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Microlearning Videos: The MASCI Model

One of the core learning models that most training professionals use is the ADDIE model (Analysis, Design, Development, Implementation and Evaluation).

Creating microlearning videos like Self-Help Online Tutorials (SHOTs) is quite different from formal training courses. Because of this, I have developed a new microlearning video development model that I call MASCI (said as Mask-E). Allow me to explain.


MA – Micro Analysis

The first step in my model is to break down content into microlearning elements. This consists of analyzing the different actions, steps, processes or topics. This is followed by creating a title for each video and prioritizing them in order of importance. Prioritizing may include focusing on videos that will quickly help resolve common work issues or quality errors. You will also want to consider the audience size or the seniority of the team requesting microlearning videos.

As I explained in my previous article, you will need to determine if your videos will be demonstration- or presentation-based.

Recently, my SHOTs team was asked to develop videos around servant leadership. While working with the customer, we determined that these would be presentation-based videos. We created 11 videos instead of having one very long video about all aspects of servant leadership. The first video was a brief introduction about servant leadership and 10 other videos on each of the servant leadership characteristics.

When I was asked to create SHOTs using ZoomGov, I determined that demonstration-based videos would be ideal. I broke down the different actions or features into individual videos. For example, I turned poll questions into three different videos:

  • Creating poll questions
  • Launching poll questions
  • Editing poll question

By breaking down the content into microlearning elements, our videos help deliver only the information needed, when it is needed.

S – Storyboarding

Creating storyboards or content for our SHOTs videos is a totally different way of approaching training. Here are a few things we ask our customers to consider when drafting their storyboards:

  • Only one – Keep content to one action, process or topic per video
  • No fluff – Leave out the history or extraneous information
  • Need to know – Add the “nice to know” information as reference links at the end of the video
  • KISS – Keep it short and simple
  • Avoid tangents – Don’t show three ways to do the same thing. Show the more common or preferred way.

It is critical that all stakeholders and approvers have reviewed the storyboards before sending them on to the next step. I will go into more specific details about storyboarding and gaining approvals in another article.

C – Creation

While our SHOTs videos may be short, the process to create them takes skill at recording narration and editing both audio and video. Here are the core steps I follow when creating videos:

  1. Recording – Don’t worry about making mistakes. Do multiple takes to edit later.
    • Demonstrations – Record the screen “live” and narrate at the same time so audio and video are synchronized.
    • Presentations – Record script audio as separate .wav files per slide then save PowerPoint slides as individual .png files.
  2. Editing – We use Camtasia to edit our videos.
    • Edit mistakes made during the recording process.
    • Annotate by adding boxes, arrows, highlights, hyperlinks, etc. as appropriate.
    • Animate the annotations to slide along the screen as narration dictates.
    • Zoom and pan to help focus on the action being demonstrated on screen.
    • Export audio to be further edited and “cleaned” using Audition and then reimport and replace the original audio.
    • Fade transitions are added at the beginning and end of the videos and elsewhere as needed.
    • Add closed captions and synchronize to match the narration.
  3. Publishing – We use Camtasia’s player and navigation bar when launching our SHOTs videos.
  4. Uploading – We upload our videos to an internal video server designed for video streaming.
  5. Posting – We add the SHOTs videos to our Video Library in SharePoint with the .html link to each video. To date, we have over 550 SHOTs videos available for our IRS internal employees.

I – Integration

While we offer over 550 SHOTs videos to our employees (to date), they aren’t beneficial if others don’t know that they exist. I started the SHOTs program to help our employees do their jobs more efficiently and with increased effectiveness.

Here are some suggestions for integrating microlearning videos:

  • Added to formal long-format trainings, which may be either elearning, classroom or virtual.
  • Sent as previews prior to attending classes or team discussions.
  • Shared as internal communications or advertisements.
  • Presented during workshops, town halls, lunch-N-learns, etc.
  • Word of mouth is very effective in alerting other employees that these videos exist.
  • Management buy-in can set the example for their employees to view the videos.

The MASCI model can help any organization or agency in developing its own microlearning videos. These videos can then provide that immediate training, refresher or just-in-time support when they need it.

I often provide virtual trainings on how to create microlearning videos using this new MASCI model. If you’d like to learn more about the SHOTs program, please contact me.

Interested in becoming a Featured Contributor? Email topics you’re interested in covering for GovLoop to [email protected]. And to read more from our Winter 2021 Cohort, here is a full list of every Featured Contributor during this cohort.

Kelly Barrett has worked for the IRS for over 22 years, starting as a Data Entry Transcriber and working his way up to a Human Resources Education and Knowledge Management Specialist. Kelly has over 12 years of training project management experience with expertise in elearning course development and is a certified Instructional Designer (ISD) and Online Training Professional (COTP).

Seven years ago, Kelly began researching microlearning videos and how they can increase retention of training, and, using his Bachelor’s Degree in Broadcasting, he started a program called Self-Help Online Tutorials (SHOTs). He has since grown the program to an enterprisewide initiative with over 500 SHOTs videos for all 80,000+ IRS employees to view, anytime they need to.

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