A growing consensus suggests that microlearning will be the future of L&D. Tailor-made for millennials and Generation Z, this new philosophy of education seems set to dominate the world of online learning.
We have easier access to information than ever before. 2021 seems like a learner’s paradise. But there’s a dark side to all of this: your e-learning content faces stiff competition.
The lure of your LMS needs to be more enticing than Netflix, social media, and mobile games. Microlearning can be part of the solution.
You can probably guess what microlearning is from the name: learning delivered in bite-sized bits. But size is subjective. So how long should microlearning be?
Microlearning Gets Macro Results
But first, we’ll give you a micro crash course on microlearning.
Microlearning is more of a philosophy than something you can point to. The foundation of this philosophy is that, rather than emphasizing long-form learning content, you should use plenty of short materials, too.
Microlearning can take nearly any form. It could be a podcast, and infographic, a quiz, or a video. Just keep it short.
Keep in mind that macrolearning still matters. Short learning materials don’t count as microlearning if they exist in a vacuum. Longer learning opportunities need to exist, too. But microlearning can work toward those macro goals.
Here are some microlearning examples to get your gears turning:
Brief, informational writing (think blog posts and handouts)
For the purposes of this blog, we’ll refer primarily to the runtime of audio and video, which is far-and-away the favorite microlearning format. But the philosophy we’ll share today can apply to any learning material.
The Ideal Microlearning Length
Now, onto the question at hand: how long should microlearning be?
Historically, education has been dominated by roughly hour-long sessions. These alone won’t cut it in the digital age.
Think back to the last event you attended. Were you able to give speakers your full, undivided attention for the duration of their talks?
No matter how interesting the content, attention ebbs and flows. It’s only human. We’ve become accustomed to a fast paced, constant flow of information. We should deliver learning in brief bursts, too, if it should have any chance at keeping up.
So what’s the ideal microlearning length? Here’s our rule of thumb: 10 minutes or less.
Every rule of thumb has its limits, and this one does too. There can definitely be exceptions (more on that later).
Our Rationale Behind the Ideal Microlearning Length
A search on the web for the average human attention span will yield shockingly disparate results.
There is a persistent myth that the millennial attention span is no longer than that of a goldfish, or around 8 seconds. Writers all over the internet have parroted this claim.
Don’t believe it. This idea does a disservice to your learners (and probably goldfish, too). Experts have debunked this claim over and over again.
Others have suggested that somewhere closer to 15 minutes is more accurate. Yet this compelling article from the American Physiological Society shows that even these more generous claims were dredged up from murky data.
Ultimately, attention span is hard to measure. It exists on a spectrum, so often there is no black and white distinction between “paying attention” and “not paying attention.” You can never pinpoint the precise moment when attention declines.
Still, there is overwhelming evidence that consumers have come to prefer shorter content. You might think that the most downloaded app of 2020 was Zoom. In fact, it was TikTok.
Millions of people across the world sunk countless hours into an app that specialized in videos under 60 seconds in length (they’ve since boosted the cap to 3 minutes).
TikTok is for entertainment, not education. But its wild popularity has big implications for e-learning.
When determining how long microlearning should be, we settled on 10 minutes as a good goal to shoot for. This gives you enough time to get a whole lot of information across,
Not only does this break your learning materials into more convenient and digestible chunks for your learners, but it forces educators to think differently, too. Learning how to cut out the fluff and compress your message into a smaller timeframe is a useful exercise for all.
How Micro Is Too Micro?
Then there’s the follow-up question: how short is too short for microlearning?
Again, there are no hard and fast rules about what qualifies as microlearning and what doesn’t. But if we had to answer, we’d say that anything under 1 minute is unlikely to have substantial educational value for your learners.
That’s right—we’ve seen plenty of success with videos around 2 minutes in length. We use them ourselves. 120 seconds is probably longer than you give it credit for, and you can squeeze plenty of information in that timeframe.
