How many of these factors apply to your organization’s employees?
- A high percentage of millennial, Gen Y, and/or Gen Z employees
- Employees who are “field-based,” spend their work hours away from a desk, and/or typically complete work activities on mobile devices
- A workforce that is keen to adopt new technology
Now let’s be honest; does this list also describe your workforce?
- People with several competing demands throughout their days
- People who are prone to multi-tasking
- People with short attention spans
If you said yes to all (or any!) of these descriptions, then microlearning may be an excellent fit for your organization. Often described as “bite-sized” learning, or learning that meets the moment of need, microlearning is any small piece of content that learners can consume on-demand, typically in less than five minutes.
On-demand consumption is a hallmark of microlearning; learners tend to “pull” microlearning content (search it out for themselves) when they want it, rather than having it “pushed” onto them (such as through mandatory training assignments). Whether you were aware of it or not, you’ve probably consumed microlearning during one of your own moments of need. If you’ve ever searched the internet or YouTube for a quick how-to tutorial on a task such as fixing a leaky faucet or changing a tire on your car, you’ve consumed microlearning.
Most importantly, your employees want to consume microlearning.
Let’s explore a few reasons why microlearning is in such hot demand:
- Microlearning respects employees’ precious time
Chances are, your employees are busy. Maybe your organization is even suffering from a pandemic-related staffing shortage. If your employees are in sales or other revenue-generating roles, any time spent on training is time they’re not earning commissions or making a profit for the company.
Microlearning makes use of their precious training time by providing highly relevant, highly specific content during their moment of need. It’s what they want, when they want it, without any extraneous fluff.
- Microlearning is a mobile-friendly training option
Microlearning makes use of rich media, including videos, podcasts, and images. It’s accessible on a range of devices, from traditional computers to tablets to smartphones. Employees are no longer restricted to physical classrooms, computer labs, or even desks. Learning can now happen on the go, anywhere employees are, such as in the field, during their commute or travel times, and even at their homes.
- Microlearning lends itself well to social learning
What’s the last video or meme you shared with a friend? Microlearning makes educational content equally as enjoyable and shareable as the sort of media we consume outside of work. If you have a new coworker who’s in need of support, or if you have a favorite resource that helps you on the job, sharing a micro piece of content can help build relationships among teams and improve overall knowledge retention and engagement.
- Microlearning meets their moment of need
Think back to the last time you opened an internet search engine and typed in the words, “How to…”. Microlearning addresses that same moment of need. Learners are highly motivated to consume microlearning content because chances are they sought it out. Offer your learners exactly what they need with targeted content (no more than one or two objectives!) that they can absorb with minimal interruption to their work.
- Microlearning encourages experiential learning
Many people identify as either visual or kinesthetic learners, meaning they need to either see something to support their learning or physically try it for themselves. In the workplace, many trades and skills lend themselves to visual and kinesthetic working. Microlearning can make use of hands-on learning experiences such as scenarios, simulations, and demonstrations, effectively helping people learn by doing the sort of tasks that will be expected of them upon completion of training. By offering valuable practice opportunities during training, your learners will have higher retention of the content and will avoid the potentially dangerous act of practicing their new skills for the first time with their customers.
- Microlearning has a high impact, with a minimal investment
Microlearning is not only quick and easy for learners to consume; it’s also quick and easy for designers to develop. It can span nearly any format, from video, to podcast, to eLearning, to text-based documents, as long as it is brief in nature. It can be highly cost-effective, considering the minimal development resources required to create it, and the minimal time stamp required to consume it. When created with rapid development authoring tools, the design and development process is a cinch.
Microlearning is more than a hot trend in instructional design; it’s a meaningful addition to any learning management arsenal. Whether you create your own content or curate off-the-shelf courseware, microlearning is a perfect solution for content that reduces cognitive load and facilitates easy understanding. Eliminate the “nice to know” content and get right to the point by offering your audience of learners exactly what they’re searching for.