With the world’s rapid technological advancements in the past few years, new tactics and strategies are redefining virtually any niche you can think of. Chief among those niches is education, which has seen several different disruptive strategies and technologies emerge over the past decade. Of those numerous strategies, microlearning has proven to be a game-changer in encouraging deep learning while allowing employees to stay connected with those around them. Upended the way we view workplace training programs, microlearning boosts employee morale by fostering day-to-day growth.
This modern-day solutions to corporate learning has emerged as one of the most effective and engaging ways to keep learners excited about exploring new arenas. At VP Legacies, we incorporate microlearning into our eLearning tools to keep your employees engaged and connected. Here’s our guide on everything you need to know about microlearning.
What is Microlearning?
Microlearning can be defined as a kind of professional development delivered in small units. It divides huge chunks of learning material into small bits and pieces so that learners can get a grasp of all the information in a more digestible manner.
A microlearning course can last anywhere between a five-minute session to a lesson that’s 10 minutes long; it can also be divided into various standalone sessions that together forms a longer module that teaches a single objective. In microlearning, one lesson equates to teaching one skill.
Sometimes, long training or learning initiatives can separate employees from the group and pose a distraction from daily tasks. However, microlearning believes in delivering results quickly. Whereas traditional learning doesn’t let you move on to the next lesson without finishing the one before that, microlearning is more about each lesson being a meaningful unit in itself. Learners have the liberty to choose lessons based on their learning backgrounds. It allows them to see quick results and make sufficient progress, allowing them to learn while continuing to take part in company activities and collaboration without being distracted.
How did microlearning start?
While microlearning can seem like a new concept, it’s actually been around for decades. The concept came from “microteaching”, which was prevalent during the 60s. Microteaching originated in the education industry to optimize the training method for the new teachers. This was done by scaling back on elements such as time, size, and content. This is what created the foundation for microlearning.
It was in 2005 when the first ever conference related to microlearning took place. The place was Innsbruck, Austria, and the event was brought together by the Research Studio eLearning Environments and the Institute of Educational Sciences at the University of Innsbruck.
The conference focused on the features of microteaching and the status of higher education and corporate training during that period. One conclusion was the potential of microteaching to improve internal communication among employees and create new forms of personal connection. As a result of this, microlearning was born and became what it is today.
Trends, Examples, and Features of Microlearning
The concept that started with a small beginning has now grown into a multimillion-dollar industry. There are many current implementations of microlearning that have gained a lot of popularity lately. Here are some of those trends and examples:
Types of Microlearning
- Mobile-based learning: Since microlearning is agile and concise, it’s not a surprise that it has led to the proliferation of mobile-based learning. Also known as mLearning, it makes all the learning material easily accessible to the users, so that they can go through them on their phones.
Mobile-based learning is mainly focused on the mobility of the learner and enables a smoother way for learner interactions to take place. Sharing content, feedback, and discussion points becomes easier through mLearning, allowing employees to connect online more easily.
- eBooks: eBooks are convenient, accessible, and readily available to readers. Employees can read eBooks over a period of time, making the learning process more flexible for the user. You can also incorporate engaging and interactive elements into an eBook for better memory retention, such as videos, quizzes at the end of every chapter, infographics, and so on. Interactive elements like these also give employees something to talk about.
- Interactive PDFs: Interactive PDFs have proven to be the evolved equivalents of portable documents. The interactive elements in these PDFs facilitate the engagement rate among learners, thereby increasing their attention span and giving a new spin to the delivery of knowledge and skills. These PDFs also help engage employees by including features such as popups, tabs, animations, etc.
- Gamification: Gamification refers to applying gaming strategies in a non-game context. It’s mainly used for training and development.
The training exercises these days are made to resemble a big game. For instance, completing certain courses to earn a badge. Gamification leads to more efficient outcomes and provides a better learning experience to the users. Gamification creates a social environment for learning that gives employees a more fun way to interact.
Pillars of Microlearning
- Brevity is one of the main features of microlearning, as the name clearly suggests. Microlearning is intended mainly for those users who don’t have a lot of time to spare for skill development. Since a lot of microlearning is focused on mobile-based devices, employees can learn skills regardless of being short on time. They can continue completing daily tasks and working with others, facing limited interruptions.
- A very unique feature that makes microlearning work is its standalone nature. Microlearning doesn’t require its learners to have attended any of the previous sessions.
Even if certain portions of the module do contain additional information that can’t be fitted within the module, they are provided to the learners in the form of external links and references. Since microlearning is so self-sufficient, every lesson can be delivered independently.
- Due to its short duration, microlearning provides one single module or course at a given time. Taking complete advantage of its shorter duration, microlearning focuses on just one single module, and makes sure that learners derive the most from it.