A Better Rule of Thumb?
But there might be a better answer to this question: your microlearning content can be as short as you want it to be.
Like we mentioned earlier, microlearning is more of a mindset than anything else. The point is not to inflate your learning content when you’ve said what you want to say. You should always stop recording when you’ve made your point.
Remember that microlearning is more of a mindset than anything else. As you put together your learning portfolio, ask yourself:
Can I get this message across in a more succinct way?
Are there ample microlearning opportunities in my portfolio?
Learners crave diversity. Sprinkling elements of microlearning throughout your LMS will keep them learning their best.
Implement Microlearning with Elevate LMS
Our award-winning learning management system, Elevate, has all the tools you need to unleash the potential of microlearning. Mix and match the modules you need to create a diverse and engaging learning portfolio.
Your learners will get out of your Learning Management System (LMS) what they put into it. To make the most of any online learning platform, you need to engage learners virtually. LMS engagement initiatives will make the difference between an all-star elearning strategy and a middling one.
We want you to make the most of your learning management system. These proven learner engagement strategies will help you do exactly that.
We live in a world where most of us pay for our fair share of subscriptions. But we don’t always utilize the services we pay for as often as we should. Sometimes, you might even forget about them. Still, a simple email can call you right back.
You can use the site news tool in Elevate LMS to the same effect. Use it to remind learners of newly added content, upcoming events, as well as older content they might have missed. A well-written email will get your learners to engage with your LMS in no time.
As the old saying goes, variety is the spice of life. This applies as well to e-learning as it does to anything else.
Formal, curriculum-based learning has its place. But a complete education consists of more than just textbook and tests.
Diversify your learning portfolio as much as you can for better LMS engagement. Keep the learning experience from becoming mundane with the following educational tools:
Podcasts and other informal learning opportunities
When you incorporate this kind of variety into your LMS, you’ll realize it can even be just as easy engaging your learners online as in person.
If your learners can only access your LMS when they sit down in front of a computer, then learner engagement will suffer. But if they can access it from their cell phone? That’s a whole different story.
Ease of access will make a world of difference for your LMS engagement levels. We’ve made Elevate LMS mobile functional, so learners can squeeze in quick microlearning sessions on the go.
Speaking of convenience, you know what’s really inconvenient? Juggling countless different passwords. If simply signing into an LMS is an obstacle, engagement will decline.
We streamline this process by incorporating SSO, or single sign-on. This plays a small but significant role in our quest to engage learners virtually.
We believe that online learning experiences can be every bit as impactful as in-person ones. But we also recognize that a social component is essential for creating a more meaningful educational experience.
The more you look into how to engage learners virtually, the more you will realize that learning can’t exist without community.
Here’s the good news: online learning and community aren’t mutually exclusive. A good LMS will enable social, peer-to-peer learning.
Take the example of Elevate. Our learning management system offers forums and has an extensive integration with Higher Logic, an online community engagement platform. Let these social learning tools live at the center of your learner engagement strategy.
Engage Learners Virtually with Elevate LMS
Your organization’s education goals are bold. Elevate LMS can help you meet them. It contains all the tools you need to engage learners virtually and create a culture of learning.
Our award-winning online learning platform has helped hundreds of associations and nonprofits make their L&D aspirations a reality. Will yours be next?
When you’re ready to take your education strategy to new heights, get in touch with us. Reach out to Meghan Gowen at email@example.com. For more content like this, keep up with us on Twitter and LinkedIn.
Symphony Technology Group Acquires CommPartners, a Leading SaaS Provider of Learning Management System Software and Virtual Events
PALO ALTO, CA — Symphony Technology Group (“STG”), a leading Palo Alto-based private equity firm focused on investing in the software, data analytics and software-enabled technology services sectors, today announced that it has acquired CommPartners, a Columbia, Maryland-based learning management system (“LMS”), hybrid and virtual events company primarily serving the association market. The acquisition underscores STG’s commitment to building a unique, market-leading software platform offering continuing education, professional development, events, learning and content management solutions to associations, non- profits, healthcare & life sciences organizations.
