Microlearning for Increased Engagement
It’s no secret that attention spans have been getting ever shorter as consumers have become constantly bombarded by content on all sides. In fact, in 2015 Microsoft published a study showing that average attention spans had dropped to just eight seconds. The simple fact is that people are no longer willing to sit through long videos to get the content they want, let alone read a lengthy written explanation to learn how something works. This has created a conundrum for many companies that increasingly want to engage with and educate customers about their products when those same customers are barely willing to watch a video for longer than 30 seconds before getting bored. As a result, progressive companies are starting to take advantage of microlearning to bridge this gap.
Microlearning is a term that encompasses delivery of multiple kinds of informational “micro” content that can be quickly and easily consumed on-the-go in less than a minute. Tweets obviously come to mind as the pioneer in this space, but these days microlearning could be a 30 second video, a few images, a blog post just a paragraph long, or even a mini game with points and rewards. The key aspects of microlearning are that it be brief, informative, relevant, and easy to consume. It should seamlessly fit into the stream of information that customers (or employees) receive in their daily lives without ever seeming onerous or useless.
What might this look like? Let’s take the example of a car dealership that wants to remain engaged with buyers after they purchase a vehicle. Traditionally, this would have meant a combination of physical mail, a giant owner’s manual, lengthy emails, and long pages of content on the manufacturer’s website. In a microlearning world, the dealership might send a single text message with a link to a 30 second video on how to use some of your new car’s features. A follow up app notification a week later might point to a 3-question survey and a one-page FAQ for owners, and a one-paragraph email another 3 months later might remind customers to setup a free oil change by simply replying with a desired time to schedule an appointment.
There are many benefits to this approach. First, the shorter your content is the more likely your customers or employees are to actually look at it and thus learn from it. Additionally, microlearning lends itself well to a continuous trickle that keeps people engaged with your brand and constantly learning more about your products instead of coming back only when something breaks. Microlearning also has the advantage of giving customers and employees the option of moving to longer and denser content if and only if they actually want it. And on top of all this, engagement metrics built on a microlearning platform can help companies get feedback on what works and what doesn’t more quickly and more often than with traditional content.
But as with any approach, microlearning comes with its own set of challenges that organizations need to be prepared to address:
- Choosing the right length. Although one of the key parts of microlearning is its brevity, it can still be challenging to choose the the right length between, for example, a 10 second video and a 40 second one. Delivering just the right amount of content for recipients is tricky.
- Delivering with the right frequency. Send information too often and you run the risk of people feeling spammed and opting out of content delivery entirely. Too seldom and you risk losing engagement with your brand.
- Building the right content mix. A good microlearning strategy needs to combine text, video, web, and notification content into a cohesive whole. Getting this mix right depends a lot on what your customers expect on the platforms they use.
- Delivery method. Sending all your content via SMS might not be best if your customers expect in-app notifications or emails instead. Choosing the right combination of platforms without duplicating messages requires proper planning.
The best way to manage these challenges and get started is to think about how to integrate microlearning into your overall marketing and product engagement plans and consider what channels and content formats your customers or employees use the most. Additionally, many companies would be well-served by adopting microlearning management and delivery platforms like ConveYour and TalentCards to make messaging campaigns easy to manage. And of course, as with any content strategy it is vital to make sure you have a data management plan in place to get insights out of content interaction instead of just clicks. But no matter what strategy you adopt, microlearning offers big wins in a small package.