Microlearning at Google

2 min read

At BCcampus, we have regular CoP meetings of the managers where we share various tips and ideas. I am facilitating the next session, and have used the occasion as an excuse to dig into a project that I have been interested in for awhile now, the Google Re:Work project.

Re:Work is a Google project that researches and examines their own internal HR practices, and develops some best practices based on their research. I'll likely write more about this in the future as I find the Re:Work project interesting and helpful.

During their Re:Work research on what makes an effective team, Google discovered that the number one attribute that was common among all their high functioning teams was Psychological Safety (there are a total of 5 attributes, if you are interested). All members of effective teams feel safe and supported to take risks with each other, and to appear to be vulnerable in front of one another.

To help reinforce this idea of psychological safety among their managers, Google has employed microlearning in the form of email reminder prompts to their managers. They call these Whisper Courses. Over the course of 10 weeks, managers are regularly sent email "nudges" with ideas and tips they can try in their meetings or one on one's with employees to help develop psychological safety within their team.

Being Google, everything is measured and it appears these microlessons are working, with managers who implement the tips seeing a marked increase in their managerial effectiveness surveys.

I am a fan of this type of learning. Highly focused, bit-sized and likely very relevant for the intended learner who, being adult learners, highly value immediate relevancy in their learning. 

Google has made the templates of their Whisper Courses available for others.


Whisper courses: on-the-job microlearning with email
Debbie Newhouse and Regina Getz-Kikuchi, Google December 12, 2017

Theme by Anders Norén