Did you know that employers, on average, spend USD 1308 per employee on learning and development initiatives worldwide?1 However, this amount is split between different techniques based on what works best for the learners. Many organizations are dabbling with microlearning which offers small learning units in bite-sized chunks to prevent an information overload.
The Need for Microlearning
Every year, the number of millennials entering the workforce is on the rise. Estimates suggest that most working adults belong to this age group. This is significant because millennials consume and learn content in a different and often unorthodox way. Thanks to the increasing use of technology and over-exposure to different forms of media, their attention spans are often shorter. This makes it difficult for them to sit through long hours of in-depth training, which may require extensive reading or listening to lectures. Micro-learning tools, on the other hand, offer the opportunity to receive information quickly and effectively.
So, how does microlearning work? How does it compare against traditional techniques of L&D? What makes it an attractive training option for the current workforce? Let’s find out.
There’s no doubt that short-form video content such as YouTube Shorts is growing in popularity. These one-to-five-minute-long segments are not only interesting, but they don’t take up a considerable amount of time to watch. The same applies to training as well. Learning is exposed to meaningful and relevant information within a short time. Microlearning also allows the learners to re-visit content if they need a refresher without spending hours re-training.
Wondering how microlearning works? It deals with customizing content according to the learner’s job, responsibility and role. This makes the content highly relevant to the target audience. The learner doesn’t have to sit through hours of training wondering how to apply it to his or her work. Content that isn’t tailor-made can become redundant and repetitive. On the other hand, microlearning allows you to build content that explicitly meets a need, whether the topic relates to customer service, negotiation, building sales, or introducing new industry standards.
Microlearning gives L&D opportunities to make content interactive, fun, creative and engaging. Animation, graphics, and other tools can help retain attention and helps to make the content more memorable. Millennials have a dozen distractions that can tear their attention away. Thus, it helps to have relevant and short-format content that keeps them engaged throughout.
Often, learners sit through lengthy training hours and only remember about 20% to 30% of what they’ve heard. Not only is this a waste of company time during the program, but the identical learners may need refresher courses again in the future to remind them of the same concepts. On the contrary, since microlearning content is focussed and concise, it can lead to better retention and makes room for refresher training without wasting too much time.
There’s no doubt that L&D initiatives require monetary investment, but imagine if you could cut that down by approximately 30% yet retain its effectiveness. Microlearning content is cost-effective as it can be created quickly and easily. Therefore, even smaller firms or start-ups can benefit from training initiatives without breaking the bank. Further, you can introduce new programs across the organization much faster than traditional training. This gives new employees or even existing one’s greater access to developmental initiatives.
In the current business scenario, with teams spread across geographical locations or even working from home, it becomes necessary to make content available round-the-clock. Learners should be able to learn on the go and devices of their own choice. With mobile learning, they can fit in sessions based on convenience, anytime, anywhere. Microlearning makes content readily accessible as it perfectly fits within the mobile learning model.
Still thinking about how microlearning works? An increasing number of organizations are adopting this training technique as learners can learn at their own pace. They don’t have to worry about fitting into a structured or rigid system of learning which is more demanding on their time or effort. Further, their learning speed doesn’t affect others undertaking the same course. If they feel they need extra time to understand a concept, they can simply rewatch it at a later time or pause the session to read up on the topic.
These are just some ways that microlearning is revolutionizing the training niche and affecting significant change across industries.