Big Ideas, Micro-Learning

Supporting K-12 means my summers are busy. As schools and support organizations prepare for the upcoming academic year, they look to capture BIG ideas to share with staff, students and the community when they return.  The BIG ideas form frameworks for greater organizational goals.  Performance goals, cultural shifts, community building, Vision-Mission work, are great examples of topics that make sense to tackle over the summer. The problem is, most K-12 organizations have less staff contact over the summer, not MORE. And, these topics deserve and require time to weave into an organization.

Enter Micro-Learning.  Yep, I believe Big Ideas are well suited for Micro-Learning delivery.  It may seem counter-intuitive, after all, BIG ideas,, such as cultural shifts, aren’t going to be successful if they are approached as training events.  As organizational leaders know, BIG ideas take daily practice to become new norms within an organization. They must be pervasive and felt by everyone.  For this reason, I see micro-learning environments as incredible ways to launch BIG ideas.

Big Ideas aren’t usually associated with TONS of content.  In fact, using too much content hinders inculcation of big ideas. Big Ideas are just that, big, often simple ideas.  But, they’re BIG because they have significant impact on an organization and, here’s the BIG one, they are in no way easy to tackle.  Most times, Big Ideas will require changes in behaviors and habits and we all know how hard those are to influence.  If we’re going to change someone’s habits, we can’t confuse them with a ton of content.

Micro-Learning is all about the micro and the learning (I know, that’s not very original).  I see the micro aspect of Micro-Learning as a descriptor for three important items. Content, focus and delivery.  The Learning component of the name means the course must get the users thinking and building new knowledge.  Simple. Present an extremely focused content set and ensure learning. Micro-Learning.

I like to design micro-learning as a story.  To make an impact, a story can’t go on and on and on. When we tell stories, we tend to be concise.  When we write a course, we tend to go on and on and on…you get the picture.  Story writing provides a platform to connect emotionally with our audience, lay out the needed information in simple format and let the user imagine themselves being triumphant (ie…paint a picture of what life will be like after the change in habit).

Most Big Ideas will change teams, not just a single person.  So I like to include practice points within Micro-Learning courses that require teams to think together.  I don’t have time to go into the details around practice and assessment here, so just imagine great micro-learning as a component of your team’s day.  Big Idea, Micro-Learning.  I use questions that get teams thinking about how things will work after they change their habits.  Using this technique, you get teams to create their own new reality, their own new habits.  Over time, they start to SEE the shifts based on the Big Idea.

I know I skipped a lot of detail.  Big Idea, Micro-Learning….I followed my own rules. If you have a big shift to make, think small, keep the instruction focused, tell a story, get your team to build their new reality and repeat.  And keep repeating…Big Idea, Micro-Learning.



If you would like to talk to me about designing your Big Idea, Micro-Learning experience, send me an email.  Take care all.




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