Micro Learning and Mobile

Posted by

I’m going to start a revolution by pitching you some radical ideas when it comes to successful micro learning.  And no, I’m not inviting Tracy Chapman.

I’m inviting you.  Each and everyone of you reading this right now or tomorrow, or next week or in the future.

I’m going to ask you to take a step out of your safe box of training and/or learning & development.   I’m going to require you to say to yourself, I want my learners (regardless if they are employees, customers or both) to really achieve comprehension, retention and synthesis.  

Finally, I’m going to push some opportunities you can do, right now, well, today, this week, next week or when you say to yourself, “Why isn’t this working, like the said it would at that seminar/webinar or another article?”


SnapChat.  Extremely popular with the millennial crowd and yeah, I admit I’ve dived in as well, and perhaps you too.  Oh, let’s not forget the group that are teens today, and down the road potential customers and employees.  (even students, let’s not forget about them – and this whole piece can easily apply to your students)

360 cameras.  If you haven’t heard of them, you will in this post.  They can really push the envelope in terms of micro learning, mobile and engagement (right now more so on the visual only angle, but down the road – hotspots, VR, AR, MR technology). 

Video.  Whether it is watching videos via YouTube, other online sites or shooting video with your smartphone and then sharing it via various social, messaging or just to friends and family, it is on the hot scale. Both in the e-learning/m-learning industries and consumer marketplace.

Smartphone headsets.  They will take off this year. They will be short and long term the drivers for VR content.  As earlier noted, for VR it is Android smartphones as the driver.  AR? Apple drives.  MR? Microsoft.  But make no mistake, regardless of the main player behind the scenes, various smartphone makers are in the playing field.

Mobile smartphones.  Once just for making calls and playing games.  Now, a one stop tool from taking photos, shooting video, downloading and using apps for communication, social, interactivity, fun/games, reading and whatever else is your desire.  

M-Learning using smartphones.  Knowledge reinforcement. Course/Content/Assessment native apps for LMSs and even for a couple of authoring tools.  Separate apps for social, video engagement, CPD and other options, depending on the vendor.  On/Off synchronization (yes, equally achievable with tablets, phablets too).  M-Learning for a smartphone is a very useful tool.

Micro Learning.  Short targeted courses/content.  Video no more than five minutes. Ideally two to three minutes.  Content/course should be engaging, have a TOC, enabling non-linear if end user is able to do so (based on how the course is created, and objectives/approach by you). 

Focus on only one topic or three points to get across to the end user.  At the high level, 10 minutes per module.  Ideal is three to five minutes.  

Time may vary depending on the learner, but many people want to know an estimate time, assuming they go linear.  They are used to knowing the time amount due to conditioning from attending school or attending a seminar, where time plays a key role.

Starting a Revolution

With training we tend to focus on the output tied to the content/courses/materials and so forth.  This is accurate whether it is in a classroom or in our case, online.  

That to me, is a problem, especially with online learning.  The benefit is providing content/courses to learn new skills, improve upon skills enabling true retention, comprehension and synthesis. 

Whether it is learning a new piece of software or product for your customers, tied to a job role or job requirement for employees, including for future advancement, or offering your learners personal and professional development and growth,  the end game is the same,  empowerment.

We do not want robots, or at least we should not want them, from a human standpoint (not from an actual robot, which you can buy – a side note for those wanting their own robot).

Yet, from an online learning standpoint, by focusing on this push for knowledge reinforcement as an assumption that it increases retention is erroneous at best.  What you are saying is I am forcing you to review this information or bits of learning (micro-style) daily, or every other day or weekly and thus, you will retain it for long term knowledge.  

So what can we do about it?  How can we change the scene where those who want knowledge reinforcement or believe that it is of value to their employees, turn it around, so that the employee sees it as a real benefit, worthwhile to them – from an adult learning perspective.

Remember the old adage of WIFM (What is in it for me)?  Somewhere along the way, in course development, many, many folks have forgotten it.   Adult learners (regardless of age bracket), want real world scenarios, real life situations.

And I can tell you from personal experience when providing courses and content to learners (employees and customers) it delivered results – i.e. worked short and long term.

Oh, and they retained the info, higher than those who were not provided such an opportunity.

How did I do it?

Using micro learning. Without a mobile device, or pieces of video content or any of the other possibilities of solutions today, which, here is the kicker – YOU CAN.

Reinforce the Right Way

Change the mechanism.  And change it in such a way, that your knowledge engagement to your employees delivers real results, without a “forced” approach in doing so.

Here’s how.

  • Utilize the apps people already know

Example:  You have employees using SnapChat, where you can send a quick photo/video to a friend. But it also allows you to create “your own story”.  Change that story from “your own” to a micro version of say, ‘dealing with an angry customer’.  

  • If they are using iMessage or Facebook Messenger or messaging on the Android phone (whatever that might be), offer them the opportunity to use that messaging as a part of your social learning.   Through in some gamification angle as well. 

The other day I saw a system where you can schedule your SMS notifications.  Okay, so rather than just the usual notification, why not push out a social angle for that SMS notification utilizing the messaging apps they are using now? 

