A great way to support skills and knowledge sharing in our time-pressured and hybrid working environments

Download article

Zoom/digital fatigue… time pressures and risk of burnout…inclusive support of hybrid working… the pace of change… We’re all experiencing similar challenges, so how can learning help meet the moment in a way that’s going to engage?

What if you could share chunks of information and guidance in a timely, entertaining and engaging way? Nano learning is a great option to support your learning and development initiatives right now.


What do we mean?

Outside of work, we are already learning more from short soundbites or infographics on social media channels than from textbooks, manuals or formal classes, so why shouldn’t we use this approach in our busy working days too?

Quick and entertaining content provides learners with the information needed in a way that gets attention. But can nuggets of content really teach us anything of substance? Absolutely and it’s what people are asking for right now. Nano-learning is about delivering condensed guidance and information in an engaging format. It provides short soundbites or visuals of valuable and relevant content - consumed within 20 seconds to 3 minutes (or 15 minutes for audio) - that is easily accessible amongst people’s busy days and wherever they are.


Time pressures not going away and context is key

‘In a recent survey, 50% of respondents cited time and burnout as a barrier for learners’ (i)

Increasingly customers are asking us for short learning and communications pieces - contextualised and aligned to their business need – to support their learning initiatives. This approach to learning content is great for keeping costs down, bringing re-use, scalability and consistency when used across the business - perfect for meeting the moment - as people continue to grapple with the competing demands of remote/hybrid working and time pressures.

Many successful companies are using nano-learning with short bespoke contextualised content bites to help stimulate higher interest, drive engagement and deliver learning in the flow of work. Either as a timely standalone initiative or as part of the blend, they are able to move quickly to support people and the changing business priorities.


Supporting the pace of change

54% of all employees worldwide will require significant reskilling and upskilling by 2022 (ii)

According to the 2021 Deloitte Global Human Capital Trends survey (iii), executives identified “the ability of their people to adapt, reskill, and assume new roles” as the top-ranked item to navigate future disruptions. To do this, organisations need to unlock their employees’ potential, building capability and enabling them to constantly renew and learn new skills.

Nano-learning can be adapted to meet different learning styles helping employees to upskill and reskill faster. Videos and animations for more visual learners and podcasts for those that like to listen on the go – other options include infographics, quizzes and flipcards. New learning can be taken and applied quickly to everyday work situations – reinforcing learning and allowing continuous improvement.


Focus on solutions to business challenges and scenarios rather than specific skills

Providing learning organised according to challenges or scenarios helps to create context – if the learner can relate to the given scenario, they will be more receptive and understand the value it can bring them immediately. Not only will they be more motivated to learn, but they are also likely, to implement this more quickly to the benefit of the individual and the organisation. Tackling specific challenges in this way – on scenarios such as working remotely, wellbeing and diversity and inclusion – where the learner can tap into content according to their need at the time will allow the learner to feel empowered and ‘own’ their learning.


How our clients are using nano-learning across their organisations

The world’s largest social media platform – using contextualised podcasts to support busy sales teams

Social media commerce relies in no small part on the ability to attract advertising across various public-facing platforms. That advertising has to be carefully targeted and be relevant to numerous industry verticals. Hemsley Fraser was asked to prepare ‘industry bulletins’ for busy sales teams who don’t have time for traditional virtual classroom events. Our solution was to prepare podcast-style audio bulletins that could be consumed without the need for structured events or even a computer screen. The bulletins were 5-15 minute audio-only sessions which outlined a core overview of a particular industry. To ensure the subject matter was insightful and valuable, we brought together six SMEs, each of whom represented a specific industry, pairing them with HF’s instructional and creative design team. The podcasts were supplemented with a toolkit of resources in infographic format, which together, with the audio sessions, provided a just-in-time comprehensive overview allowing the sales agents to talk confidently to their prospective clients. These assets are currently in use across their enterprise and will be updated annually to ensure they remain relevant.


The world’s leading biopharmaceutical firm – using sub-five minute nano-learning bites to support leaders in the flow of work

Biopharmaceuticals are by their nature hugely complex, and their conception, production, and deployment require intensive scientific understanding and rigour. For the teams involved in their market exposure, it’s easy to overlook some of the ‘softer’ skills required to ensure clinicians, doctors, and patients understand the benefits and applications in a way that is easily consumable. Our client asked us to help a particular group of leaders whose job is to make sure their stakeholder groups have all the information and support they need to realise and share the benefits of these life-saving drugs. An especially tricky demand for these busy leaders was finding the time to consume learning while on the road and during their packed meeting schedules. We helped by pre-digesting both their proprietary content and our leadership content into what we called nano-learning. In effect, we transformed 20-50 page documents into a series of sub-five minutes learning bites across PDFs, videos, and podcasts. This combination of brief, journey-based, just-in-time assets better enables this essential learning in the flow of their already packed days. We started with one pilot group and have now rolled out to two entire functions across their enterprise.


A top 10 Global Fortune 500 enterprise – quickly and easily deploying micro and nano-learning to suit different learning styles in the moment

Our client asked us to help provide a learning library of resources that caters to a wide variety of learning styles and preferences. They currently use a number of world-class digital content providers but felt there was more to offer to truly democratise the available learning options. Our solution was a great fit because while the assets themselves were already built and immediately deployable, they had to work in their existing digital ecosystem without customisation. Because our learning content is platform-agnostic and viewable from an easily accessed source, they were able to self-select the relevant content and upload it to their platform without the need for costly integrations. In fact, we were able to provide options, share assets, and deploy to their stakeholder groups within four weeks from our initial conversation - all within the appropriately strict confines of their corporate info-security requirements. And thanks to the ease and flexibility of the sharing protocol, they are able to add and remove content, as they see fit, in real-time with availability for everyone in their organisation.



i Hemsley Fraser & 5App L&D Impact Survey 2021

ii World Economic Forum

iii 2021 Deloitte Global Human Capital Trends survey

Find out how we can help with nano and micro-learning content for your organization


Why not speak to one of our friendly advisers?

Please chat, call, email, or make a quick enquiry using this short form.