09 June 2020
09 June 2020
What if there was a way to train your workforce so they quickly master and apply knowledge, wherever they are and whatever their role?
Well there is, and it’s called microlearning.
Microlearning isn’t a new concept by any means. The term was first coined in the 60s, but it’s only been over the last few years that it’s taken the learning industry by storm.
Microlearning isn’t just a buzzword. The size of the global microlearning industry is expected to grow to $2.7 billion USD by 2024.
But what is microlearning exactly, and what makes it the best choice for onboarding, training and continuous learning, especially when employees are geographically dispersed?
Table of Contents:
Microlearning is a skills-based approach to learning where content is delivered in short chunks, bites or nuggets that learners access whenever they need to, usually on a mobile device.
Each microlearning session is about one self-contained, standalone topic.
To help learners quickly master, apply and retain knowledge around a very specific topic.
Alternately, the goal of traditional learning approaches is merely the presentation of information.
The goal of microlearning isn’t just to make training content shorter so it takes up less of learners’ time.
It’s to quickly integrate information into a learner’s working memory, so it can be applied correctly in real life.
Microlearning does all of the following:
|Microlearning ✅||Not Microlearning ❌|
|Reading a short paragraph about a hypothetical situation where a customer tries to return an item, then selecting the best response from multiple choice items below||Watching a 10 minute video about a retailer’s return policy.|
|Watching a 3 minute video covering the basics of a new sanitation protocol and completing a 3 question quiz afterwards.||Reading a mobile-friendly infographic about a new warehouse sanitation protocol.|
Microlearning is about absorbing new information and successfully applying it.
Mobile learning is training that’s completed on a tablet or smartphone, wherever and whenever convenient for the learner. Mobile learning is optimized for whatever device the learner is using.
Microlearning is about the learning content itself - both its objective and structure.
We can think of mobile learning as the delivery mechanism, and we can think of microlearning as what’s inside.
Mobile learning is the how and microlearning is the why.
Mobile learning and microlearning have a symbiotic relationship.
Mobile learning needs microlearning content to capture the attention of the modern workforce, and microlearning needs mobile learning to reach every employee and be accessible on the go.
Microlearning has been a smash hit in just about every industry, from higher education to consumer-facing apps, and it’s easy to understand why.
Now, let’s look at some of the challenges employees and their employers face with onboarding, training and continuous learning.
So how does microlearning help employees and their employers overcome these challenges?
Microlearning content, also known as microcontent, is “small chunks of information focusing on a single definable idea or topic”.
Learners should be able to understand what’s in each chunk without any additional information, and chunks “cannot be divided into smaller pieces without the loss of meaning.”
So the first step for an organization wanting to move over to microlearning is to break down their training content into smaller chunks, each of which makes sense to users on their own.
Ideally, no longer than 10 minutes, but between 3 to 5 minutes seems to be the sweet spot for keeping learners engaged.
Here are some of the best choices:
Although learning, development and HR executives will usually initiate and own the authoring of microlearning content, don’t forget about the knowledge and best practices you already have within your network of employees.
User generated or influenced content is a fantastic way to engage your employees and help concepts stick, since they’ll be learning from their peers.
For example, you could record a 5 minute video of a site manager demonstrating how to implement a new sanitation procedure in the warehouse.
Switching over to microlearning is a whole lot more than dividing the training content you already have into smaller pieces.
Here are a few steps to get you started:1. Understand your audience.
Are your employees tech-savvy? What do they like and dislike about how training is done right now? What types of devices are most commonly used? How many work in offices, remotely, or out in the field?
2. Decide on need-to-know vs nice-to-know content.
Microlearning helps employees quickly absorb the information they need. Including everything will lead to information overload.
3. Decide on the formats you’ll use.
Are there any formats that are already working well? How will you measure which formats are the most successful?
4. Optimize for mobile.
Microlearning and mobile learning need each other. Microlearning apps and platforms like YOOBIC ensure your microlearning is easy to deploy and accessible for all your employees, wherever they are.
5. Ideally, choose a mobile learning platform
There’s a lot of choice out there, and it’s important to make a thorough list of your requirements and nice-to-haves to ensure you’re making the right choice for your workforce.
For more information, check out this free guide to choosing a mobile learning platform.
Most of us can remember an onboarding or training session that seemed to go on for hours, where around 1% of the content was actually useful and all we could think of was who was going to reach for that last complimentary donut.
With microlearning, times like these are quickly becoming a thing of the past.
Microlearning is the cure for ineffective workplace training, and by adopting this approach to learning, employers can create and organizational learning culture where knowledge actually is power.
 Buchem, I., & Hamelmann, H. (2010). Microlearning: A Strategy for Ongoing Professional Development. eLearning Papers, (21), 1-15, Sept. https://www.scirp.org/(S(czeh2tfqyw2orz553k1w0r45))/reference/ReferencesPapers.aspx?ReferenceID=1644222
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