Collaboration: the vital ingredient to charity learning success

For the past 17 years we’ve worked with the founders of MicroLearn to deliver outstanding digital learning to the third sector. Steve Soper(CEO) explains why this partnership has been so integral to delivering affordable, effective, digital learning.

“The user experience is critical. That’s why feedback from members of the Charity Learning Consortium is so vital. They’ve truly helped to shape our content and we hope this will continue for years to come.”

  Martin: What are the benefits of working with us at the Charity Learning Consortium? Steve: The greatest benefit of working with the Consortium has to be the close-knit community of like-minded individuals. Both the Consortium team and its members are dedicated to creating not just affordable learning solutions but a fantastic network of learning & development professionals, from the third sector who support and help each other to grow. For MicroLearn, it means we’re able to offer unbeatable value to a group of hardworking people and organisations who are doing exceptional work in our communities. Being able to be part of this network really makes our jobs worthwhile. It’s also a unique opportunity for us to get first hand feedback from learning professionals on our content and approach, which we draw upon to help meet the specific needs of the sector. For example, ideas and requests from members go directly into our plans for new content topics, such as Right to Work and Safeguarding for Children and Vulnerable Adults We’ve really got to know the members of the Consortium over the years and come to understand their individual learning needs and challenges, as well as the financial constraints they face. Equipped with this knowledge and experience, MicroLearn and the Consortium together are able to offer a truly unique digital learning solution, tailored for charities.    Martin: What makes your courses unique? Steve: I truly believe that the future of learning in the workplace is relevant content, rapidly created to meet the demands of a growing information-hungry workforce – not dull, linear, ‘click-next-to-continue’ training. Much of the eLearning produced in the past has been long for the sake of it, as well as uninspiring and generally lacking engagement. It has often lacked effectiveness in meeting learning objectives and supporting behavioural change. MicroLearn brings the ‘wow’ and delivers results. Today’s learners demand a more agile approach to training, that gives them relevant information on a wide variety of subjects, anytime and anywhere. L&D practitioners – whatever sector they are from, and regardless of their budget – need to put the best possible technology and content into the hands of learners to effectively contribute to the success of their organisations…and that is where MicroLearn comes in. We’ve developed a unique approach to our resources with the creation of two modes of microlearning:
  • Video Plus, for just-in-time, day to day work support or as a handy refresher and
  • Full Module for more reflective career development.  
Video Plus is shorter form and has a quick-fire quiz, whilst the full module has expanded learning and a knowledge check at the end. Both modes are video-led and use a highly engaging format, with bright and dynamic design, simple navigation and they deliver great learning outcomes. We’re passionate about creating innovative learning resources, designed for today’s busy learner. We want learners to keep coming back to our resources as and when they need to, so the user experience is critical. And that’s why feedback from members of the Charity Learning Consortium is so vital. The members have truly helped to shape our content since our launch and we hope this will continue for years to come.
Martin: Anything that has surprised you? Steve: I’m constantly amazed at the dedication and effectiveness of the charity L&D professionals that we’ve met through the Consortium, and their collaborative strength. It’s wonderful to see the progression of these learning strategies through the years and to be part of this network of charities who support each other, evolving to become effective learning organisations, sharing success stories, new ideas and best practice.  
Martin: What’s your most used eLearning course? Steve: We have more than half a million individual learners using and enjoying our resources every year which is pretty remarkable! Our compliance resources in data protection and GDPR have, not too surprisingly, been particularly well used this year, ahead of the new data legislation. From our growing soft skills range, our new suite of wellbeing resources – that we produced in partnership with best-selling author Liggy Webb – have also been incredibly popular. For example, MicroLearn’s new course on Resilience has been a big hit, as it’s an essential skill for anyone to develop, particularly the leaders and managers of tomorrow.
Martin: What’s your prediction for digital learning in the future? Steve: As our expectations of technology and media continue to rise exponentially, our expectations of digital learning will follow the same trend. In today’s busy workforce, making time for training can be a challenge which microlearning aims to combat. In the future, I think learning will need, more than ever, to be available on demand within the flow of work. What’s more, I think filling ‘wasted time’, like on the train or at the bus stop, will be even better utilised. Beyond short video and bite-sized text, I can see podcasts and audiobooks for professional development really taking off. Perhaps the key will be enabling learners to find learning as simple as doing a Google search, often whilst you’re busy doing something else. That could mean having a soft skills video on whilst you cook or a professional development podcast on in the car to work – the future of learning is personal, accessible and right-sized.

About the author

Steve Soper is the CEO and cofounder of MicroLearn with more than 25 years of industry experience, leading a team of talented eLearning creators developing engaging and effective microlearning resources.
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