How to Use Email Autoresponders for Microlearning

Author: Karen Moloney

I’m finding it more and more interesting how much the disciplines of marketing and learning are starting to intersect.

This is especially so now that we are working more with digital media and social platforms for learning, so it makes sense to explore more about how marketers engage their target audiences and use different tools to deliver their message.

I was browsing the Twittersphere recently when I happened upon a Tweet from my colleague Michelle Ockers.

Michelle had tweeted:

Screen shot of Tweet from Michelle Ockers

Both Michelle and I are advocates of the Working Out Loud (#WOL) movement and this is a case in point where it can be really useful to share what you’re working on in order to get help and insights from others.

I’ve been using MailChimp for several years now in various ways for my business, including microlearning, so I responded to Michelle’s Tweet and we set up a time for a quick demo (20 minute video at the bottom of this post).

What is MailChimp?

MailChimp is an email marketing tool which allows you to save lists of subscribers that you can then send messages to.

What are email autoresponders and how do they work?

Autoresponder messages can take the form of one-off emails, or a series of emails sent out in response to specific conditions based on a pre-defined workflow.

Each email will need to be created, related to a subscriber list and assigned a “trigger” i.e. you need to give the conditions for the email to be sent. For example, this may be on joining a list, 3 hours after, one day after, 2 weeks after – or even on a specific day and time.

Below is an example of how you could use an autoresponder workflow to run micro learning using a “5 Day Challenge” approach.

Workflow showing 5 day challenge sequence

There are many different ways you can use autoresponders in learning, e.g. to deliver small bites of content as microlearning, as follow-up during or on completion of elearning or instructor-led programs, etc.

Some LMS systems have workflow features where you can build in email autoresponders based on triggers within the system, e.g. learner accesses course but doesn’t complete it, or you can use an external program like MailChimp.

There are pros and cons to using an external mailing tool and these issues and ideas for using autoresponders are discussed in the video below.

Are you currently using autoresponders as part of your learning strategy?

Will you be trying autoresponders after reading this post?

See you in the comments.


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