When it comes to creating or offering professional development for your members, there is no arguing that it’s valuable and necessary. However, for many association professionals, the subsequent response is often, “where do I find the time?”
Whether it’s because of shortening attention times or limited schedules, finding time for learning opportunities is tough, and microlearning may be the solution.
Microlearning can take many forms, including short quizzes, quick explainer videos, term flashcards or even infographics. While there is no specific time constraint, it is recommended for a microlearning opportunity to take less than 15 to 30 minutes, and the consistent throughline on all microlearning definitions is that it should be “bite-sized” and focused on a specific topic.
In the 1880s, German psychologist Hermann Ebbinghaus studied how the passing of time impacted learning. His research determined that information retention deteriorated with time, forming the basis for his “Forgetting Curve.”
According to Mindtools, some of the other important takeaways were:
So what does the “Forgetting Curve” have to do with associations and microlearning?
For associations, e-learning is likely one of the most significant member benefits you provide. However, those massive certification programs and complex coursework could be a barrier for your members.
Not only is their time limited, making it difficult to invest in professional development, but many of the topics are complex, which means they may forget information soon after they’re learning it.
More often than not, this can be addressed by adjusting your learning design – making things more engaging, integrating video, and changing your LMS – but for many organizations, adding microlearning can be a valuable tool for creating more engaging learning experiences.
It’s important to remember that your educational content is not an either/or scenario. You can keep your existing long-form content, but by complimenting that content with microlearning opportunities, your members can enjoy critical benefits:
We know your members’ time is limited, but they’re still looking for valuable learning content. So what can you do? While a lot goes into creating microlearning content, there are ways to get some easy wins early on.
For associations, creating learning opportunities for your members is a top priority. While your traditional coursework and content can be a powerful tool, understanding the needs and limitations of your members is also essential.
When time is limited and member needs often depend on role changes or disruptions to their industry, creating bite-sized content to address these specific issues can be a huge asset. Whether that’s quick videos or even an infographic on key concepts or terms, experimenting with microlearning can be the next frontier for your organization.
Jose Triana joined the Sidecar team as the Content Manager in 2021. He is a writer and creative focused on helping purpose-driven organizations learn and find value online. When he isn't working on content, you can catch him going for a run or resting with a good book.
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