Donnerstag, 21. Januar 2021

Learning is not the learning of 10 years ago - What role does micro-learning play? Interview with Kate Udalova of 7taps Inc.

There is a lot of communication about the current role of Human Resource Management and about Training & Development. The link between HRM and Corporate training is not often discussed but extremely important for future success of companies in general and the success of HR in particular. Learning is not the learning of 10 years ago. Many changes have shaped learning and one of the most important of these is micro-learning. I am very pleased that I was able to gain a competent interviewee on the related issues. 

Today I talk to Kate Udalova – Co-founder of 7taps Inc. – a Florida based Startup which offers a state of the art tool to generate microlearning courses easily. I met Kate first via Twitter and ask her for this interview. I would like to start by thanking her and would ask her to shortly introduce herself, before I start the interview.

Kate: Thanks for having me, Peter! I've been working in the L&D industry since 2014. I started my career at the Consulting company in Belarus, where I was responsible for building and scaling L&D products. Also, I worked closely with clients as an L&D consultant. The lessons I learned from clients inspired 7taps — the startup we've founded at the beginning of the lockdown and successfully launched three months ago.

Peter: Thank you very much for your brief introduction. Could you describe 7taps Inc. the company you have founded?
Kate: 7taps is the way to create, share, and track engaging Instagram-style courses. It's a web-based SaaS platform created by an Instructional Designer, with the structure being intentionally engineered for the optimum microlearning experience. Our mission is to enable anyone to engage and grow their talents with courses created in minutes, making eLearning 100% accessible. Even a non-specialist can use 7taps, as it's wonderfully simple. Recently, a client texted me that she had created a course in just 15 minutes. It's exactly the feedback I've been waiting and working hard for!

Peter: 7taps promises higher engagement rates of learners. How can you achieve this?
Kate: On the fundamental level, employees need to have at least a basic interest in a subject to be engaged by the course. 7taps is not a magic bullet. However, it helps to deliver learning content in a way that resonates with today's learners, thus improving engagement and course completion rates. Here is the background for that: 
  1. 7taps provides the smoothest learner experience ever. No passwords, no downloads, no sign-ins are required; courses are mobile-first but can be accessed from any device. I know from experience that when you need to train, say, 1,000 couriers, up to 10 percent may fail to download the mobile app. Just imagine: you have 100 employees with no idea how to communicate with the customer. That's why we've removed all the barriers to learning.
  2. 7taps employs the principle of microlearning. According to Omer Jomah, "The methods of microlearning are in line with the way that the learner's brain naturally takes in information so that the body does not get stressed-out" — and I couldn’t agree more. 7taps doesn't allow you to go "macro", there are built-in content limits. The courses are to be consumed in no more than 10 minutes. 
  3. 7taps is backed up with the digital habits of modern learners. We look to the best tool digital media have thus far developed: Stories. It's a media format that's won over all social platforms. Even LinkedIn announced Stories to provide their users "a more human way of sharing". 7taps leverages this to achieve higher engagement rates.
Peter: What do you mean by Stories-based eLearning? Could you give some examples?
Kate: 7taps courses look like Instagram Stories with GIFs, micro-podcasts, and quizzes. They are easy to create yet provide enough functionality such that the resulting creations are neat and compelling.

7taps demo course: 7 steps to becoming happier 

But Stories - as a visual part of a product - is just the tip of the iceberg. The product is designed to meet today's L&D needs and has a well-grounded product vision behind it. And it will get way better; we are adding new features as we go and have big plans for 2021.

Peter: We know the low attention span of the generation Z? How could your offering handle this problem?
Kate: The attention to different tasks depends on what we bring to that situation, no matter how old we are. And while the internet is replete with articles supporting the idea that GenZ's attention spans are no longer than 15 mins, Neil A. Bradbury, Professor of Physiology and Biophysics, found no credible proof for this statement. By all means, instead of speculating, I’d suggest getting in sync with your GenZ learners, exploring new outreach channels, going digital. My cousin is 22 years old, and the comparisons she is making are not to other learning content but to other media. She is likely to ignore tedious and poorly designed PowerPoint slides training and hour-long recorded webinars. 

Example of 7taps course authoring

Peter: Could you give us an example of a successful microlearning opportunity?
Kate: Microlearning is always a successful opportunity when applied reasonably. It should not be blindly used for every organizational challenge. For example, 7taps wasn't built to replace other LMS platforms but rather to expand your reach and improve engagement with this mobile-friendly tool. It can be used as a stand-alone tool to meet a specific need, but it's not a one-size-fits-all solution. We've recently worked with a pharmaceutical company that faced difficulty in providing their sales rep team with lightweight and digestible learning content. Due to the lockdown, the team got overwhelmed with traditional e-courses. So, the L&D manager was looking for a solution easy to deploy and capable of delivering outcomes fast. Given the NDA, I can only share with you that course completion rates skyrocketed. And here's the feedback we got from the client: "What is most valuable for us is that 7taps really grabs attention. I didn't even think the learning experience could be like this!" 

Peter: How will microlearning evolve? What will be the future of microlearning? 
Kate: I see both macrolearning and microlearning co-exist. Though, despite being heavily popularized, microlearning is still immature. I've seen dozens of the so-called "microlearning solutions" that provide learners with 30-mins explainer videos and excel spreadsheet screenshots; let alone splicing traditional macro-courses into numerous shorter nuggets. So I hope the microlearning heyday is yet to come, and I'll do my best to contribute to it. 

Peter: Thank you very much Kate for your contribution. I wish you continued success, many friendly partners, and disruptive ideas at all times.


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