Author: Amanda Rosewarne, Director of CPD Accreditation and Research, The CPD Standards Office

E-Learning platforms and micro-learning tools may be quick ways for your employees to learn but we believe at the CPD Standards Office, training must still remain high quality in order to make online learning strategies effective.

Search, click, and learn

The rise of handheld mobile and tablet technology makes it possible for anyone anywhere to learn on the go. Deloitte’s 2015 annual mobile consumer survey found that ‘76% of UK adults now own a smartphone’ and ‘collectively, UK consumers look at their smartphones over a billion times a day’.

In 2016 and going forward, technology is advancing the way people learn online and can provide easy access to e-learning and micro-learning tools. These tools are being used by businesses to develop learning strategies to close skills and knowledge gaps of their employees.

By developing online micro-learning tools for mobile technology, organisations can update learning content quickly to keep apace with changing information. In short, mobile and micro-learning give short perspective in a course and the learner studies in short bite-sized chunks over an extended period.

With this trend there must be high standards which ensure the provision of micro-learning are conducive to how people learn. Trainers, mentors and coaches must avoid developing online micro-learning modules that fail to help their clients learn anything and be ineffective for businesses.

The quality of micro-learning courses must not digress to keep apace with the demand of technology. Bite-size micro-learning does not mean cutting up already established course content and emailing it out. What is more strategic is to develop content that is designed to help the learner plan and evaluate his or her own learning.

It is important to think about the learning outcomes and what the learner will take away from each bite-sized chunk in the micro-learning course. It is widely reported that a timeslot of 3-7 minutes maximises learning and matches working memory capacity. Therefore, people will benefit over a longer period, if studying is completed in short bursts and on-the-go.

Keeping learning activities short and concise will enable your learners to retain small amounts of information in their continuously demanding and modern lifestyle.

Five tools, five standards

Here are five online micro-learning tools and tips to ensure high learning standards are maintained:

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The future

Although micro-learning per se is not a new term, phrase or terminology, it is becoming increasingly popular on newer technology. Online platforms are revolutionizing the way people choose to learn at work and online micro-learning tools are here to stay.

Alongside the technology trend is the driving force of the tech-savvy millennial workforce rising through the ranks. It is crucial to develop a micro-learning strategy to fit their needs of this generation. Forbes (2015) said that by 2020 the millennial generation will be 46% of the working population but they have short attention spans and are super confidant and digitally driven.

Grovo (2015), a mobile e-learning platform, says 60% of millennial generation will leave their workplace within 3 years. Keeping this generation involved in their learning particularly through micro-learning courses which can be accessed anytime anywhere will promote learning on a daily basis and keep them engaged with their own career development. It will justify their purpose inside the organisation.

Keeping learning going, on-the-go

The CPD market is growing and for many professional areas there is increasing regulation. Micro-learning constitutes as ‘CPD’ which can be added to CPD records and help retain learners in an organisation. To keep a professional engaged, micro-learning courses should ensure the learner can log their CPD points and hours through the online platform to gain something tangible after completing the course.

In the CPD Standards Office, we value making training accessible and quality assured and provide accredited trainers with certificates that state the number of CPD points and hours their course offers learners.

We assess online trainers who provide online micro-learning courses that meet high standards and if they add value to the learner’s knowledge. The training provider should give clear learning outcomes, objectives and help properly evaluate performance and the learner must feel they have achieved and remembered the content and able to effectively contribute to their role and organisation.

The Continuing Professional Development (CPD) Standards Office works to improve the standard of CPD provision across all industry sectors. It forms part of the Professional Development Consortium (PDC), respected by regulators, professional bodies and trade associations for its work with organisations undertaking research and accreditation services.

Organisations accredited by the Office are identified as offering a high level of positive learning opportunities, and as working with the CPD Standards community to raise skills, knowledge and education. The Office assesses training courses, events, digital and online learning provided by organisations as well as individual coaches and speakers. For more information visit cpdstandards.com; visit CPD Standards exhibition stand at Membership Excellence 2016 conference.

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