“Microlearning is the new normal,” “Microlearning is the solution you were looking for,” “Microlearning in online training is a win-win for both organization and employees” and the praises seem never-ending. Quite evidently, microlearning is a buzzword in the training industry and people can’t stop gushing about it. The benefits of providing bite-sized learning nuggets include enhanced retention levels, faster turnaround, better transfer of knowledge and many more. Although these factors seem tempting, are you contemplating whether microlearning is actually the right fit for your organization?
Microlearning Fits Well in Online Training, if:
- Your learners are hard-pressed for time
- You are facing problems engaging learners
- You are looking for ways to support performance
- You are looking to promote continual learning
- You are looking for faster ways to respond to business changes
Here are 5 questions that will help you decide. And if your answer is ‘Yes’ to all these questions, you can be sure that microlearning will fit into your training strategy.
5 Questions to Decide If Microlearning is a Good Fit in Your Online Training
1. Are Your Learners Hard-Pressed for Time?
According to LinkedIn’s 2018 Workplace Learning Report, each group in their survey identified ‘getting employees to make time for learning’ as the #1 challenge for talent management. Well this does not necessarily imply that employees are unwilling to learn or undergo training. In fact, 94% of employees said they would stay in the current company for long if it invested in their career development. However, taking out time for a course of 60 minutes or more is a reduction of 60 minutes of productive worktime.
So, how do you provide learning opportunities without having to take away considerable worktime? If your organization is facing this challenge, here’s microlearning to save the day for you!
Microlearning deals with bite-sized learning nuggets that offer just the right amount of information essential to achieve a specific objective. That means each microlearning module will address one learning objective. So to say, if your 60 minutes training session has 5 learning objectives, each one can be turned into a micro module.
If you’re wondering about the duration of micro modules, ATD Research found respondents saying microlearning should ideally be around 10 minutes. It is still alright if it goes up to 13 minutes. However, you can play with the time as long as it’s addressing a single thought, which will anyway be lesser than a lengthier training session.
Moreover, being short and light, microlearning in online training is a perfect fit for mobile learning. Simply put, microlearning on mobile devices enables learning to move beyond the confines of the four walls of a classroom and reaches employees anytime, anywhere on their mobile devices. Your learners can access these modules during a coffee break, while commuting to work, or anywhere you can think of.
So, is it a Yes or a No for this question?
2. Are You Facing Problems Engaging Learners in Training?
Learner engagement can be termed as the ‘most important ingredient’ to make a successful online learning program. In a world full of distractions and dwindling attention spans, engaging learners throughout isn’t less than a herculean task. If you are facing issues engaging learners in your training sessions, moving to microlearning is one way you can go, especially if you are also looking to offer learners resources in various formats!
According to a survey by Software Advice, more than 50% of employees are more encouraged to use their organization’s learning tools if they are broken down into shorter modules, rather than a few lengthy training sessions. The reason being, shorter modules are easier to digest and can be easily fused into employees’ work processes.
Having said so, you can lose your learners if your microlearning assets are lackluster in presentation with dull content and no visual respite. Hence, it becomes important to not only make use of multimedia elements but provide them with different microlearning formats as well.
Microlearning formats you can opt for include:
- Videos are one of the widely used microlearning formats. Its media-rich presentation never fails to hold learners’ attention and allows easy information process. Videos can be of different types including explainers, interactive, whiteboard animations, and text-based videos.
- Audio Podcasts are no less when it comes to creative an immersive learning experience. They include a compelling storyline and audio narration that makes for an engaging micro asset.
- Infographics are great if you want to provide key takeaways. Their visual approach to summarizing important aspects aids better recall and retention. Interactive and motion-based infographics allow you to pack more information in the form of clickable buttons or icons that learners have to click for information to be revealed.
- Interactive PDFs and eBooks are unlike their static versions. They allow you to offer more information in smaller clickable groups that learners can explore and learn.
- Scenarios and Simulations provide a taste of real-life situations without learners having to face the actual consequences. Scenarios in online training can be opted when you want to hone learners’ decision-making skills. Simulations work best for software training where learners can ‘watch-try-do’.
- Game-based Nuggets help you take the engagement quotient one notch higher. A fully playable game is spun around the learning content where learners have to play the game to gain knowledge.
3. Are You Looking for Better Ways to Support Performance?
Performance support tools are made to complement formal training. They are designed to address one specific problem or challenge. Employees should be able to access performance support tools wherever and whenever they need to. And what better than microlearning assets to do so? They address one learning point, enough to achieve one actionable objective. They are light, easy and available on mobile devices for anytime anywhere access.
For instance, a sales representative of an organization is struggling to recall the new features of a product right before he is about to meet a customer. In such a situation, performance support is indispensable because he is waiting to make a sales pitch to the customer. He could use a printed product manual to look for the new features. However, this can cost him ample time, right when he needs to perform. Don’t you think accessing the same updates in the form of an infographic on the mobile would be better? Here’s how microlearning in online training can save the day!
Microlearning assets such as an interactive eBooks, infographics, and videos are easier to access and provide engaging information. Moreover, the content in PDFs and eBooks is easily searchable. Learners can type the keyword they are looking for, without having to sift through the entire content. Hence, your employees find what they need in a short time, enhancing the learning experience in turn.
4. Are You Looking for Ways to Promote a Continual Learning Culture in Your Organization?
Learning can’t be event-based, it’s a continual process. Learning has to reach the realms of informal, on-demand and social learning, so that your employees are nurtured regularly. Learning continually equips them with the necessary skills to cope with the demands of your trade.
In this vein, microlearning and social learning will make a great pair to fulfill this demand. Let’s see how.
Due to their size, microlearning assets are easier to share and re-share. Much like the 1-minute videos in Instagram, posts in Facebook, or LinkedIn. Learners comment on these posts which can lead to further discussions. So, instead of posts, you can utilize microlearning assets such as videos, podcasts, and interactive PDFs in social learning platforms to encourage interactions or discussions.
Your employees can post queries in social media groups or online discussion forums. And those who know can answer, suggest useful tips, as well as forward microlearning assets related to the topic. These assets don’t take up much space and can be downloaded for later reference.
Social learning makes learning more personal when learners vest interest in content curation and microlearning can play a crucial role in it. For instance, user-generated content which allows information sharing. Those who know the solution can quickly shoot a short video or record a podcast. The crisp nature of the assets allows others to comprehend and respond much faster.
So, what do you think? Is it a Yes or a NO?
5. Are You Looking for Faster Ways to Respond to Business Changes?
With technological innovations and dynamic market trends, event-based training sessions will seldom bear fruits. Considering this scenario, imagine how much time it would take to update your average 40-minute eLearning course. For instance, the updates can be about features of a product or even policies for that matter. Moreover, there can be instances when you have to develop new learning modules. Quite evidently, developing microlearning modules will be much faster.
Moreover, the bite-sized nature of microlearning assets make it much easier and hassle-free to update and maintain. This contrasts with lengthy training sessions which can take up to several weeks. Easy updates also imply you can roll out modules much faster. This in turn enables your employees to keep up in the face of change. Need I say more?
It’s Decision Time!
So, how many Yeses did you get? Well, it’s hard not to be convinced about the benefits. Microlearning is a win-win for your organization as well as your employees. So, if you still haven’t started leveraging it, it’s never too late to go micro!
Having talked about Microlearning, I have something that can help you get more insights on it. Here’s an eBook on “Where Does Microlearning Fit in Your Learning Strategy?” that you can download for free. You can know what is microlearning, what it is not, the different micro assets, tips and tools for rapid microlearning development, and so much more!