Using Learning Design to Help Combat Busyness

We’re all so busy, right? Do you encounter anyone in today’s world who admits to having free time? It’s almost like you’re shunned if you do. Somehow busyness has become not just a way of life, but a badge of honor!

There are all kinds of studies that tell us to refrain from multitasking. Eric Barker, a blogger, reports that “when people do two cognitive tasks at once, their cognitive capacity can drop from that of a Harvard MBA to that of an 8-year-old.” I don’t know about you, but I’m not looking to lower my intelligence capacity. But if you’re anything like me, it’s incredibly difficult not to fall prey to this mentality.

If this is the mindset prevalent in corporate America, how do we as instructional designers expect anyone to truly invest time in learning? The key is not only giving people tools they can access when they need it, but making sure the learning is:

  • Fast, with at-your-fingertips support
  • Specific, tactile training and not high concept or too general
  • Bite-sized, with easily digestible and actionable information

After all, people WANT to learn but simply lack TIME and READY ACCESS to information and training that could help them perform better on the job. You may have heard the term “microlibrary.” In my world, this concept is a reality. It allows us to create various types of learning assets to allow people to focus on enhancing skills in conjunction with the 50 million other responsibilities they have. Here are a few examples of assets we’re currently building:

  • A short 3-minute podcast on how best to prioritize prospective customers that includes a job aid
  • An activity to use as part of a department meeting to practice tailoring C-level sales conversations
  • A 5-minute eLearning that provides a simple strategy for managing time

Within all of these learning assets, the key is to focus learning on one objective to narrow the focus. Remember that the whole purpose is to create fast, specific, and bite-sized learning making it feasible for learners to master in the time they are able to allot.