7Taps has combined their microlearning platform with AI-powered chatbot technology to help users create microlearning experiences almost instantaneously. Recently, I had a chance to talk with 7Taps co-founder, Kate Udalova, to talk about what microlearning is, the role of AI and how her platform is helping people to deploy “snackable” microlearning to the world.
Brian Washburn: Welcome, everyone, to another episode of Train Like You Listen, a podcast about all things learning and development in bite-sized chunks. I’m Brian Washburn, I’m your host. I’m also the Co-founder of an instructional design company called Endurance Learning. And I am so excited today to be joined by Kate Udalova, who is the Co-founder and Chief Product Officer of one of probably the coolest, microlearning companies around – 7taps. And we’re gonna get into that in just a minute.
But before we get into any of that, we’re gonna let you know that today’s podcast is brought to you by Soapbox, which is an online tool that you can use for 5 or 10 minutes, and you can take care of about 50 or 60% of the work when it comes to developing live, instructor-led training. You basically tell the computer how long your presentation is, how many people are going to attend, whether it’s in-person or virtual, what your learning objectives are, and then Soapbox will instantly generate a training plan for you with clusters of training activities designed to help you accomplish your learning outcomes. If you want more information, or if you want to try it out for yourself for free for two weeks, you can go to www.soapboxify.com. Okay. That was a mouthful.
I’m really excited to get into this conversation with you, Kate. And before we go any further, as we always do to start the podcast, we always ask our guests to introduce themselves with a biography that is exactly six words. So what would you like to share with our audience about who you are in exactly six words?
Kate Udalova: First of all, thank you so much for having me, Brian. I’m excited to have this conversation. And I think that what would most accurately describe me as a professional and as a person can sound like, “Building the number one microlearning platform” because I’m truly passionate about 7taps, about microlearning, and it’s been a labor of love the past few years.
Brian Washburn: Well, I love it and I just see a lot of LinkedIn posts, Twitter posts about it, and so I’m really excited to have this conversation with the Co-founder of 7taps. And as we get started here– and you and I have spoken in the past, and I know how passionate you are about microlearning. Microlearning can mean different things to different people. And so, sometimes people wanna put a specific time limit on it and say, you know, “Microlearning can’t be any longer than five minutes, or it’s no longer micro.” Or people say, “There’s no time limit. It just has a specific focus.” So before we get started with some of the meatier questions, can you share with us how you, or perhaps 7taps, defines microlearning?
Kate Udalova: Yeah, sure. And I really love this question because, despite the fact that microlearning has been on the learning and development scene for a really long time, there are still so many vague definitions and questions around the subject. So, my personal definition would be that microlearning illustrates the delivery of training in quick and very, very targeted nuggets. And I know there are lots of debates on the length of the microlearning, whether it’s too long or it’s too short. 15 minutes – is it enough or is it too much? But instead of focusing on the length of the training piece, I’d rather recommend emphasizing, kind of, the most important aspects.
First of all, microlearning should address only one outcome. And secondly, it should be short enough so that a learner can grasp the concept and get back to their work immediately. No barriers, no confusing functionality, nothing like that. And, with 7taps, actually, what we do, we help you create exactly that kind of microlearning experiences. Quick, fast, snackable.
Brian Washburn: Targeted, right? And so it sounds like that’s kind of the crux of the idea here is that it is focused and targeted and quick and snackable, kind of like you said. Now, and you started to mention this a little bit, and I’d love to hear a little bit more, if you could just give us a really brief introduction to what 7taps is and how you decided microlearning was gonna be your focus.
7Taps Microlearning Development Tool
Kate Udalova: I’ll try to be brief because talking about 7taps, I can be easily carried away. So 7taps is a platform that enables you to create quick-launch microlearning. It consists of two parts: the first one is a rapid authoring tool, and literally, you can create content in minutes. And we also provide the most frictionless delivery functionality. Why is it the most frictionless? Because there are no apps and learners access content in a click.
And the idea of 7taps didn’t come just out of the blue because I previously worked in L&D consultant space, and I was kind of fascinated by microlearning approach. I used it regularly. I saw how it can be really powerful when delivering learning strategies. But the problem with most tools that I saw at that time and still see them is that most of them are too cumbersome, too time-consuming, and for me, it doesn’t feel like micro. So that’s how 7taps appeared – something that enables you to create snackable content fast. It’s not only about your learners, but it’s also about you as an instructional designer, learner professional, any other person who can actually sign-up online and create some training assets.
Brian Washburn: I love that perspective and what you just said because a lot of times people say, you know, learner-centered, learner-centered, it’s all about the learner. It’s all about the learner. But if the person who’s designing the learning doesn’t have the right tools or can’t do it in an efficient manner, then it’s really tough to make it learner-centered. Now, this idea of artificial intelligence, it seems to be all the rage right now. ChatGPT posts are everywhere on LinkedIn. Bing is trying to improve its search engine by using AI. College professors need to scan papers to determine if they were written by a student or a computer. In 7taps, I’ve noticed, has recently merged microlearning with artificial intelligence. Can you tell us a little bit more about how AI can help people create better and maybe even faster microlearning experiences?
