Video as a Medium for Microlearning | Maher & Maher
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Video as a Medium for Microlearning

As a working mother, it is important to find ways of balancing my time wisely between family, friends, the causes I support, and career goals.  That’s a tall order in today’s busy world and the tools that enable me to achieve that balance are essential.

Video is one of those tools. How, you ask?  Let me tell you a brief story. 

Two years ago, right in the middle of the weekend crunch to get my family’s school uniforms, dance leotards, and work clothes ready for the coming week, my washing machine stopped working. I stood amid the stillness of the laundry room and stared into a wash bin full of clothes floating in soapy water. No draining, no rinsing. I was certain the washing machine was broken.

After some consideration, my husband I decided against kicking the flawed machine to the curb and rushing out to buy a new one. Before calling a repair service, we took advantage of one of the greatest problem-solving guides out there: Google. We discovered the machine’s lid switch was to blame for the issue at hand, and we learned how to resolve that issue thanks to YouTube. Forty dollars and a little elbow grease later, the washing machine was back in business. Today, it continues to keep our never-ending cycle of laundry rolling and we have a quick, step-by-step video to thank for that. Microlearning to the rescue!

We hear quite a bit about microlearning in Learning and Development these days; but what exactly does this word mean?

Microlearning refers to training and learning solutions that are delivered as brief, focused, bite-sized chunks of instruction. It is designed to provide concise, specific information that supports a single learning objective in as little as 30 seconds to no more than a few minutes. Because microlearning can be consumed and applied in a fraction of the amount of time required to complete formal learning (and at a fraction of the cost), it is becoming more readily embraced by organizations as a convenient, cost-effective, and efficient solution to developing learners and providing them with the information they need at just the right time.

While microlearning can be delivered via many formats, video serves as an especially effective medium for many reasons. How so?

  • Video satisfies a variety of learning styles by showing learners how to accomplish a task while also telling them how to do it. (This show-and-tell format came in handy as my husband and I tackled the lid switch on our washer. Had either of us ever cracked open a washing machine before? We had not. The video gave us all the visual and verbal cues we needed to get the job done right.)
  • The combination of visual and narrative information enhances retention. Learners are more likely to remain engaged and recall the information they receive from a short video than they are from lengthy instructor-led or web-based training.
  • Learners can pause and review video as needed, and they can revisit it for quick assistance in the future.

Want an example of video microlearning? Take a quick scroll through YouTube or a social media newsfeed and you will find a wealth of step-by-step videos that not only explain, but demonstrate in less than one minute, how to complete a task – from a “how to” on preparing a meal or decorating a cake to setting up an app on your TV to view video.

Microlearning doesn’t just simplify learning in our personal lives; it brings the same advantages to the workplace. At Maher, we have created microlearning videos to satisfy a variety of objectives, such as providing an overview of our clients’ products, modeling desired behaviors (what “good” looks like), sharing best practices, stepping through system procedures and software features, and even explaining business tasks (such as completing sales calculations and applying them to contracts). Video is certainly proving its worth as an effective learning medium. It seems only logical that we should continue to apply it as a method for growing the skills of employees and developing them for success in their professional lives.

Maher & Maher is a specialized change management and talent development consulting firm based in Neptune, NJ and in Washington, D.C. The Firm’s Private Sector Practice specializes in customized learning design and delivery for the Deathcare, Financial Services, Life Sciences, and Media & Communications industries, and partners with our peers to do the same for government clientele. For more information about our services, visit us at http://www.mahernet.com or call us at 1-888-90-MAHER.

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