Microlearning is changing our understanding of how people—especially employees—like to learn. In this post, we look at the 3 biggest ways it benefits L&D programs, and how to capture those benefits in your own training.
Microlearning refers to learning content that’s been broken down into bite-size chunks, usually no more than 10–15 minutes.
If you’re used to long classroom sessions or eLearning courses, then a short training may come as a shock. How much can anyone learn in 10–15 minutes?
The answer: A lot; particularly if there are multiple sessions. Besides, the truth is that training length does not always correlate to training efficacy and efficiency.
Just look to your own life for any number of examples. What do you do when you need to learn how to change the oil in your car? Or install a dishwasher? Do you sign up for a long training program? No, you watch a 10-minute tutorial video on YouTube or look for the answer on Google or Wikipedia.
These days people find and learn the information they need to know when they need to know it. Incorporating microlearning into your training programs is a great way to meet people where they are and improve the effectiveness of your business’s training. Let’s see how.
#1) Better Retention of Course Material
The main benefit of microlearning is that people retain the knowledge better than traditional training.
It’s common for traditional classroom trainings and hour-long eLearning courses to cover multiple topics in one sitting. This can leave employees exhausted, however, and only having internalized and retained a few points.
With microlearning, you get rid of all the fluff and focus the training on the topics your employees need to know. Plus, it’s much easier to stay focused for a few minutes rather than a few hours.
#2) More Time Spent Being Productive
The less time your employees spend training, the more time they get to do their jobs.
Traditional classroom trainings or eLearning courses can take hours. Those extra hours don’t always equate to extra benefit. By incorporating microlearning into your training programs, you’re effectively giving your employees time back in their day.
Plus, eLearning is flexible. Ideally, your employees can take a quick training on their downtime, whether at their desk or on their phone. Microlearning courses also make the material much easier to find and reference should they ever need a quick refresher.
#3) Employee Satisfaction
Long trainings can be a grind, and in a lot of jobs, time is money. When you give your employees an hour-long training, they may think of it as a waste of time. Time they could be spending earning their commissions.
Adding microlearning to your training shows your employees that you value their time. Give them the power to take new trainings and access the information they need to do their jobs without making it inconvenient.
The above benefits all work to empower your employees to be their best. And empowered employees are satisfied employees.
So, how do you achieve these benefits in your own L&D program?
Now that you understand the benefits, you can start breaking up some of your existing training material. Here are a few scenarios where microlearning works best.
Scenario #1 – Onboarding
Traditional onboardings can take days, sometimes weeks. That can be a slog for new hires. Inundating them with so much new information, all at once, can be overwhelming. If you can, break up your onboardings into microlearning modules.
Get them started with the information they need right away, and then allow them to meet people and settle into the job.
Scenario #2 – Systems Training
Microlearning is perfect for new systems training. When you’re implementing a new software or technology, not everyone needs to know everything about that software. By breaking up that training module, you give people the power to pick and choose the features they need to learn to do their jobs well.
Scenario #3 – Required Yearly Trainings
Many companies have yearly required training around regulations or office policies, such as sexual harassment training. While these are necessary, they don’t have to be the annual time sink they can be.
You can create microlearning modules around these topics and give your employees a due date for their completion. That way, they’re not taking time away from their desk to go through trainings they’ve probably done before.
Scenario #4 – Supplemental Material for Traditional Trainings
In cases where you can’t get rid of your traditional classroom-based trainings, you can use microlearning modules as reference material. Break down the course content from your day long training into easily searchable modules so that your employees can get refreshers when they need them.
Microlearning works, but that doesn’t make it a silver bullet. If you want to get the most out of its benefits, take care to understand how your employees like to learn and where bite-sized modules could fit into your current L&D strategy. Doing this will help you not just capture the benefits but put them to work for your business.