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509 How to Build a Text Message Course

10:45 AM - 11:45 AM
Thursday, April 21

Tracks: Micro & Workflow Learning

Learning leaders face many challenges related to building scalable, accessible, cost-effective learning that drives meaningful learning outcomes. Video-based or microlearning-based courses see completion rates of anywhere from 10 to 30%. It often takes weeks, if not months, to build these learning experiences, and involves an entire team to produce learning that often won’t even be taken. Because of all of this, it’s hard for skilled learning leaders to prove efficacy to their stakeholders accurately. The challenge is even more significant for learning leaders who serve a frontline, distributed, or mainly non-LMS workforce. Employees don’t have the tools or capacity to use online training solutions, leading to even lower completion and engagement rates.

Text message learning and messaging-based learning (including Slack, WhatsApp, and Teams) are beneficial for a few reasons. 95% of people open a text within three minutes of receiving it. This leads to the response, engagement, and completion rates that are 7-15 times higher than other learning mediums. Research from top universities indicate higher efficacy, including higher rates of behavior change and knowledge retention. Such short-form content causes learning designers to pair down information into the most relevant content.

After deploying hundreds of text-message courses to tens of thousands of learners, our team has built a playbook we use internally to build the most effective text-message based learning that drives actual outcomes like behavior change and long term knowledge retention. We use spaced learning research in our daily message cadence and have proven strategies for building action-oriented outcomes.

This session will have five main parts: Understanding when to use and not use text message learning at your organization; looking at case studies of successful deployments; crafting practical course learning objectives, success criteria, and necessary topics; creating an outline of a text course, curating resources, and writing in simple language to adapt existing coursework; understanding best practices for rolling out learning to employees; and assessing the efficacy of training after rolling out learning programs.

In this session, you will learn:

  • How to understand and identify use cases for messaging-based learning at your organization
  • How to build an effective messaging-based course or convert current materials into one
  • How to deploy messaging based courses successfully
  • How to assess learners post-course based on research and build effective assessment into the learning

Ryan Laverty

Co-Founder and President


Ryan Laverty is the co-founder and president of Arist, a platform for creating and delivering learning via Slack, Teams, and text message-based courses. Authoring the original white paper on messaging-based learning while in his senior year at college, Ryan ran a public speaking coaching company prior to Arist, where he found a love for all things learning and training design.