When the average employee has only 24 minutes per week to learn, there is an increasing demand for learning to be delivered in manageable, easy to access formats.
Micro-learning is defined as the breaking down of information into topical, bite sized chunks. By engaging with information in such short bursts, the likelihood of retention is increased, making the time spent learning more efficient.
Having already been hugely beneficial in the fast-paced corporate training arena, micro-learning tools are continuing to shape the ever-changing landscape of learning in the digital age.
Micro-learning is a relatively new phenomenon in the history of corporate training. Around the same time the first smartphone was released, quick snippets of information in the form of videos, quizzes, interviews and talks were becoming increasingly popular.
The formats and tools used for micro-learning are wide-ranging, including infographics, PDFs, eBooks, flipbooks, animated videos and whiteboard animation.
These tools have benefits over more in-depth eLearning courses, as they are more digestible and easier to complete quickly. They can also be accessed anytime, anywhere.
Additionally, they are better value and low-cost to produce, which is great news for learning and development professionals with tight budgets to consider!
Globally renowned industry analyser and research analyst, Josh Bersin, describes a new paradigm emerging in corporate training. He labels this, ‘learning in the flow of work’, which means presenting employees with opportunities to learn through platforms they are already using to work.
The advent of micro-learning tools is paving the way for such advances, as they enable employees to quickly view new material while they are logging in, or engaging with a regular activity in their daily routine.
There is no doubt that micro-learning is already having a massive impact in the corporate training sector, but how can learning and development professionals support employees to use the tools effectively?
These tips will help your colleagues to make the most of the learning tools on offer to them, while respecting the limited amount of time they have:
It is important for learners to take ownership of their training where possible and identify topic areas they may need more assistance with. Using the diagnostic assessment tools available on the LMS dashboard, either instructors or learners can decide which pieces of information they need to view next, and gain knowledge in a targeted way.
Micro-learning tools are designed to be easy to engage with and snappy. This makes the information easier to digest, but recording the key points after watching a video or looking at an infographic will help learners to further embed the new knowledge. Your colleagues can do this by putting the information into their own words, perhaps by taking notes, creating an audio recording of their thoughts or drawing a mind map. Encourage them to pick a tool that works best for them.
An important part of learning new information is engaging with it actively. Watching a video to learn something, while beneficial, is a fairly passive activity, so it is important to engage with the information on another level. Encourage your colleagues to ask questions, or to be curious about the information they have just learned. Do they agree with it all? Or do they have further questions?
Talking about learning with others or sharing knowledge is also an important part of embedding new information. Where appropriate, it might be helpful to give staff opportunities to share and discuss what they have been learning about that week as an opportunity to extend the learning further and swap new thoughts and ideas.
Finding out what your employees think of the eLearning process in your organisation is also crucial to their ongoing engagement. If a particular course was too easy or too difficult, it is unlikely that they will take an interest in the rest of the content.
With learning content becoming more condensed and widely available, staying focused without getting distracted is important. There might also be a temptation to use learning tools to procrastinate. Avoid this by tagging learning time onto the end of particular routines or activities employees are already completing.
Personalising learning is the difference between content being engaging or boring. Content needs to address an individual’s learning needs as accurately as possible, and advancing technology is helping to simplify this process.
Learners can use diagnostic data to understand if there are any topics they need to learn more about. They can do further independent research if necessary, or perhaps complete an additional online course.
If training is disseminated in large groups, it is unlikely to have the same impact as a more personalised approach. Micro-learning tools are helping to facilitate a more tailored learning experience for different individuals.