The eLearning industry relies heavily on ‘psychology’ to create new and better technologically-enabled learning strategies that will effectively meet a company’s objectives and goals, through proper training and knowledge transfer. One of these solutions is microlearning. There are several benefits associated with microlearning in corporate training – especially with reinforcement training; however, without a basic understanding of how the brain absorbs information, it’s hard to understand why and how these short (as short as a minute to a few minutes more) slavers, impact learning.
Here is an interesting fact: “Research on the forgetting curve shows that retention rates are declining.
This is enough to tell us that regular reinforcement training after the original training is mandatory. That’s the easy part. The tricky part is ascertaining that, that reinforcement training is effective. Fortunately, the structural function of microlearning modules takes care of this.
Reinforcement Training and Microlearning’s Contribution
The beauty of long-term memory is its infinite capacity to store information. The problem is when this information must be retrieved. Often an external storage device, such as a computer, is faster than our brain’s ability to recall information. But with regular reinforcements, this problem is managed.
- Reinforcement training must only reiterate important information/knowledge that was shared through a full-fledged training program. Nothing new (in terms of knowledge), must be passed on to learners during reinforcement. However, it is okay to provide information that is related to and can be connected to learners’ existing knowledge, as these connections strengthen knowledge.
A microlearning module is short and to the point – an ideal way to reinforce important information that was passed on via a training program. Important content is sifted from the not-so-important content and presented in modules. Learners access this information without being distracted by insignificant content, making it easier to submit what matters, to memory.
- It’s easier to absorb and retain small snippets of information than large portions of content. So, reinforcement training must not be long and complicated. It must be presented in a manner that is easy to read, understand, assimilate and absorb.
When developing microlearning modules, content from the original course is chunked into small snippets of information. Each snippet covers one learning point, and makes up a module. Each microlearning module therefore, concentrates on a specific learning objective, making it easy to understand and learn. This module can stand independently on its own, or it can be one of a series of modules that cover the entire course.
It is a well-known fact that information that is understood is easier to retain than tacit information; and there is a better chance of learners retaining that information for longer periods.
- The brain absorbs different mediums of instruction such as speech, auditory, visual, and kinesthetic – and not just text. Reinforcement training must provide variety to make learning engaging.
Microlearning is not limited to text alone; modules can be made up of audio files, video, assessments, and even game-based learning. These presentation forms force learners to actively participate in the learning process and make connections with their existing knowledge. When such connections are made, there is reaffirmation, deeper understanding, and strengthening of information.
- Employees are busy people. Reinforcement training must be made accessible – anytime and anywhere.
Microlearning modules can be downloaded and viewed offline. They can be delivered across a variety of devices, making them easily accessible from anywhere and at any time. When microlearning modules are revisited, knowledge is again reinforced, strengthened, and will be transferred to long-term memory. What we will soon have is learners who are familiar with the information accessed via the module.
Training managers often find it hard to create an effective training program, and get their employees to complete regular training – let alone participate in reinforcement training. Lack of time, money, and talent force organizations to barely scrape by with regular training; and reinforcement training is skipped altogether. This has a negative impact on these organizations. The good news is that microlearning is easy to create, update, and even deliver.
There is this other point that we must take into consideration: The human attention span has been repeatedly likened to that of a goldfish; that’s very unflattering, given that we have always considered ourselves as the highest form of animals (with our ability to reason, and because we (believe) have been created in the image of God). But it’s true – our attention spans are fast declining, and we don’t have it in us to stomach an entire hour of training – something that our ‘deviceless predecessors’ could boast of – just another among the myriad reasons to introduce microlearning to our learners.