The Education and Career Services department at The Institute of Management Accountants (IMA) has always been strategically focused on monitoring current and future trends to ensure that we are meeting the needs and learning preferences of our members. In early 2015, we conducted research and determined that micro-learning was not only becoming a popular trend, but that it would be a viable learning method for years to come and that it transcends generational differences, according to Training Industry. Later that year, our conclusion was confirmed when NASBA (National Association of State Boards of Accountancy) announced the inclusion of nano learning as an official learning delivery method. We knew we were on the right path and proceeded with obtaining stakeholder buy-in to move forward with offering an array of nanos, otherwise known as micro-learning.
We all lead incredibly busy lives, and oftentimes we need to learn a quick skill, also referred to as JIT (just-in-time training). Short bursts of learning are a great solution for both of these situations. The busy professional has the opportunity to learn on-the-go while commuting, taking a lunch break, or even while running on the treadmill, knowing that ten minutes is a more achievable amount of learning time than trying to squeeze in one or more hours.
As for JIT, an employee who needs to quickly learn how to interpret a specific area in a cash flows statement, for example, can turn to micro-learning. There is great comfort in knowing that you can learn what you need in ten minutes or less without negatively impacting your job or delaying a project. If further learning is needed, it is always an option.
Video is incredibly flexible, engaging, and meets the needs of visual learners. It also adds depth to the text on the screen. Many learners who become disengaged when they are solely reading can learn at a deeper level when that text is accompanied by video. Video helps bring words to life and enables the learner to associate the content with a relatable business professional delivering it.
Prior to offering IMA MicroCPE™, we sent a pulse survey to our members to assess the appetite for this type of learning. We received a favorable response, which continues to be the pattern since our original set of 70+ courses were launched in November 2017. Our subscribers express how they appreciate the ability to squeeze in high-quality learning into their busy day. As NASBA continues to work on gaining nationwide acceptance of nanos by CPA societies, accounting and finance associations are beginning to meet the growing demand. We are proud to be one of the first associations to offer them.
Some learners still feel that targeted learning cannot truly occur within such a short time frame. This is a misconception, as the content chosen for this learning method is carefully selected and curated to ensure that the learning objectives can be digested within ten minutes. It may help to educate learners more about how content is selected and divided in order to create greater awareness and acceptance of micro-learning. Very few will dispute that at some point they have learned a quick, important skill by watching a YouTube video, which is the experience we liken micro-learning to, just at a more sophisticated level. However, micro-learning is not a replacement for in-depth learning; it is an additional option for different learning preferences and needs.
Taking steps into the future, we seek to expand upon our current offering, make the courses mobile responsive, and weave in other creative elements. As part of our continuous improvement efforts, we also consider learner feedback as there is nothing more important than listening to our members to help continue to refine and improve the learning experience. Overall, we strive to be innovative trendsetters in the management accounting education market. Micro-learning using video content is proving to be a key tool in this mission.