  • Rather than seeing the mobile device as just an output of content;  turn it into a tool for mobile engagement

Did you see that?  I said mobile engagement, not mobile learning.  I mean, yeah it is learning on a mobile device, but the “engagement” piece is how you are going to get there. 

As in the utilization of apps they already know,  engagement takes a myriad of options and says “social, collaboration, sharing, P2P knowledge (see?) and so forth is where we it is at.”  Best of all, you can make this happen as part of your LMS (i.e. from a client perspective and for some vendors).

If I was running training/L&D, I know people are using their smartphone already, so I’d change the perspective of it not just being about course viewing, but using the mobile device as an engagement tool.


You have a brand new salesperson who is right out of college.  They are not going to be an expert in sales.  Rather than have them do OJT, have them shoot some video, asking a couple of questions to a couple of salespeople.   Then, review it and provide their own feedback to it.

Next, Upload the video into your LMS, for others to see and comment.   Congrats – you have now elevated coaching to a whole new level.

Providing customers with a “best practices” document?  Forget that.   You have your customer stakeholders (you know the ones you provide as a references) to shoot some video with their mobile device on best practices.  Then they send to you, you share via your knowledge base/learning community or maybe as part of an e-mail welcoming the new customer.

New employees? Get them involved by using what they are have in their possession – the smartphone.  “A day at work,” – it opens up a variety of sharing and information gathering opportunities and oh yeah, knowledge collaboration.

  • Expand the learning

360 video is on the cusp of taking off to a mass wide level.  360 cameras come in all prices and capabilities (I’ll be providing “what you should look for” as it relates to getting one for training, in my newsletter – first issue this Monday). 

59843815 - virtual reality ,icon and symbol

What they offer is a 360 perspective, because how we see is at a 40 degrees.    Which means we a quick photo is at 40 degrees too.

360 – changes the whole world.  First, it offers a version of VR content as 360 viewing.  

Secondly, if you buy one or two for your training/L&D it empowers your employees to acquire a whole new perspective on the company or the business or their department/division (although, honestly, I’m not sure I want to see Steve waving his donuts at me in 360).

Those smartphone headsets are out there and you do not have to drop a big dime, pound, euro and other types of currency for them.  At the super cheapo rate is Google Cardboard, which runs around $10.  Google Daydream will be a huge seller – it is about $79.

If you have the budget (and who really does these days), but if you do, invest in a couple.  You do not need the other piece – the smartphone – because your employees already have them. 

You are just bringing it to up a notch.  Right now it will be 360, but again, depending on your budget there are vendors out there producing some amazing customized courses in VR, stuff that will make you go, “I want”.   And before you go, ugh, this is going to be outrageous, well it is not in the range of 10-20K,  but I saw one is the 30 to 60K range.  

The point is that the ability to acquire VR customized courses is available now.  The ability for you to create your own 360 VR experience using a 360 camera is available now.  

In the latter category, you use that smartphone headset you purchased for your employees to maximize their engagement experience.

Before you go, “come on Craig, this is going to cost us a lot of money,” no it won’t.

There are smartphone headsets by a lot of manufacturers and the range as you will go from around $10 USD to hundreds of USD, but plenty in the under $80 category.

I quick spin on Amazon and I found a 360 camera for under $80.    So, at cheap level, one Google Cardboard headset (of which 88 million were sold in 2016) and a 360 camera – mmm, $80 total cost.

IF I want to make sure I have a really good headset but do not want to bust the bank,  Daydream – $79 made by Google and I want a really good 360 camera with built-in stitching software so I do not have do it myself (trust me, you won’t) –  Ricoh, I’ll go newest version – $299.

Total cost:  $379-380 excluding tax or VAT.  

Real total cost to the learners’ training and L&D experience?

Invaluable. Later, measurable – ha! (get it, analytics, LMS tracking, hee hee).

Oh, and the approach you take – it is all micro learning!!!  (short bits of 360)

Bottom Line

One of the biggest gripes I hear is how learners will not go back in to the course after it is completed. Here is how you that goes away:

Micro and Mobile.

Trust me, using a 360 camera with a smartphone headset and making a piece of content that people will want to go in and see, and go back and back again, will happen.

Changing the way you view the mobile device and view mobile learning in general, from re-active to pro-active via the usage of mobile engagement, mobile empowerment and mobile app utilization, will push your training and L&D in a whole new, strike that, multiple new ways of knowledge collaboration and learning.

And you can do all of these items with your LMS – as in connecting and uploading the content or pushing out the micro course to their smartphone or tablet (in the latter case, too).

If you are going all in on knowledge reinforcement, what would someone rather see?  A quiz and static photo OR someone in their department or similar job role, video of a way of doing something (i.e. safety) or (access the HRIS)?

Remember WIFM?


They will,

All thru their mobile device.

E-Learning 24/7

Notes:  No post next week, out on holiday.   But, my debut Insight Newsletter, shows up on Monday the 3rd of April.  Then afterwards, every other week.  Sign up for free, (isn’t that the best kind). Your information will never be shared to anyone, period.







Comments are closed.