The world of business is ever-changing, and learning and development (L&D) professionals are continually on the lookout for the latest strategies and technologies to implement within their organization.
An important aspect of any L&D program is engagement and the speed in which the desired outcome is reached. In the sales world, for instance, research by the Sales Management Association found that 68 percent of management felt their new salesperson developmental ramp should be shorter.
That feeling transcends industries, but improving knowledge retention through L&D programs can only happen through increased employee engagement, which can be a tall order since the idea of work within work isn’t always appealing to employees.
One effective strategy you can use to quickly secure participant buy-in is to create lessons that are F.A.S.T.:
Breaking it down further, thinking F.A.S.T. means:
Work is hard enough, so creating a fun learning or enablement program encourages employee participation and improves overall engagement.
An actionable program applies learning through context-rich scenarios that reinforce the information or task each person is accountable for. These tasks stem from top-level, executive initiatives, such as attracting new talent, engaging existing talent, retaining top talent, performance achievement, etc.
Keep it simple and adhere to the minimum-effective dose (MED) method, which presents the smallest dose of information possible that will produce the desired outcome. Tasks can take as little as 2-3 minutes each day and be delivered within the daily workflow through a mobile app or your organization’s CRM.
Transparency encourages open communication and explains to team members why you’re implementing these initiatives and how they — as well as the entire organization — will benefit. Leveraging game-like mechanics also creates a fun competition and helps individuals and teams see how they compare against peers. Plus, managers who have access to insights on which team members need support in specific areas can lead to more meaningful and effective coaching for each individual.
Microlearning is an excellent example of applying F.A.S.T. thinking to an established L&D program. It promotes employee interaction and features challenges based on real-world experiences and can complement and extend existing L&D initiatives. And, as Donald Taylor’s 2017 Learning Sentiment Study discovered, microlearning environments that are adaptive and collaborative — like Qsream’s microlearning solution — have great success rates.
For a closer look, here’s an example of a F.A.S.T. Qstream microlearning experience in action:
The eLesson starts with transparent communication leading up to and through the exercise, beginning with a notification alerting participants that a new challenge is waiting.
After selecting the challenge, participants are launched into a simple, fun, and actionable context-rich scenario that engages them within a safe environment — alone on their phone or within a CRM.
Once the exercise is completed and submitted, participants receive immediate (and transparent) feedback. There’s a visual indicator of which questions they answered correctly or incorrectly; how they fared against their peers; and when they’re going to see this question again. The last point reinforces that successful retention is based on repetition — i.e. the spacing effect — rather than through a one-time presentation of information.
The explanation is microlearning through short text or videos to reinforce your key messages. Since microlearning reinforces key messages and behaviors in a different way, the explanation can link back to other learning systems to complement your existing L&D methods.
Additionally, participants earn points through this F.A.S.T. microlearning experience. With a view of the leaderboard, once again showing transparency in where the user stands amongst their peers and reinforcing the fun aspect of the challenges. Delivering this information in a fun way — through social learning in game-like challenges upskills all participants in a friendly competition — plays off an individual’s natural desire to compete and helps increase employee engagement. Higher engagement not only gives employees a better idea of where they stand amongst coworkers but, in turn, provides managers, coaches, and mentors a more complete data set to know who, what and when to coach.
As this example shows, adding F.A.S.T. microlearning techniques to your already-existing L&D initiatives can improve the speed in which your key learning objectives are met as well as increase employee engagement and enjoyment.
Thinking F.A.S.T. is one of five microlearning principles that are proven to change employee behavior and knowledge retention. Watch this free webinar to learn more about how microlearning changes behavior and impacts business outcomes.