Recent implications of COVID-19 on business have required leaders to navigate their organizations through uncertainty. Many leaders adapted and changed entire business models and made incredibly difficult decisions in the process. These unexpected changes confronted leaders with the most unfamiliar circumstances.
That’s why leadership development is more important now than ever before. Leadership development can’t be looked at as sending senior leaders to an on-site workshop or classroom training for a few days to develop new leadership skills intended to make them more effective leaders. Our current remote circumstances mean that leadership development training is delivered remotely, with digital technology being an essential component of that remote strategy.
However, stand-alone training sessions are time-consuming whether onsite or remote and don’t take into consideration people’s busy schedules. Leadership development is too often only reserved for senior leaders and leaves out preparing the next generation of leaders with leadership skills. There are many valuable leadership lessons that can be learned from today’s challenging times. These lessons can be used to prepare our future leaders so if a situation like this were to happen again, they’ll be able to navigate and help their organization to be resilient through difficulties. It’s time to move away from outdated leadership development training models and move toward programs that better suit current and future leaders in a fast-paced digital age, that is adaptable to the pace of the change, and that can also reach a remote workforce in an effective and engaging fashion.
Leadership development programs that emphasize a continuous learning model requires knowledge reinforcement for leaders to learn (and remember) necessary skills needed to confidently manage, drive the performance of their team to achieve business results, and be prepared for any organizational change. Because of this, microlearning is an increasingly popular form of training for delivering leadership development content as a part of a remote learning strategy. Microlearning prevents distracting people with excess information that may also create confusion for the learner. Microlearning puts a focus on the experience to avoid anyone from disengaging or forgetting the knowledge they need to be a good leader quickly. It’s known that in as little as 30 days, 79% of knowledge is forgotten so microlearning counters this by adding two scientifically proven methods, the spacing effect, and testing effect:
- Spacing effect: present micro-bursts of leadership development content over spaced intervals until that knowledge is embedded into the brain.
- Testing effect: also known as retrieval practice, an active learning process that provides immediate feedback and uses scenario-based questions to challenge the learner and put them in situations that require them to apply leadership skills.
It’s important for learning and development teams to establish a leadership training strategy that offers flexible, personalized, and just-in-time training to employees at all levels of the organization. Unlike long training sessions, microlearning breaks down training content into small pieces and is easy to respond to in just a few minutes per day. Here’s how adopting microlearning into your leadership development strategy can improve people’s leadership skills and also supports professional development and growth.
How Microlearning Works for Leadership Skills Development
Easily Engage with Leadership Development Content
Instructor-led training, even when it’s done virtually, is difficult to capture and hold people’s attention, especially when people are working from home and there are so many distractions. Microlearning gives the learner the opportunity to engage in learning when it fits into their schedule. Learning is continuously pushed by applying scenario-based challenge questions to the learners through a mobile device. The flexibility and ease of responding to a microlearning challenge doesn’t disturb people’s day, and makes them more likely to actively engage when they do invest short focused time periods on a learning exercise. Game mechanics increase engagement by transforming learning into a friendly competition, and learning becomes an ongoing activity for people to stay engaged throughout the learning process. Putting your leadership development content into scenario-based questions creates highly relevant situations that leaders face every day, allowing employees to practice the right leadership skills on the job which makes it easier to help apply the newly learned leadership skills at the right time.
Help Recall and Apply Leadership Skills
The problem with traditional learning is that too much content is shared all at once. Aside from overwhelming learners – particularly busy leaders – this abundance of learning becomes one more distraction during the day and therefore doesn’t reinforce the information once training is complete. In result, learners forget the important information to help apply leadership knowledge and skills on the job to effectively lead others and be successful at making important decisions. In order to reinforce training content, microlearning provides immediate feedback and explanations after each scenario-based challenge question. Knowledge reinforcement ensures the learner is able to recall the knowledge and skills that they’ll need to remember and transfer into the appropriate leadership behaviors.
Analyze Leadership Skill Gaps and Coach for Improvement
Using microlearning for leadership development also provides organizations with valuable data and insights into people’s abilities in being or becoming a leader. With real-time analytic dashboards and proficiency heatmaps, leadership skill gaps are quickly identifiable. This data helps visualize which individuals have reached requisite proficiency levels in certain leadership skills and where gaps in knowledge exist. Data like this becomes valuable for when you need to make decisions on promoting someone into a leadership position, where to take action for coaching purposes, where there is lack of leadership, or which areas and topics you need to further invest in leadership development.
Leadership is essential to both individual and organizational success, especially to lead effectively during a crisis. Integrating effective leadership skills training enables the continuous growth of employees and for the organization as a whole. Watch this 2-minute video of how Qstream’s microlearning solution is an efficient and cost-effective way that can be used for leadership development programs.