Is Microlearning the Future of Workplace Training?

For many cynics out there, Microlearning is just another in a long list of corporate buzzwords. For savvy educators, however, it’s an essential strategy shaping the future of how we train, learn and work.

In a nutshell, Microlearning is designed to deliver educational content in smaller, specific bursts for just enough, just in time training—whether that’s through videos, e-learning, peer-to-peer knowledge share or some other format.

The adoption of Microlearning is often attributed to the growing number of Millennials in the workforce. But that simplification is doing a disservice to both Millennials and Microlearning itself. While it’s true that those under age 30 were essentially raised in a digital world, the reality is that the use of smartphones, streaming and search engines is cross-generational. The way we process information has changed—for all of us. It stands to reason that the way we deliver training must change to accommodate.

Why more companies are embracing Microlearning

Change isn’t just a factor in how we process information. It’s happening faster and faster in every aspect of our lives—including work. That means employees need to be up-skilled more often and more rapidly. From onboarding to product knowledge to office compliance, ongoing employee training is critical to meeting today’s fast-changing business demands.

And with a workforce that’s increasingly mobile and fragmented, companies are looking for innovative, cost-effective training solutions that improve performance outcomes. Microlearning is moving to the top of the list. That’s no surprise, as Microlearning offers companies several benefits. Here are just a few:

  • Microlearning saves time and money
    In our busy, highly mobile workplaces, finding time and budget for training can be challenging. Unlike longer, lecture-based training modules that cover everything at once, Microlearning’s shorter, singularly focused courses take less time and money to both create and deliver. So you can up-skill your team without creating unnecessary burdens on productivity or resources.
  • Microlearning improves engagement
    There is a lot of research showing that today’s workers are distracted, impatient and overwhelmed. Most check their phones at least nine times every hour, won’t watch a video longer than four minutes and are interrupted at least once every five minutes while performing job tasks. With so much competing for their attention, employees often have trouble staying focused during training.
  • Delivering modules in 5- to 10-minute chunks can help avoid brain fatigue and cognitive overload. After all, we aren’t wired to maintain focus for hours and hours on end. Our brains operate best when fed small amounts of information over time.
  • Microlearning boosts on-the-job retention
    Because Microlearning delivers single-objective courses in short bursts, participants more easily comprehend the subject matter at hand. In addition, repeating these short bursts of information over spaced intervals—say by summarizing a learning objective just a few slides or screens after first presenting it—increases long-term retention. This results in improved transfer of learned skills back on the job as well.
  • Microlearning is highly mobile
    Finding a time and place to train employees in-house is hard enough. But many of today’s companies have national and global offices, travelling sales teams and remote workers. Fortunately, Microlearning is ideally suited for delivery across smartphones, tablets and PCs—making it possible to provide an interactive, engaging training experience anywhere, anytime.

The adoption of Microlearning should not be viewed as “giving in to the short attention span.” Rather, it should be embraced for what it is: a bold training strategy that is addressing the changing ways we work, think and learn in today’s tech-driven society.

If you’re interested in discovering a repeatable process for creating your own Microlearning modules, register for one of The Bob Pike Group Microlearning Workshops near you.

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