Microlearning is a concept that is thrown around a lot as a new and tech-savvy way for businesses to conduct learning and development. With the way work is done today, microlearning can be a very useful training tool that can get more out of participants than traditional training workshops or courses. However it has to be implemented correctly in order to be successful.
What is Microlearning?
Microlearning is the breaking down of information into topical, bite-sized chunks which can be delivered at the most crucial points in the learning process. It focuses on the key components of any subject to make learning easier to digest and more effective. By focusing on fewer topics, the knowledge provided has a far greater likelihood of transferring from short-term to long-term memory for optimal embedding.
According to the Journal of Applied Psychology, microlearning is 17% more efficient than traditional, longer duration courses. Additionally, microlearning can increase learner engagement from 15% to up to 90% depending on the industry. This is because microlearning usually takes no more than 10 minutes per day and can take many forms, such as a short video or a quiz. This coupled with the gamified nature of microlearning means that participants are genuinely interested in the content and are more likely to retain the information.
What are the Benefits?
- Time Efficient
Most people are extremely time poor in today’s society. According to Bersin (2017), the average modern worker has just 24 minutes a week available for learning. This can make learning and upskilling very challenging as the time is not easily prioritised.
Microlearning is the perfect solution for this, as these modules are purposely designed to be fast, easy to understand and entertaining. They can be quickly completed on the way to work, on your lunch break or while waiting for children at school pick-up.
- Improved Employee Engagement and Interest
Traditional training programs can feel quite laborious, and it can be very easy for participants to lose interest. The short time required to complete microlearning contributes to increased engagement for learners, as it is targeted for a specific learning objective. Participants can work through the modules quickly to understand the concept and then move on to the next. Generally speaking, it is much more effective to have specific modules that address specific objectives as opposed to drawn-out training covering multiple objectives.
- Reduced Overload
In completing microlearning, learners are able to access small bits of information instead of having to consume large quantities of complex information. This helps to prevent cognitive overload so that participants can absorb information and improve understanding. Microlearning doesn’t overload the working memory, which can only effectively process a small amount of information at a time. As a result, the brain is able to process the information better and connect it to their pre-existing knowledge base.
- Better Retention and Embedding
Microlearning courses that are quick and simple to complete assists participants to better retain key concepts. The gamified nature of microlearning, often coupled with videos or animations, makes it easier for learners to understand what action needs to be performed or the learning outcome that needs to be accomplished.
Additionally, microlearning can be used in conjunction with other training methods such as workshops in order to further embed learning. Microlearning can be completed before undertaking training, to establish a base level of knowledge, and then after completion of other training, to gauge the understanding level of participants.
- Practical Implementation
As concepts are learned and retained through microlearning, learners can apply the concepts better in their role. The objective of any sort of training is to help participants to upskill and improve their performance, which is naturally easier when learners are able to understand and remember the concepts better.
Microlearning can help participants to better understand concepts as it is directly linked to an action that the worker must perform in their job. Additionally, the memory drop that happens after training is reduced with microlearning as learners can take the microlearning course at any time or place to refresh their understanding.
Why We Believe In It?
Micro assessments can be used to obtain the full benefit of the actual knowledge, solidifying it in the mind of the learner, while also having the added benefit of learning what you don’t know. These assessments can be presented in the form of a multiple-choice quiz to encourage repetition of learning concepts and highlight common misunderstandings. From completing micro assessments, the learner then knows their areas for improvement.
Additionally, these micro assessments can provide feedback to the employer about the overall understanding of the workforce, and any areas that may need to be the focus area of future training. This immediate feedback provides a new insight to employee knowledge that is not as easily obtained through traditional training processes.
This involves presenting learners with the same content at spaced intervals in order to continuously revise the content. We all know that cramming doesn’t lead to long-term retention. Microlearning presents information in a bite-sized format that is easy to absorb and can be repeated in regular intervals to foster memory recall.
Microlearning offers content in short spurts that are just long enough for learners to give it their full attention. As a business conducting learning and development for employees, we are very aware that you want to get as much value for your investment as possible. There is no point on spending the money on training for employees to forget what they have learnt. Microlearning is an excellent solution as the spaced repetition involved means that employees will be far more likely to retain new information and implement it into their role, as opposed to trying to consume large amounts of information in a one-time workshop and then trying to remember it.
The culmination of well-crafted content, micro assessments and spaced repetition means that the information will be further embedded. Microlearning distils large quantities of information down into the need-to-know points and provides revision for learners. By focusing on fewer topics multiple times, knowledge has a greater likelihood of transferring from short-term to long-term memory where it is embedded and easily recalled.
As discussed above, we find this to be particularly useful as an additional training measure used in conjunction with other more traditional means such as workshops. Learners can complete microlearning prior to doing training to see their base level of knowledge, and then after doing training to see if their understanding has improved. Microlearning can also continue to be done on an ongoing basis to act as a refresher for participants to continue revising the content, which will further support the embedding of knowledge.
Overall, microlearning can be an extremely effective learning technique for the modern workforce where the content is curated carefully to address the training needs required. The effectiveness of microlearning will come from identifying the problems being experienced, to solutions, and what medium will most effectively impart knowledge and foster positive behaviour change from participants.