Using Commonplace Microtechnologies in Your Microlearning Strategies – Workshop Tip # 260

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(Special thanks to Espen Lund of Tomra for sharing ideas)

Have you ever thought of a kitchen spatula as microtechnology? It’s true. Whenever we cook at home, we are using a whole bunch of microtechnologies. These are commonplace tools like a spatula, knife, pan, stove, and saltshaker. They are so common we use them without a lot of thought. Nevertheless, they are technologies, microsystems, microtechnologies

Finding and Defining Microlearning

Most often, microlearning is referred to merely as a small chunk of content. But its importance is beyond just bite-sized information as it can affect an entire process. This is why it is essential to dig deeper and find out the ways that microlearning employs various microtechnologies. Doing this can add a dramatic impact to your content. 

For our purposes, we define microlearning as “helping workers/learners fix, solve, and improve work issues.” I purposely put my focus on the process of acting and doing. Of course, small chunks of content is still a part of this. However, at the center is “fixing, solving, and improving work issues.”

Given this definition, let’s implement microlearning with a focus on “microlearning instances.These are instances at work when learners/workers fix, solve, and improve work to produce results. We can also refer to this as “microlearning transactions.”

Click and play the video below and identify microtechnologies and microlearning instances in action. The video is about SightCall.

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Microtechnologies as Strategies

As mentioned above, microtechnologies are ever-present in microlearning. We don’t often recognize them, but they have always been part of the process. In this section, let me share the key elements in using microtechnologies to produce microlearning instances

A Work Conditions and Micro-Instances
In this video, a repair technician is working remotely with the central office support team to solve a customer problem. Workers want to fix, solve, and improve the problem with the motorcycle. This is an opportunity for microlearning.
B Customer / Field Technician Side
The field technician initiates the call. They are with the customer. They are using microtechnologies – a smartphone, FaceTime, video, photos, QR codes, CRM,, and the ordering system
C Central Office Support Staff
At the other end are the customer support team. They are using a desktop computer, and the same microtechnologies – video, photos, QR codes, CRM,, and the ordering system
D Microtechnologies Enablement
Microtechnologies enable microlearning instances or transactions. They accelerate fixing, solving, and improving work issues. Both technicians and the customer make the process seamless. While the workers are doing work, they are learning. They use the relevant tools as an aid in accomplishing the end results.
Key Insights and How to Apply Them
1. Key Insight: There are results which cannot be achieved without microtechnologies such as showing QR codes so technicians can pull out the record or instantly check the records – warranties, last service, etc.
Application: In your organization, investigate where the workers use technologies that help them accomplish microlearning instances. Typically, they are in the operations part of the business. Have a conversation and learn how these methods can be applied in microlearning
2. Key Insight: Expand your microlearning definition and implementation.
Application: Look beyond the content. Content alone does not produce results. It is the use of micro-content in creating microlearning instances and transactions that ultimately produces results. This form of microlearning is called micro-actions.
3. Key Insight: Microtechnologies are commonplace and often overlooked.
Application: Test and experiment with the use of microtechnologies in implementing microlearning.

These are examples:
1. Encourage text messaging in exchanging micro-answers
2. Add QR Codes in equipment that connects to micro-content.
3. Provide chatbots for references.
4. Use Wikis to report work incidents and ask workers to describe the issue and their solutions with short comments. These real-world solutions provide much needed answers to others in the organization.
5. Find opportunities where micro-content is embedded in the equipment and software application, e.g., CRM, logistics, sales, and others.
6. Adding beacons as a form of distribution micro-content and solutions.

One final test of a good microlearning implementation is when workers/learners quickly fix, solve, and improve work by using microtechnologies. Remember, they value solutions and timely answers.

6 Most Popular Microlearning Ideas- Flashcards, Mapping, Short PDFs, etc. – Workshop Tip #258
Microlearning Tip: “Let Your Fingers Do the Talking” – Workshop Tip #216
A Paradigm Shift in Leadership in Workflow Learning – Workshop Tip #237

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

Vignettes Learning Workshops
1. The New Learning Architect
2. Developing Critical Thinking for Modern Learners
3. Microlearning for Disruptive Results
4. Instructional and Experience Design for Workflow Learning
5. The Masterful Virtual Trainer Online Workshop
6. Hyper Story-Based eLearning Design Workshop
7. Training Frontline Leaders as Learning Accelerators
8. HYBRID Remote and Hands-on Training
9. Advanced Skills in Webinars