Advancements in digital learning methods and strategies in the past few years have led to certain digital learning trends such as microlearning and gamification making their place in employee learning and development as necessary additions. However, whereas until now gamification and microlearning were used by corporate organizations separately in their L&D programs, learning professionals have now understood that using a combination of microlearning and gamification can get them ever better results by increasing knowledge retention and increasing employee engagement many times over. But what makes microlearning and gamification such a potent combination? In this article, we’ll discuss exactly that. But in order to do that, let’s first look at both these digital learning strategies separately, and then together.
The reason microlearning is hailed in L&D circles is because it is best suited to help the modern learner absorb and retain information. The modern learner has gotten used to short, focused content, and thus, have a reduced attention span. Because microlearning offers learning in short, concentrated bursts, with each module built to achieve a specific learning outcome, it is able to cut through redundant noise and deliver only relevant information to the learner. Another reason why microlearning is an amazing learning strategy suited to the modern learner is the fact that it goes hand-in-hand with mobile learning, which in itself is a digital learning strategy which has become a necessity in modern times. Every modern individual has a smartphone these days, and delivering microlearning modules to these individuals on their smartphones means that they can learn and develop knowledge and skills anytime they want, anywhere they might be. Microlearning without mobile learning is now unheard of, unless of course executed by novice learning managers who don’t know what they’re doing. This is why when we talk about microlearning, it is understood that it involves the use of mobile learning.
Gamification unlike what a number of individuals believe, does not mean transforming digital learning courses into games. It simply means using the principles and elements used in gaming in digital learning courses to make sure that learners stay engaged and motivated throughout the duration of the courses. When learners stay engaged during a course, the learning present in the course sticks to their minds better. Other elements used in the gamification of digital learning courses include a storyline to establish their learning journey, characters to help them emotionally connect with their learning, levels to give them a sense of progress, points, badges, achievements and rewards to give them intrinsic motivation as well as a leaderboard to develop a spirit of healthy competition against their peers.
The Combination Of Microlearning And Gamification
You have seen how microlearning and gamification work separately and their consecutive benefits. But when microlearning and gamification are combined, their benefits increase manifold. The combination of gamification and microlearning also allows digital learning professionals to work with almost any subject, no matter how tiresome or boring it may be. Microlearning modules can be gamified to create mini-game like tasks that focus on each learning outcome. These gamified microlearning nuggets can be used to provide a number of benefits to learners including increased engagement levels for the learners, better completion rates, better application of concepts learned to job/tasks at hand, better ROI for the organization, meeting the business and training goals with greater ease. eLearning designers can create a number of mini-arcade games by using the above mentioned features of both microlearning and gamification to target engagement and retention in learners. Having a look at mini-games in real-life can help designers understand how they can turn concepts and theories into simple activities where the goal is to score points, level up and win badges.
Modern digital learning requires mixed strategies that use activity-based microlearning nuggets, or gamified microlearning nuggets that can be accessed on a smartphone. Although this does require careful planning, development and deployment, the results are worth the effort. These modern formats are completely learner-centric, which is why they work, and are liked by learners too. If your organization uses gamification, and/or microlearning in its employee learning and development program, it is time you level up and start using the combined forces of gamification and microlearning. You’ll be amazed at the results.