There is no doubt that we live in an age of information overload. Everyone is bombarded with information all the time. In such a situation, asking employees to go through hour-long e-learning courses is not a good idea. Besides, there is little chance that your employees will benefit from this initiative. Enter micro-learning, essentially small learning units that deliver learning in bite-sized pieces.
The elementary word here is ‘small’ and as someone said, “It’s always the small pieces that make the big picture.” Small learning units are acceptable to learners and organizations can achieve their training targets by delivering micro-learning modules to receptive employees.
In an environment of cognitive overload, small learning units are brief targeted modules that last between 3 to 6 minutes. They can be accessed anytime, anywhere. These features engage and build successful behaviors in employees. What‘s more, this training methodology meets the demands of present day organizations and employees. Want to know how? Read on.
Small learning units:
Suit the millennial workforce
Small learning units suit the millennial workforce, whose attention spans are dwindling to lesser than that of a goldfish. They expect information to be available in small bursts without taking too much of their time.
Micro-learning is developed using cutting-edge technology and instructional design strategies to create concise, highly engaging modules. They can be developed in several formats such as short videos, quizzes, interactive activities, presentations, or readings, accessible on various devices. This provides millennials:
- The autonomy to learn – training can be taken on any device with an Internet connection (laptop, desktop, tablet or Smartphone).
- The flexibility to choose when and where they want to learn based on their schedule.
- Non-interruption of normal work activities.
- The flexibility to access the lessons as many times as they wish.
- Shorter exposure to information at a time,
Are designed keeping in mind adult learning principles
Small learning units cater to adult learning principles. Unlike children , adults need to know why they are learning something, Since these units are created on a ‘need to know’ basis, only the most essential information goes into them, the fat is trimmed out and they contain only the relevant information. This aspect makes them receptive to adult learners. It is especially significant for employees who already have knowledge of the subject and need to be trained a something new or a specific aspect.
Adults prefer self-directed learning. These units are self-directing; they allow learners to access their topic of interest without having to go through the entire course. They can decide which micro module to review. They are free to choose the lessons without having to follow any specific order.
In adults, the motive to learn is problem-centered. Micro-learning modules are problem-centric. A learner looking for answers to a specific question just has to access that particular module. This makes the retention of knowledge easier.
Aid better knowledge retention
In order to retain new information, we need to review it intermittently. Small learning modules aid periodic reviews by providing learners access to the material whenever they need it. This is also known as spaced repetition where repeated interaction with the learning content can effectively improve retention. These modules can also contain questions which will force the learner to recall the information. This retrieval of information is known as repeated retrieval and is an effective method to help the learner commit the information to memory.
Provide Just-in-Time ( JIT) learning
One big advantage of small learning units is instant gratification; when the learner requires specific information, he can access a particular module to find his answer. They can also be used as performance aids or quick problem solving tools on the field, particularly in professions that require continuous updates. The JIT aspect takes very little of the learner’s time and helps him apply the lesson in real time. For instance, here is a screenshot of a micro-learning module we created for a client who intended to teach employees how to change their password on their online portal.
Suit mobile learning
Small learning units are ideal for delivery on mobile devices. Mobile phones can be used to deliver tiny chunks of information in short periods of time. Besides, learners can access them on the go, something mobile phones are used for. Small learning units are about 3-5 minutes long, which learners can consume in one go. Half of the world’s population will be using mobile Internet by 2020, according to a digital inclusion report published by GSMA in 2014. Micro-learning through mobiles is the way to go.
Target a specific objective
These learning units center on one specific learning objective, they focus on performance gaps by concentrating on a particular knowledge or skill. Employees can learn one single thing from each micro module. They can go through these units as many times as needed. The result is improved action without interrupting the workflow because of the non-intrusive nature of these learning modules.
Are easy to create
This is yet another positive aspect for organizations. These units require less time and effort to create and are easy to update. This means less cost and development time.The average time we take to create a micro-learning module of 3-5 minutes is 16 hours. It is less labor intensive to design, execute, and upload compared to a regular e-learning module.
Small learning units provide huge benefits to both learners and organizations. When used appropriately, they can create a big impact. What do you think? Share your views.