Microlearning: Solving the Training Time Crunch

Today’s workers are more pressed for time than ever. So a learning model that expedites training—while keeping it fun and motivating for both employees and instructors—is essential. That’s the aim of microlearning, a method that integrates adult learning techniques, attention spans and motivation to maximize training opportunities.

What is microlearning?                              

Personal and professional development for employees is critical to the overall success of a company. A well-developed training and development program engages employees, builds a positive company culture, and helps ensure that employees have the most effective knowledge, skills and tools to succeed.

Microlearning is a short-term, on-demand learning method that provides employees with quick bursts of training. Instruction is usually delivered via brief lectures, video tutorials and interactive e-learning. This style allows employees to better fit training into their schedules and apply new skills sooner to their work.

What are the benefits?

Microlearning offers several advantages over traditional training programs.

Rapid learning – Microlearning can be an efficient yet effective way to train. With short lessons and easily accessible materials, employees quickly learn information and gain new skills.

Flexibility – With microlearning, employees can learn when it is best for them. They can access content on demand and fit lessons into their own personal schedule.

Engaging – Microlearning is designed to include interactive, interesting and engaging content and materials that are easy to understand. With formats like videos and quizzes, employees can stay focused, understand topics better and retain the most knowledge.

Cost effective – Compared to traditional courses and workshops, microlearning can be more cost effective for employers. It eliminates the need for travel and other associated costs and enables employers to provide training with minimal investment.

What are potential issues with microlearning?

Depending on your company’s unique situation, you might face some hurdles.

Information retention – Because microlearning content is short, it can be harder for some learners to remember the information they’ve been taught. Longer and more comprehensive methods might be required for some employees to ensure knowledge retention.

Limited content capacity – Too much content can be difficult to digest and can overwhelm employees, making it hard to focus and understand the material.

Limited time – Microlearning can only provide limited instruction—and that might not be enough to effectively learn a topic that’s vast in scope or requires in-depth knowledge. A longer, more comprehensive course is probably better in these instances.

Technical issues – Microlearning typically relies on technology and network connections; technical issues can disrupt the learning process.

How can we start a microlearning program?

While the exact process depends on how your organization operates, here’s a basic path.

  1. Design a learning plan. This will define the areas of knowledge and skills employees need to develop for their job roles or career aspirations. It should include a list of topics and the types of micro learning materials that will be used.
  2. Develop content. Microlearning should include content that is engaging, interactive and easy to understand. As mentioned before, materials such as short videos, lectures and quizzes work well.
  3. Educate your staff. Tell them about the concept of microlearning and let them know why your company is introducing this new learning method.
  4. Encourage participation. Make sure employees have access to microlearning materials, and encourage them to participate.
  5. Measure results. Track the progress and results of microlearning to assess the effectiveness of your program and identify areas for improvement.

Is microlearning right for my organization?

As advantageous as microlearning is, some companies will benefit more from it than others. For starters, make sure your organization has a reliable IT environment. Since many microlearning tools are web based and involve video, your technology must be able to support them. If your network is slow or you don’t allow certain video players, your employees could have difficulty with the training.

You should also consider your employees’ schedules. If your workplace is a busy one (task oriented, workforce pressed for time, etc.), microlearning can help them fit training into their packed day. It’s also useful for remote employees, since brief video lessons can be viewed from pretty much anywhere.

Additionally, keep in mind the employees themselves. Younger workers—in particular Gen Z-ers—are accustomed to short-form videos with innovative filming methods and interactive content. If your workforce is heavy with members of this age group, microlearning could be a great option.

Microlearning can also help if your company has a limited budget. Traditional employee training can involve travel and extended time away. Related expenses such as meals, hotel stays and lost job productivity can add up quickly.

Who do I contact for help starting microlearning?

Many organizations and companies specialize in microlearning and can assist you in starting a microlearning program. Consider speaking to an educational consultant to get expert advice and help in designing a successful program. There are also microlearning platforms available that provide the necessary tools and resources.

Training is critical to your organization’s success. Not only does it help your employees do their jobs better, it demonstrates how much you value their work. It also shows you’re invested in their success and professional development.

Microlearning takes this to a whole new level of adaptability—an important factor given today’s workforce. Quick, cost-effective and engaging, it can be accessed anytime and anywhere. Consider adding microlearning into your training and development plans.


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