Microlearning’s Bite-Sized Training Modules Get Results
Steak! When it’s grilled to perfection, it looks and smells wonderful! But have you ever taken too big of a bite and found yourself chewing and chewing. You literally bit off more than you could chew, and no matter what you did, the food simply wouldn’t go down. Rewind and try again, this time taking smaller bites. If you can swallow what you’re eating, digestion goes smoother, your hunger is satisfied, and overall, it is a much more enjoyable experience.
Just as it is easier for your stomach to digest a reduced portion of food, your brain learns more readily when information is presented in smaller chunks. That’s why microlearning is becoming so popular.
What Is It?
Many instructional design experts will agree that microlearning is the use of brief courses or training modules to provide information relevant to a particular topic.
Traditionally, training involves taking comprehensive eLearning courses that are 30 to 60 minutes long. The intent of the instructional designer is to teach students everything they need to know in one sit-down session. However, an hour-long session may present too much information all at once. Even if students understand the material as it is presented, the sheer abundance of data can be overwhelming to the human brain. Instead of knowledge soaking in, it seems to bounce off.
Favorable Aspects of Microlearning
Microlearning can be a beneficial solution for employers and their employees by:
- Cutting training costs
- Increasing opportunities for training
- Achieving effective learning results
Microlearning modules are usually less than 5 minutes long. Because they are considerably shorter than conventional courses, it doesn’t take an instructional designer very long to write the content. In fact, the overall development window is smaller and, thus, the costs are lower. Also, when updates are needed, the revision process is much simpler than on a lengthy course.
The lessons can be created on a standard learning management system (LMS) using text, audio, videos, photos, or interactive games. However, to simplify development and make your life easier, you may want to evaluate several microlearning platforms. Selecting one that supports the specialized microlearning features you want to use can save additional time and money.
Opportunities for Learning
We are all used to doing training on a desktop or laptop computer. Even though microlearning can work on these computers, it is particularly well suited for use on mobile devices, such as smartphones and tablets. Almost everyone carries a phone with them, so a microlearning lesson could literally be in someone’s pocket, readily available for quick access.
Since modules are short, they can be easily downloaded for training offline. And microlearning is perfect for learning on the go. If an employee has free time, they can expand their skills and knowledge by going through a quick module, with virtually no disruption of work. Even if their environment is noisy or otherwise distracting, a learner can usually concentrate long enough to complete a microlearning module.
Most individuals enjoy learning independently at a casual pace, and microlearning gives them the opportunity to do so. They can learn as quickly or as slowly as they want, and they can do it at any time and in any place.
One of the key features of microlearning is that it keeps the learner’s brain engaged, making it an effective method of training, even for those who are distracted easily. It is almost impossible to get bored when a course is only 3 to 5 minutes long, especially when it includes videos or games. Each module targets a precise topic, but the lessons are so entertaining that students can actually feel like they are checking their social media accounts instead of acquiring valuable insight. If learning is fun, students are more likely to pursue it in their spare time.
Research indicates that microlearning is effective because lessons can be repeated until the student fully grasps the subject matter or the concepts being taught. This repetition improves the student’s ability to remember details long term. If an employee feels like certain details are beginning to fade, they can always go back to the appropriate microlearning modules to review material. By reviewing and repeating these modules as necessary, students don’t just memorize facts. Instead, they become proficient in specific skills and permanently retain critical knowledge. After all, isn’t that the point of a successful training plan?
How Can Microlearning Be Applied?
Some subject matter cannot be tackled exclusively with microlearning due to its complexity. In these cases, in-depth courses will always be required. If an employee completes a complicated training module, how can we be sure that important details covered in that course will be remembered by the student several months later?
Maybe the answer is to incorporate microlearning into the employer’s training program. You can supplement more lengthy training by developing a module that summarizes a longer course or by creating review modules for the topics covered in more complex courses. These can provide the learner with quick refreshers when needed without having to go back and take the long courses over and over.
Another use for microlearning is to serve as a source of information when expert personnel are not available. For example, if an issue occurs on the job and a knowledgeable person cannot be reached for consultation, it is possible that the appropriate resolution to the problem at hand could be found in a microlearning module. Developing problem-solving courses like these could be an asset to your company’s training library.
To find out more about microlearning, refer to the following resources:
- Microlearning: What It Is and 10 Reasons Why It’s Best for Company Training
- Nano-Learning – Miniaturization of Design
- Busting the Attention Span Myth
These articles could be helpful in teaching you more about this topic. By applying microlearning strategies as part of your learning and development plan, you could see positive outcomes, including better-trained employees and satisfied employers. If you are not already using it, give microlearning a try!
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