Micro-learning 101

Compressing knowledge into bite-sized stories is not easy. We are here to help you learn how to create compelling story-based courses.

Chapter 1: Why this guide exists

Corporate training needs a rework

Most employees dread training. It's a time-consuming obligation they can easily coast through if unsupervised. Plain texts and overloaded videos send learners to sleep and aren't compelling forms of communication for digital natives; even when packaged in mobile versions or overloaded with badges. Lengthy — though useful — courses struggle to keep the attention of today's heavily distracted learners. And since attention and impact are critical for learning, this means corporate learning in its current state is broken.

More than 500 million people share their posts and stories on Instagram and Snapchat daily. And it's not just about sharing filtered pics anymore. These apps have transformed into powerful communication tools for digital natives. Even the US government has realized the power of Kylie Jenner's Instagram to urge Millennials to stay home during the Coronavirus quarantine. So, why not take advantage of this format to further your business goals?

7taps in a nutshell

7taps is a story-based training platform with inbuilt micro-learning techniques. Instead of continuous courses, 7taps implements snackable story cards, dished up in a series, and baked to be consumed in no more than 10 minutes.

7taps is ideal for memorizing facts and basic how-tos. It's an immediate problem-solving tool for the following business tasks:

  • Onboarding and welcome training
  • Product training
  • Sales and customer service training
  • Frontline staff training
  • Deskless workforce trainingAnd more

You can teach almost any topic, breaking it down into bite-sized and easily digestible units presented in words. Training in more complex topics such as Engineering or Accounting is not recommended.

Micro-learning in 7taps doesn’t mean a primitive repackaging of existing courses into dozens of new small ones. No magic will happen without diligent planning. Carefully scrutinize your existing content, condense it to its very essence, and create independent, well-structured learning units to make up the whole picture.

Let’s take a closer look at how this is done.

Chapter 2. Course planning

Know your audience

Have in mind the typical employee you are addressing: age, work experience, education, etc. This target-persona base will keep you from overwhelming or boring the users. Wording and case studies should all be familiar to learners, and they should be appropriate for their current roles and background.

If you plan to get a subcontractor to create a course for you, make sure they’re also aware of the target audience. If you don’t, you'll end up with content, which doesn’t fit the bill.

Before diving into content creation, make a course outline

To design a good course: define the concrete outcome, devise a solid structure, and build upon that structure.

  1. Determine one learning outcome you want to achieve. For example, The learner can identify three types of aggressive customers and knows at least one technique of dealing with each of them. Stick to this throughout the design process.
  2. Identify content that is relevant to your learning goal: what information is crucial to fill the gap between what employees know now and what they need to know? How-tos, dos, and don'ts are preferred. Make a brief of information you are likely to use in bullet points.
  3. Reread what you have, delete the unnecessary, and bring the point home.

Cross out good-to-know-information that doesn't affect the outcome directly. Omit background information, theories, and history to avoid content dumping.

7taps course components

Course titleJust like you, learners don't like to commit their time to something they don’t care about. People want to know what they will gain from the course. State your learning purpose clearly here, and don't try to squeeze in everything.

Example: How to deal with aggressive customers

Chapter titles
One chapter is one step to achieve the result. Use brief bullet points with need-to-know-information as discussed above. We recommend a maximum of seven chapters per course; otherwise you risk ending up with macro-learning.

For the course “Wellbeing: 7 steps to become happier”, the plan could be as follows:

  1. Decide who you are and what you want
  2. Live in the here and now
  3. Stay with your people and cherish them
  4. Upgrade your spending habits
  5. Be an active learner
  6. Level yourself up
  7. Keep moving

The story is a 7taps' atom: the smallest and the most important unit.

Unlike in Instagram and Snapchat, stories in 7taps are to explain; not visualize. And they won't disappear until you delete them.

We recommend you use seven stories per chapter. This limit was calibrated to match learners’ attention span and, therefore, to provide better knowledge retention.

Types of stories

The different kinds of stories are displayed in the left-hand sidebar in the 7taps edit mode.

Card is a most popular story, with basic editing and options to insert GIFs. You can place text in bold, italics, highlight it, or have it listed or numbered to make it digestible and easy to memorize. Meanwhile, GIFs are a great tool to illustrate your message and make it stick.

Quiz provides the opportunity of choosing one out of four answers. The comment on the answer will appear immediately, reinforcing the key message you want your learners to remember long term.

Use Quiz not only to check learner knowledge but also as an interactive teaching tool. Once you find out a certain lack of knowledge is widespread among your employees, Quiz it! This will serve training well.

Soundbite is a card with a voice message limited to one minute. Soundbite's mission is to differentiate the learner experience, since reading alone can become tiresome. Use it to give examples or tell stories. Try to be direct and omit filler content.

Link is a story with an external link. You can send learners anywhere: to a website, Youtube, Google Drive, etc. We suggest using links only at the very end because links move learners away from the course.

Chapter 3. Engagement tips

Make the course easy to understand

Simple ideas are easy to understand. And since understanding is the foundation for training effectiveness, it's the perfect place to start.

A simple course expresses one high-level idea. A single 7taps story is one atom of that idea. Don't try to include all the ins and outs because it makes the course difficult to remember.

To make the course simple: cut to the chase. Drum down the subject to its very core and be direct. No history. No background information. No theories. Deliver the how-tos right away.

Clearly explain the issue and avoid distractions:

  • Too much text
  • Excessive explanations
  • Transitional phrases
  • Ambiguity

Make your message stick

Once you've honed down your content to the essence, you need to make it catchy.

Alternate story types so your learner doesn't get bored:

  • Illustrate your message with GIFs
  • Quiz regularly, not just at the end
  • Use soundbites to avoid reading alone

Follow these simple rules to craft a memorable soundbite:

  • Plan. Whittle down your message into memorable phrases or sentences
  • Simplify. Keep it short and sweet, simple and brief
  • Be punchy. Make it memorable - catch the attention of your audience
  • Practice. Practice to make your soundbite sound like a real and fluid conversation

Make the course strong

Talk to learner. Appeal to them directly. Use "you" generously and be friendly. Suppose that you are sharing a piece of information with a good friend of yours: this is a sure-fire way to resonate.

Use active voice to sound direct and vigorous. Active verbs make your sentences dynamic and easy to read. The passive voice is wordy, and it makes the sentence structure more complex. Have a look:

  • The passive voice almost always makes your message less clear.
  • Your message is almost always made less clear by using the passive voice.

Keeping sentences short will increase reading speed, so find a way to be concise. Make every sentence relevant. Make every word count.

Find your flow. Make each 7taps story lead seamlessly from one to the next, taking your learner on a journey that leads to a conclusion.

You already have everything to create a great course, and it's high time you started by making your first test-course!

Choose the topic and do the following:

  • Make the learning purpose clear
  • Make a solid structure and build the course upon it
  • Make the course easy to understand
  • Make your message stick
  • Make the course strong

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