Instead of focusing on several different things at once and not accomplishing any of them, a single learning objective allows for more optimal results. Therefore, the outcomes are more substantial.
- Just because the duration of microlearning is short doesn’t mean it’s not interactive. In fact, interactivity forms a major part of microlearning. Learners get to apply the knowledge they have received, which allows them to seal the said learning in their long-term memory.
These interactive elements include drag-and-drop interactions, eLearning games, simulations, etc. Since immediate feedback is provided, learners get the chance to correct their mistakes on the spot. They can also repeat the activity to improve their problem-solving skills.
Incorporate microlearning with VP Legacies courses and capabilities.
What are the Benefits of Microlearning?
Microlearning has several benefits to foster effective learning and communication in a corporate training environment. The following are some of those benefits:
1. Absence of Cognitive Overload
Remember cramming for a test in school? The human brain can’t process an overload of information. Therefore, it should be given time to go through any information that comes in. Microlearning helps with just that. Learners gain access to small bits of knowledge at regular intervals instead of having to consume or memorize modules in huge quantities all at once.
This helps prevent cognitive overload. Learners are able to absorb the skills and knowledge required for a current task, and also preserve the prime takeaways. The brain gets enough time to process the data and link it to the preexisting knowledge. Learning effectively creates confidence, encouraging employees to collaborate without trepidation.
2. Targeted Learning
Microlearning takes full advantage of its short duration by making the modules cover just one objective in bite-sized forms. All the redundant and unnecessary information is filtered out, allowing employees to learn vital information and reach out to other employees where their specific skillsets are required.
This prevents the learners from feeling overwhelmed and gives them ample time to absorb and retain the information. Microlearning saves time, since it focuses only on targeted and specific information. Therefore, all the time is devoted purely towards learning instead of having to fret about worthless info.
3. Improved Engagement
The generation of today doesn’t believe in gulping down pages and pages of course material. They believe in attaining the required knowledge in as short a time span as possible. Microlearning helps in this regard, keeping the learners engaged and curious through various formats.
Since modules are provided in the form of videos, podcasts, quizzes, infographics, and the like, it’s easier to keep the attention of the readers in check. Even if a learner goes through five modules in one day, they will stay engaged and interested due to the high level of interaction due to the incorporation of rich media. Interesting material not only allows employees to engage better with learning, but also with other employees.
4. Boosts Knowledge Retention and Recall
In 2015, it was reported that microlearning helps in improving a learner’s retention rate by 20%. It was also reported that microlearning helps learners take less time to answer questions. Learners get the opportunity to reflect on what they have learned while communicating with others and also evaluate their new skills in the corporate context right away.
All the knowledge that they acquire can be connected to real-world applications. This practical form of learning is what helps in boosting the rate of knowledge retention and recall. Since humans are capable of retaining information better when provided through visual and interactive mediums, microlearning wins in this aspect.
The Towards Maturity Research in 2016 stated that 87% of businesses wish to reduce their learning costs. This wish comes true with microlearning. Since the duration of it is less, the method also requires less time and fewer resources for delivery and preparation. As a result of this, the production cost reduces and the development cycle is shortened as well.
Updating a module is easier in microlearning due to its design. Since modules don’t affect each other in this method of learning, businesses end up spending resources more efficiently. Also, as microlearning works well for numerous stages ranging from pre-training to during-training, long term value can be achieved at a minimal cost.
6. Supports Just-in-Time Learning
Sitting for hour-long presentations on dull topics such as company policies is arduous for anyone and everyone. Even if the topic is mildly interesting, long lecture sessions make them boring. Companies cannot always afford to take employees away for training. This is where the benefit of microlearning kicks in.
Microlearning believes in the theory of ‘just-in-time’ learning. This entails that learning is available based on demand and when learners need it. Hence, they can engage in learning at their own pace and whenever it might prove most valuable to communicate more efficiently. Learners get the chance to receive just the information they need, with microlearning’s targeted approach. This makes microlearning ideal for corporate training for skills, tasks, and even safety, as it revolves around the transfer of knowledge.
Microlearning has been changing the world of training and education for a very long time, and thanks to the various advancements in technology, its applications and everyday uses grow with every passing minute. Once a tool for the world of academia, microlearning is now creating waves in the corporate sectors, aiding in skill development, faster onboarding, and retention of knowledge.
Regardless of whether you’re a professional in this field or are just starting out, each and every individual can reap the benefits of microlearning. As millennials continue to populate the workforce, the demand for microlearning is only going to keep increasing – bite-sized moments of upskilling to complement a busy, modern lifestyle. At VP Legacies, we develop microlearning tools to fit your corporate needs. Get started with us to boost personal connection and internal communication in the workplace.