8 min read
Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.
The pandemic has created severe challenges for almost every organization and industry at large. Employees and learners worldwide have been forced to adopt a socially distanced learning culture, making in-person learning rare. In this unprecedented time, many of us realized that we had only a few options left except to rapidly pivot to the world of distributed work, virtual learning and remote training solutions. This has led to the rapid adoption of many innovative instructional strategies that were previously adopted at a slow pace.
Over the past decade, we have heard about the benefits of microlearning, but in this challenging pandemic period, it has proven more advantageous than ever before.
Unlike conventional learning and training methods, microlearning is faster, smarter and bite-sized, providing numerous benefits to the modern workforce.
So how can microlearning help businesses bring the best out of the workforce? Let’s get to it.
Introduction to microlearning
As the name indicates, microlearning is a short, focused learning. It can often can be completed in three to six minutes, and it is usually designed in rich media formats to meet a particular learning result. Microlearning is a great way to provide a focused response to a single problem or question. It’s a learner-centric approach that delivers learning on-demand, on any device.
Microlearning could be created in several online formats, such as video, audio podcasts, presentations, games, quizzes and assessments. This style of learning helps learners to easily access, swiftly complete, retain more information and apply knowledge better.
Related: Why Digital Adoption Deserves Center Stage
Microlearning modules are created by using combinations of the following types of content:
- Video: Content that is less than six minutes in length can cover a particular objective in a precise way that is targeted to reduce overload. This will help learners to digest and retain the content quickly.
- Audio: Ideally suited for aural learners — new language can be quickly learned using audio courses.
- Text: These contents are used to complement video or audio content. The purpose should not be to overwhelm learners with too much textual content.
- Images: Images, charts, diagrams and illustrations will create an engaging learning experience. They are used to show different subjects and points from the videos or texts.
- Quizzes: Adding a quiz into microlearning modules will help to check the knowledge and enhance the interactivity of the course.
- Gamification: Gamification will boost learner engagement by facilitating a fun, interactive and satisfying learning experience.
Traditional learning vs. microlearning
Traditional learning typically is comprised of an instructor, along with textbooks, references and notes. Learners have to follow a continuous training model for an extended period, geting familiarized with all characteristics of their training goals. Earlier organizations used to prefer traditional training approaches to train their new hires. Instructor-led training is often seen as challenging for both organizer and learner as it consumes a lot of time, almost one to three hours per day. Being a long-term training approach, it requires deep analysis and strategic implementationv — which is expensive. Moreover, a dedicated and proficient team must keep tracking the training program to ensure training is on the right path. Thus, these methods are often not satisfactory for learners.
According to Hermann Ebbinghaus of eLearning Industry, humans will not remember 80% of what they learned within 30 days. Therefore, learners want something quick, precise and readily accessible at the time of need. Such demands by new-gen learners gave birth to microlearning, which can be used efficiently for adhesive learning practices. This helps to overturn the so-called “forgetting curve,” learing toward a “retention curve” instead. The professional growth of the learner is more successful as a result.
Best uses of microlearning
Microlearning is helpful for organizations that experience a continuous change in their work culture and want to close the skill gaps quickly.
This is a training program that comprises all of the data about a product, the brand or services of an organization that employees need to understand to accomplish their work efficiently. Microlearning enables organizations to build small chunks of digital content, including images of new products, to explain their key features and benefits. This helps the workforce learn anytime and anyplace, while improving their product knowledge.
Onboarding new hires
Organizations with high employee turnover always require an effective onboarding process. Microlearning’s bite-sized approach allows them to streamline the entire employee onboarding process and train all new employees swiftly by providing accurate information at the right time. Microlearning mainly emphasizes providing essential and actionable knowledge rather than overburdening the employees with irrelevant data. When you minimize the number of study materials, it will help in boosting the retention rate considerably.
Orientation and compliance training
This is the process of educating the workforce on company policies, laws, data, rules and regulations that apply to their daily job responsibilities. Microlearning enables businesses to create training modules in a smaller, crisp and easier way. Using diverse digital content, an organization can effortlessly turn a compulsory compliance process into a fun, exciting and interactive employee experience.
Soft skills development training
Around 92% of talent experts and HR managers say that employees must have solid soft skills. This includes communication, flexibility, leadership, persuasion, problem-solving and teamwork as essentials in every organization. The key to learning soft skills lies in microlearning. It is also useful when training employees with short attention spans.
Related: Making Time For Learning When No One Has Time
Top benefits of microlearning
Microlearning is an incredibly well-organized approach to learning, retaining and applying new knowledge, skills or information through multimedia content. It also allows learners to grasp a module quickly. Let’s take a look at the benefits of microlearning from the perspectives of learners and organizations.
Today, learners prefer study materials and training that are effective, readily available and quick. Microlearning is characteristically mobile-first, making it a perfect solution for most employees. It involves the learners better, as it is focused on a particular learning objective. Microlearning content maxes out at three-to-six minutes and captures learners’ attention through short, interactive modules.
Offers multi-device compatibility
Microlearning courses are designed for a range of devices that offer learners the ready availability of courses from their favorite devices such as a smartphone, laptops, tablets and smart televisions. The user-friendly nature of microlearning courses enables learners to understand at their own convenience. This will help learners perform tasks and assessments proficiently without compromising on other responsibilities.
Enhances employee retention
Microlearning helps learners recognize what action needs to be implemented, as well as the learning outcome that is to be accomplished. It allows the learner to digest each module individually and boosts their retention since the information is readily accessible.
Delivers up-to-date information
Microlearning courses can provide up-to-date data because of their modular structure, keeping pace with the ever-evolving world of technology. This will encourage learners to study more about the subject.
Less time consuming
Microlearning courses enable the learner to complete the entire module in a short period. Today, the attention spans of most Gen Y learners are very low. By integrating the microlearning approach, learners can finish a topic in three-to- five minutes, taking advantage of their attention span.
Benefits Of Microlearning For Organizations
Cost-effective and agile
Due to the short duration, microlearning courses are much more cost-effective than traditional training methods. Microlearning needs only a few resources, and there is no need for any extra tools to create content. Microlearning allows learners to access and reuse materials created by the organization.
Easy to create and update
Microlearning nuggets are fast to create and easy to update and correct, decreasing companies’ entire training turnaround time.
Boost employee engagement and business’ ROI
As we have seen, microlearning is an effective employee engagement tool that can increase employee productivity and develop learning through bite-sized pieces. Since it focuses on a single topic at a specific time, learners gain specific knowledge and information efficiently, helping businesses to boost their profitability.
Deliver fast learning and results
With microlearning, businesses can create a module with numerous units in an hour. This helps them to respond quickly to evolving business objectives and new training demands. Since short bits of information are very easy to remember, it provides the best results for both the learner and the organization.
Related: 4 Ways to Train Employees Effectively
Since manyeducational institutes were closed due to Covid-19, microlearning has increased rapidly due to the lack of alternatives. The key expectation in today’s learning community is to generate engaging content that is readily understood and retained. In times of crisis, organizations should also consider implementing microlearning.
As we enter the post-pandemic world, virtual learning will no longer be an anomaly as students and professionals embrace newer methods of learning. Since microlearning is conversational, it is a far better choice for today’s business world.