Powering Microlearning with Video

New numbers from Bersin by Deloitte suggest that just 1% of a typical working week is devoted to training and development activities.

For an average week, that works out to just 24 minutes — only a handful more than will be spent idly waiting for a laptop run through its morning startup paces.

It’s a small number that represents an enormous challenge — after all, the need to support rapid skills acquisition has become more pressing than ever all across the workforce.

Against this backdrop, with never quite enough time or attention available for in-depth professional development, pressure has mounted on learning and development teams to deliver the kind of ‘just-in-time learning’ that is needed to help employees tackle new challenges effectively. And that, in turn, has spurred significant interest in a new concept in employee training: microlearning.



Microlearning: Single-skill-specific training.

While the industry still hasn’t quite settled on the exact definition of the term, The eLearning Coach has offered a useful interpretation. At the organizational level, the authors contend, microlearning can be understood as “the planned organization of brief learning experiences designed to meet an extended learning goal.”

A microlearning strategy seeks to offer employees access to bite-sized learning resources that are quick and easy to absorb. While microlearning won’t address all of an organization’s learning needs, of course, it can be a particularly effective approach in a number of scenarios, including:

  • where essential information is updated regularly,
  • where workers have specific knowledge gaps that need to be filled,
  • or in situations where employees may find it difficult to retain the specifics of certain ideas, concepts or skills.


The benefits behind the microlearning buzz.

From an organization’s perspective, microlearning can help plug skills gaps without the need to build extensive training programs or take workers away from their day jobs for long periods of time.

From an employee’s perspective, the ability to review short clips on-demand offers a chance to get up to speed with new ideas quickly and rapidly upgrade skills in a particular area, as well as the opportunity to consolidate learning through reinforcement.

And at a time when an increasing numbers of employees work remotely or travel frequently, the need to facilitate efficient knowledge sharing – often via mobile devices – only grows in importance.


A few early best practices for microlearning initiatives.

For many organizations, video has become the microlearning tool of choice. You can see why in this example video:


Microlearning video is often more efficient to produce, and results in a more engaging final product. Rather than writing lengthy documentation or developing all the requisite slides and animations for a shareable deck, an instructional designer or subject matter expert can simply record a short clip of themselves narrating a particular process or program. The short new training content can be complete just as soon as they press the button to stop recording.

The simplicity and flexibility of recording — especially on mobile devices, where most people are already familiar with capturing video — means that if a staff member acquires a new insight or needs to communicate a policy change or revised procedure at speed, they have the tools to do so readily at hand.


An “Enterprise YouTube” makes microlearning smarter.

Given that the essence of microlearning centers on rapid content production and consumption, companies that are considering using video in this way don’t need to think along the lines of a traditional, expensive, large-scale AV production approach. However, leaving staff to figure out video on their own also poses problems.

Without smart support for training video, it’s difficult for employees to add multimedia elements like PowerPoint slides or additional video feeds in their microlearning recordings. Likewise, even after the content has been created, ensuring the videos are shared with the right people at the right times can be a minefield without an internal video library.

It’s with issues like these where a video platform like Panopto can help. A robust video content management system underpinning your microlearning initiative will provide the flexibility to record a broad range of training content regardless of device, location or connectivity, as well as the structure to make the management and distribution of this content simple and secure.

Your video platform can even help facilitate employees searching for specific information, making it possible to find and instantly fast-forward to any word spoken or shown on-screen in every video. Gathered together into a centralized video library, it becomes possible to place these bite-sized learning chunks into a wider context for employee-driven professional development, with microlearning content shared alongside longer on-demand training materials.


If you want to explore how video can enhance learning and development at your organization – whether through microlearning or longer form multimedia content – you can request a demo from a member of our team or take a free trial.

Published: February 12, 2016