CommPartners marks STG’s fourth investment in this platform following the acquisition of CadmiumCD, EthosCE, and Warpwire in 2020.
The entire CommPartners team will be joining the new entity that will be created through the integration of the four companies.
Over the coming months, the CommPartners team will work with the aforementioned entities to merge into one unified learning and events platform. With CommPartners bringing all of their products and services into the acquisition, the new platform will include many benefits familiar to their customers including the following:
Support for curriculum-based education, live webinar and webcasts, informal or just- in- time learning and community.
An elevated live stream experience complete with transitions, music, custom branding, and other crucial production elements to create exceptional professional education.
The seamless transition of events to enduring online education programs.
The CommPartners acquisition is part of a larger strategy by STG to build the world’s most-loved technology platform powering world-class events and enduring educational experiences. This fourth acquisition brings STG one step closer to simplifying the production of events while maximizing the value of online learning with a single, flexible platform designed to capture the chemistry of people, ideas, and knowledge.
“We are thrilled to be a part of STG’s platform of world-class education experiences,” said CommPartners co-founder and CEO, Rich Finstein. “Our Elevate Learning Management System will enrich STG’s ecosystem and enable organizations to offer and support a wide range of learning outcomes. In addition, we now are able to provide our association customers and members an all-in-one solution for onsite, hybrid and virtual learning experiences.”
“We are very excited to bring CommPartners into our expanding portfolio of industry-leading products and scale it even further by investing in new solution areas and complementary acquisitions,” said Rushi Kulkarni, Principal at STG.
About CommPartners CommPartners helps organizations conceive, develop and fulfill their education strategy. The company’s mission is to position their clients as the premiere source for knowledge within their communities. CommPartners’ solutions begin with Elevate LMS, the award-winning learning platform. To extend the value of Elevate, CommPartners provides a wide range of online education services including curriculum design, instructional design, webinars, webcasts, livestream programs and virtual conferences.
About Symphony Technology Group STG is the private equity partner to market leading companies in data, software, and analytics. The firm brings expertise, flexibility, and resources to build strategic value and unlock the potential of innovative companies. Partnering to build customer-centric, market winning portfolio companies, STG creates sustainable foundations for growth that bring value to all existing and future stakeholders. The firm is dedicated to transforming and building outstanding technology companies in partnership with world class management teams. STG’s expansive portfolio has consisted of more than 35 global companies.
Columbia, MD – CommPartners, a leading provider of online education and event solutions to associations, is pleased to announce the next generation of Elevate Conference Platform features. CommPartners developed these updates in consultation with clients after producing several hundred virtual conferences in 2020. Organizations recognized that they could increase attendance and reach new markets with compelling online experiences by providing these events to their communities. This coming year, it will be important to continue the trends towards greater attendee engagement and positive learning outcomes.
New features for 2021 include:
Trade Show Improvements: With the new Exhibitor Module, plus new engagement features and advanced analytics, virtual trade show participants will have greater independence and return on their investment.
Reporting Tools: Use new tools like the Web Content Attendance Report to produce trackable data for more actionable analytics.
Networking Tools: Enhancements to the Connect Module and the addition of the Discussion Widget will provide peer engagement opportunities through topical conversations and direct networking.
Attendee Engagement: Interactive attendee maps, conference directories, and a schedule planner are just a few of the enhancements that will be available for attendees.
Visual Enhancements: New app-like designs will provide an attractive presentation of your event and allow attendees a simple way to navigate to program content.
The new features will be available for current users of CommPartners’ Elevate LMS or as a standalone site.
In a summary of this past year, Richard Finstein, CommPartners CEO, shared,
“It has been a year of growth as we were able to respond to our clients’ needs in 2020. It’s upon us now to continue to meet those needs for virtual and hybrid events as we begin this next year. We are excited to bring these new features to our client community.”
