Workforces across the globe need to deliver on business-critical goals in a fast-paced environment! And for that, they need to be current on their products, processes, and innovations. That’s where training comes in – especially, the microlearning approach – which fills and plugs critical gaps in knowledge and skills. Microlearning coupled with technology is the answer for the challenges of today’s time-constrained workforce.
So, it’s essential you, as a training manager, know the ‘what’, ‘when’, ‘why’, ‘where’ and ‘how’ of microlearning.
That’s what this blog is all about.
Microlearning – the Concept
The core of microlearning is to effectively manage learners’ cognitive load and fatigue through highly engaging ‘bite-sized’ learning modules.
A microlearning lesson (or nugget) could be anywhere from 3 to 10 minutes, enabling quick consumption and getting your learner straight to the point. This makes microlearning a very time-saving approach to learning, with no beating around the bush! For your employee, getting timely and quick help is all that matters!
Microlearning breaks down information into topical, bite-sized chunks, increasing retention and recall, completion rates, and learners’ confidence levels
It’s important to know that microlearning cannot be a one-time activity. It needs to be regular and ongoing to make training truly effective.
Microlearning enables employees to learn within their hectic schedules, and is the perfect solution with gamification, short sims, videos, podcasts, etc., easily delivered on learners’ laptops and smartphones via microlearning platforms.
All this makes the tech-driven microlearning approach cost-effective too.
Microlearning – An Enabler in a Changing World
All over the globe, competition is getting stiffer and training-costs and ROI are coming under greater scrutiny. But, employees still need training for upskilling and reskilling. To make things more challenging, lead-times to train, upskill, and upgrade workforce competencies are getting shorter.
This gap is covered efficiently and effectively by microlearning! It offers terrific reach, enables personalized (adaptive) training, and provides ‘anytime-anywhere’ flexibility!
In a nutshell, microlearning helps ease business pain points, turning weaknesses into core strengths!
Microlearning & Training Effectiveness
Training effectiveness can be measured by how much of the learning is retained over a period. But it’s a fact that what’s learned in the classroom or in an eLearning session is often forgotten over time.
Ebbinghaus’ Forgetting Curve becomes very relevant here.
To prevent this memory decay, a string of constant reiterations of the learning is required.
Microlearning – A Solution to Ebbinghaus’ Forgetting Curve
Microlearning prevent memory decays over time by reinforcing the learning at specific intervals. So, microlearning truly works as a solution to Ebbinghaus’ forgetting curve!
Microlearning even allows new topics to be introduced and repeated so they stick to memory.
Microlearning platforms allow the use of multiple formats like short SIMS, videos, podcasts, gamification, infographics, and more, based on the learning objective. A snippet builds upon what the learner already knows and helps them easily link the new information with existing knowledge.
What Microlearning Can and Cannot Do
Microlearning can never replace conventional classroom training or eLearning – but it can improve training outcomes when used as part of the overall training initiative.
Let’s understand this with an example.
You are a training manager with an automobile firm, currently training new hires with a 5-day training event (a combo of e-Learning and classroom). Can you replace this training effort with the more tech-enabled microlearning snippets?
Of course not!
If you need 5 days to explain a range of products and develop the selling skills of your new hires, a shortcut is definitely not going to work!
In this example, can you use microlearning to enhance training effectiveness? Yes, you can use microlearning:
- Before the training as microlearning snippets to give a heads-up to learners as to what’s in store for them.
- During the training for practice with games, simulations, questions, quizzes, podcasts.
- After the training to flatten the forgetting curve on critical topics and build upon existing knowledge.
Roles & Scenarios of Microlearning to Boost Training Effectiveness
Microlearning uses the concepts of spaced repetition, retrieval practice, and quizzes to build memory. It enhances training effectiveness only if the right kind of microlearning is used, in the right role, depicting the right scenario.
So, what are these ‘roles’ and ‘scenarios’ of microlearning?
4 Roles of Microlearning
1. To supplement the current training
2. To reinforce learning that’s critical to job performance.
3. To augment existing knowledge and boost the learner’s confidence
4. To remediate learning to improve or correct non-performance/behaviors
These roles lay the foundation for the 6 scenarios to create microlearning modules or nuggets.
6 Scenarios of Microlearning
- Pensive scenario, where learners are made to reflect upon an idea, situation, or learning task.
- Performance scenario, where learners are given just-in-time, point-of-need support to help them perform better, and also rethink ‘how to improve performance’.
- Persuasive scenario to bring about behavioral changes in learners by helping them imbibe habits or attitudes that help augment and remediate existing behavior.
- Post-instruction scenario, where microlearning is part of the larger training initiative. Key concepts of the training are emphasized using the bite-sized microlearning format.
- Practice scenario, where microlearning is used to provide practice opportunities for learners to hone their skills. Small, achievable steps are emphasized that help build your learners’ skills.
- Preparatory scenario, where multiple microlearning initiatives are used as precursors to the larger training initiative, preparing learners of varied capabilities to come on to a common ground. So here, microlearning is used to supplement and augment the main training program that will happen later.
To conclude, microlearning is the future of learning! It will give you an unbeatable competitive edge, regardless of your industry because a highly skilled and effective workforce is a core competency that’s hard to ignore!