Using Microlearning to Ensure Long Term Mastery

In our past two posts we examined strategies for using microlearning for (a) delivering new content and (b) creating a sustainment learning strategy. This week we will consider how to use microlearning in the case where there is a large learning event and the goal is to achieve and sustain mastery.

Returning to the classic learning/forgetting curve we can immediately see the problem with traditional mastery learning strategies:


The mastery exam (the vertical grey bar) is traditionally given immediately following the learning event. But what’s really important is not immediate mastery, but sustained mastery – a week, a month, three months after the completion of the learning event. We call this Moving the Goal Posts.

From what we know of the forgetting curve, without a learning sustainment strategy, long-term mastery is unlikely. A post-learning knowledge check would likely reveal a rapid drop-off in learning retention:


Clearly, the optimal strategy is deployment of spaced microlessons after the knowledge check demonstrates the learning drop-off. But any large-scale learning event is likely to cover many learning objectives. It wouldn’t be practical to present the entire course again. We want to target remediation just at those learning objectives where our knowledge check demonstrates need. How do we do this?

Fortunately, Intela has a personalized remediation feature. The platform is capable of diagnosing areas of learning need at the learning objective level and assigning microlessons targeted at those learning objectives on a learn-by-learner basis.

So, our post-event mastery strategy looks like this:


The system automatically assigns microlessons targeted at the learning objectives requiring remediation. The learner can view these microlessons as frequently as he/she wants and, when ready, take the delayed mastery exam. Of course, it is possible that the delayed mastery exam will again show areas requiring remediation so the cycle can repeat itself.

It is also possible that even learners who have passed the delayed mastery exam will begin to forget. In this case you can append the Sustain strategy onto the end of a Mastery cycle:


Combining these three microlearning strategies, as required by your organization’s learning requirements, will enable you to provide true continuous learning.

This completes our series on Instructional Design for Microlearning. But it is by no means exhaustive. Because microlearning is so flexible and agile there are many more combinations of activities and microlessons that can be deployed, guaranteeing that as instructional designers we will never run out of creative

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