How Can AI Help Create Better Microlearning?
Kate Udalova: Yeah, absolutely. And I think I should start by explaining how 7taps AI microlearning assistant works. So you can type in a topic and the 7taps AI, in just about 30 seconds or less, will generate a draft of a mini course for you. It’s mobile-first. It’s predesigned, it contains text-based cards, video assets, quiz, soon we’ll add images and many more. Stay tuned. And I’d say it’s kind of a heat-and-eat meal. Feel free to add some more content to spice it out with a story, examples, or even branching scenarios, visuals, you name it. 7taps AI does not replace your creativity and expertise. It works as a productivity booster. You don’t have to start with a blank page. You don’t have to deal with that proverbial writer’s block you know when the words don’t come. And as a result, you are empowered to create training assets faster. That’s how it works in a nutshell.
Brian Washburn: And so you’ve given us the concept. I’m wondering if you might be able to give like a few specific examples of where 7taps AI has really been beneficial.
The Benefits of Using the 7taps Platform to Create Microlearning
Kate Udalova: Well, first of all, there should be an opportunity for microlearning itself. There should be a learning need that can be realistically addressed with a small targeted piece of information. And with the AI microlearning assistant, you can create that content faster. It’s applicable in just loads of scenarios from safety to leadership training. And probably it would be better to highlight where it’s not applicable.
Brian Washburn: Mhm. Okay.
Kate Udalova: 7taps AI is a ChatGPT-powered technology, so it can’t help you create content on information that is not publicly available. So with 7taps AI, you can create some universal sales enablement assets on how to overcome customer objections, but you can’t get a relevant result if you are looking for content, like how to submit an order in your internal ordering system. Probably you should consider that when trying 7taps AI.
Brian Washburn: That makes total sense. When it– let me throw another example out at you. And so this example might be if I wanted to use this for a train-the-trainer course, right? So for people who are learning how to create and develop and then deliver engaging training programs, what would I need to put in to remind them or to give them further learning about how to make sure that they’re using adult learning principles each time that they choose to design a training course.
An Example of Creating AI Microlearning
Kate Udalova: Well, first of all, you should probably divide that great topic because it’s really great for one microlearning asset into some standalone assets.
Brian Washburn: Mhm.
Kate Udalova: You can start with how to create engaging training program. You can experiment with effective learning design principles or how to make content more compelling or examples of, I don’t know, some engagement tricks. You actually work with any other learning need – you kind of distill it into some standalone micro assets. Then you formulate the request in any words like, “how to do something,” or “five steps to do something,” and you’ll get a result.
Brian Washburn: Yeah. I love this and I love the idea that you can just kind of put, “show me how to use adult learning principles in my training” or something along those lines. And I also love what you said, and it’s kind of a reminder, you’re almost like, “Brian, that’s a big topic. Let’s break this down one by one” too. So for anybody who’s listening right now, and perhaps this is the part of the podcast I’m gonna invite you to make a shameless plug. For anyone who’s listening and thinking, “Hmm, that sounds like I could really use that in some sort of learning initiative that I have.” What are some things that people should consider when they’re deciding even if microlearning, whether or not it’s AI-powered, is right for them? And if it is right for them, how can they get started with a tool like 7taps?
How To Decide if Microlearning is Right for Your Learning Needs
Kate Udalova: Probably I should address this question from the last spot. Getting started with 7taps is super easy. A few clicks online and you’re all set- no credit card required, no installs, www.7taps.com.
And regarding the microlearning itself, as I’ve mentioned earlier, there should be an opportunity for microlearning. You can use it to reinforce your existing training. You must know that without that reinforcement, people can forget almost everything you delivered, right? You can use microlearning to support performance with job aids, instructions, quick how-tos. You can address small training needs because you don’t always need to come up with some conventional Articulate course or a long webinar – you can just create something snackable, short and sweet, in 7taps. And AI simply makes your content creation experience faster and more enjoyable. So, probably the best part is just to start playing around to see how it works, to get inspired, and then think how it can be incorporated into your learning strategy. We have loads of examples on our website of how companies from various verticals benefit from microlearning. So feel free to visit our website and learn from them.
Brian Washburn: Kate Udalova, I love this conversation. I wish we could talk a little bit more, but we are out of time. So thank you for sharing a little bit more about this idea of microlearning and specifically how 7taps is starting to address the need for easier ways to create this.
Thank you to everyone else for listening to this podcast. If you know someone else who might find today’s podcast about the combination of AI and microlearning to be important, please do pass along a link to this podcast. If you wanna make sure that you’re notified of a new podcast when it’s hot off the press, go ahead and subscribe at Apple or Spotify, wherever you get your podcast. And if you are interested in learning more about a broad range of learning and development strategies, including microlearning, but 50 other elements as well, you can pick up a copy of What’s Your Formula? Combine Learning Elements for Impactful Training, which is my book, at www.amazon.com.
And until next time, happy training everyone.