Some features are available now, and CommPartners will release the rest of the features throughout the first half of 2021. To learn more about the features and CommPartners Virtual Conference services, please contact Meghan Gowen at firstname.lastname@example.org.
About CommPartners CommPartners provides online education and event services to the association community. Our mission is to provide a well-planned and intelligent approach to sharing knowledge, with a core focus on creating positive user experiences. Over 1,300 associations have selected CommPartners to manage their eLearning programs. The CommPartners team is diverse, and together they share a common passion: to be strategic thinkers, dedicated to advancing a client’s mission through exceptional education programs.
Whether COVID-19 restrictions have eased in your area or you’re planning for the future, hybrid events are a great way to blend in-person and virtual events.
What is a hybrid event?
A hybrid event is a conference, tradeshow, webinar, meeting, etc., that brings together on-site and virtual elements into one event.
How to choose a virtual event platform:
For a hybrid event to be successful, identifying a user-friendly platform that parallels the in-person event for the online audience is just as important. Here are some features to consider when looking into a platform:
Engagement Tools: Engagement and networking tools for your virtual audience are critical, be sure to find a platform that meets your interaction goals.
Event Management: Determine if you need assistance from an event production team. A hybrid event has many moving parts, and it’s sometimes helpful to have a team apart from your own who knows the ins and outs to manage this kind of event.
Customization Options: To present a clean and professional look, you’ll want to make sure your platform can be customized to your organization’s branding.
Broadcast Capabilities: Decide how you plan to broadcast your event. Are you streaming live? On-demand? Streaming to social media? Will it be a single session or a multi-room conference? Be sure your platform and multimedia team can handle it.
Registration and Analytics: Find a platform that can process registration and track key analytics all in one place.
How to create impact with a hybrid event:
Once you’ve chosen your platform, it’s time to plan an impactful hybrid event. Hybrid events are unique because you can reach larger audiences, increase engagement and ROI, and allow flexibility and creativity. As the event host, you can create an engaging event for your attendees with these tips:
Blend your audiences: Find ways to combine your in-person and virtual audiences. If your in-person audience engages directly with the presenters, be sure your virtual audience can respond virtually through chat, social media, or any other tools your platform offers. You may need special moderators to ensure your online audience is seen and heard. Consider a live and/or virtual emcee to create personal connections with both audiences
Present Creatively: Use a myriad of presentation options from live presenters to videos, demos, PowerPoints, and screen sharing. Switching up your presentation style will keep your audiences engaged in your content, whether on-site or enjoying the event from their own home.
Sponsors, Sponsors, Everywhere: Your hybrid event opens the doors for lots of sponsorship opportunities. Offer both in-person and virtual expo halls, ad spaces before livestream and pre-recorded content, and create visibility packages that put your sponsor’s logo throughout the place-based event as well as your virtual site.
Turn your event into on-demand content: Turn your event evergreen by recording sessions and repurposing them later. If you have an LMS or Learning Management System, you can store event content within the LMS as a non-dues revenue source.
Don’t forget to market your event: Understanding your audience and marketing your event is an essential step to creating an impactful hybrid event. Don’t stop at email and social media campaigns before the event. Livestream the most exciting parts of the event to your social channels to encourage engagement. Try providing your virtual attendees a newsletter directly to their inbox so they know what to expect each day of the event. There is a lot of opportunities to market your event, so get creative!
Ensure your in-person audience is safe: Every state has different guidelines for in-person gatherings. If you decide to have an in-person audience, be sure you follow all the health and safety guidelines for your area to keep your audience safe. If your organization isn’t ready for a hybrid event just yet, there are entirely virtual options.
To plan, execute, and deliver an impactful hybrid event, it’s important to find the right solution that meets your organization and event’s goals. Learn more about CommPartners’ hybrid solutions and contact email@example.com for more information.