Vortex of the Workplace and Microlearning Fix – Tip #164

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In the 1997 disaster adventure film, Twister, Helen Hunt and Bill Paxton are storm-chasers researching tornadoes. They figure out a way to get the hurricane’s speed, directions, and behavior by positioning their machine inside the eye of the hurricane. Once inside, the machine pops up hundreds of small spheres with sensors inside that gather the data and sends it to the researchers for record-keeping and analysis. These spheres are about the size of a baseball. Anything bigger will not work because the size and the weight have to be just right for the spheres to fly off inside the vortex of the hurricane. These small orbs are like Microlearning units of anything – content, knowledge, solutions, software, peers, records, etc. Like the spheres, Microlearning can only work well if the size is small.

Whenever we discuss Microlearning, it must be within the context of a vortex of the workplace. The vortex in this case is not a hurricane, but an environment of rapid change, constant technological innovations, transformation of businesses, and continuous improvement of workers.

Whatever we do with Microlearning within the vortex of the workplace, we have to contend with these realities:

We cannot slow down
It is constantly moving and morphing
It is unpredictable
It is hard to measure and monitor
It spins and is packed with power and energy
It has a life of its own

This brings us to the realization that the vortex of the workplace should be approached with a versatile mindset and extremely flexible solutions. The form of solutions and knowledge changes so quickly that it is advantageous to pay attention to the application of the key core principles and beliefs rather than the format and method. Let us not to equate Microlearning as merely one form of method or approach. For example, many practitioners think of Microlearning as just a small video. Creating videos is one form and method of encapsulating content. A PDF, text message, or just one image can still be Microlearning as long as it can provide what’s needed right now or solve an issue. How and where Microlearning is used must be tested against a standard of usefulness.

The core benefits of Microlearning – low effort, easy, fast and immediately applied – is best appreciated when viewed in the context of the vortex of the workplace.

Related Tips

Tip #67 – How to Add Depth to Micro-Ideas
Tip #129 – Why Does Microlearning Mean Better Learning?
Tip #143 – The Bumblebee Effect: How Digital Learners Interact with Information

Ray Jimenez, PhD
Vignettes Learning
“Helping Learners Learn Their Way”