L&D professional or do not have a L&D related degree, I think this book would be a great one to add to your bookshelf.  It’s got a great balance of real world examples and practical advice. I’d like to thank Justin Brusino, Karl Kapp, and Robyn Defelice for this opportunity and for a copy of this soon-to-be classic book!


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