Leadership development and Microlearning

February 27, 2019 by Wally Bock

Leadership development practitioners are always on the alert for ways technology can improve learning. Microlearning is a technology with a great deal of promise.

Microlearning promises to help aspiring leaders to learn skills when they need them. Much learning will be on their own initiative. They won’t have to wait for either approval or help. That’s how it’s supposed to go. Reality is more complicated.

First, there’s the challenge of getting the technology to work the way it’s supposed to. That’s hard, but that’s not as hard as fitting microlearning into everything else your company does. As Julie Winkle Giulioni writes on the Saba Software site: 

“But (and there’s always a but!), microlearning can encourage a focus on individual instructional elements at the expense of the whole, which can result in undermining the learner’s ability to internalize, integrate, and implement new skills and knowledge.”

Leadership Development and The Microlearner

Developing leaders and others are good at figuring out what they need in the moment. They’re not be as good at figuring out how their learning fits into their development or the company’s mission. They may not understand what else they need to learn. 

Don’t give in to the temptation to see this as a system design problem. Our brains aren’t big enough to think of all the possibilities and how they could interact. The solution will be on the human side of enterprise.

Leadership Development: Coaching the Microlearner

Coaching is the bridge between big leadership development objectives and day-to-day performance. Coaching is the most important thing for a manager to do well, according to Google’s research. If your managers aren’t good at coaching their team you need to fix that before you worry about technology. 

Team leaders should help team members decide what to learn and how. The should be able to identify potential coordination issues, too.

Leadership Development Bottom Line

Microlearning is a technology with great promise. But you can’t just drop it into your organization and expect magical results. Help leaders develop coaching skills and learn the ins and outs of microlearning. Without them, microlearning is likely to be all promise and no performance.

Wally Bock is a coach, a writer and President of Three Star Leadership.

Posted in Leadership Development

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