Much is made these days of things like micro-learning: presenting training in small chunks; and spaced learning: a series of short, intense training sessions.

But do these really help?

They seem very attractive and I’m sure that in some situations they are very effective. However, if they are applied to all learning situations equally, they’re unlikely to help the learner, and there’s a very good chance that they will hinder instead.

Sometimes you need a good chunk of time to ‘get your head round’ a topic and really understand it – breaking this type of learning down into small pieces is unlikely to be helpful.

Part of the issue is that some topics have long, intertwining threads going through them e.g. learning how to be an effective negotiator, and some are discrete, or self-contained points e.g. learning keyboard shortcuts such as Ctrl+S (Command+S on a Mac) to save a document.

There are only so many shortcuts that you can learn at a time and you would only need a few minutes to learn 3-4 useful ones. Whereas, if you spent 3-4 minutes on learning how to become and effective negotiator, you’d be stopping before you got started.

In short, not all learning topics are the same and therefore a blanket approach might work sometimes, but a lot of the time it won’t.

Little and Often Learning

We know that doing things like exercise are better for us when we do a little everyday e.g. it’s better for you health (and feet) to walk 3 miles a day than to try and walk 21 miles once a week.

And the same is true to some extent to learning. Given that some topics will need more time, it’s still better to spread that out over a period of time, rather than trying to cram everything in at once.

Videos are great for Little and Often Learning

Let’s say you’re running an internet security campaign. Asking people to watch a short explainer video once a day (perhaps with a cup of something) is not onerous, and it’s certainly easier than watching 5 videos in a row.

You could choose these from our Information Security group and email the link out once a day. Or embed the videos on your intranet and again send the link out – perhaps with the link attached to a thumbnail image.

email example

Attaching a link to an image

Once you’ve inserted the image into the email, right click on it and choose hyperlink.

Paste the link where it says address. I also select New window as the Target Frame – i.e. it should open in a new window.

adding address

If you want to try it out, set your email format to HTML – you can’t add pictures to Plain Text emails.

Outlook showing html option for email

Top Tip: Try it out first and send the email to a friend to make sure everything’s working.

It doesn’t have to be every day, it could be once a week, or over several months – perhaps as a reminder of other training that’s been taking place.

There really are lots of different ways you can deploy videos. If you have any ideas that you’d like to try and want some help, please just get in touch and we’ll do what we can to help.

If you want to try this out with our YouTube versions, here are the links to some information security videos.

Once you’re on YouTube, to get the link to the video, use the Share button.

Youtube with share button highlighted

You can then copy the link and add it to your email. You can even go to a point in the video where you want it to start from and then check the Start box (highlighted below), then copy the new link and send it. The video will start to play from that point.

copy link graphic from YouTube