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Micro Learning: The Future of Training

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Micro Learning: The Future Of Training In The Workplace

Millennials have grown up with devices, they are comfortable with them, and they demand that they deliver in lightning speed. This new rapid demand and rapid delivery, many say, is the major cause of the human attention span decreasing by 4 seconds since 2000 – to an average of 8 seconds, according to a recent Microsoft study.

How Business Can (And Should) Capture The New Digital Environment

Traditional teaching and learning has got to go. Even many educators are finally on board with this belief. Transitioning current institutions to newer learning will be slow, however, even with the revolution in eLearning options and technology in the classroom. But business is not hampered by the bureaucracy of education, and it ought to jump on new technology and newer learning methodologies – specifically micro learning.

Micro Learning Is The Workplace Learning Strategy

Employees are no different in their desire and need for information. More and more, however, they see long training sessions, workshops, and huge manuals to read as outdated and tedious. What they crave is short spurts of learning in bite-sized chunks that they can engage in on their own time. They are not opposed to training and new learning – they just want more control about how and when they do it. Employers need to respond to the truth that technology can meet these employee needs and wants, and that micro-learning will be cheaper, more efficient, and, ultimately, more effective. Here are the ways in which businesses can use micro learning:

  • Employee Manuals.
    Employees are not children. Forcing them to sit through sessions during which manuals must be digested and that digestion monitored and proctored looks and sounds like elementary school. With micro learning, each section of such a manual can be put into an engaging video, and employees can be provided just a deadline in which to complete all of the small modules. This empowers them – they can choose when they access the modules and where they are when the do so. Many may be happier watching a module on a tablet while eating, or in bed before sleep, or during a train commute or on a plane. And if you want to ensure that modules have been consumed, you can always imbed a quiz in the piece.
  • A library of modules is invaluable for new and ongoing training. 
    • There are interviews scheduled this week for a new position, and the HR specialist who will be conducting those interviews comes down with pneumonia. You can cancel all those interviews, of course. But what if there were a module or two that the specialist’s manager could access and in a matter of 10-15 minutes be “up” on the latest regs so that s/he knew what to ask and what not to ask? The interviews proceed as scheduled.
    • An employee has just been promoted, and there is a body of knowledge and skills that must be learned. Micro learning modules allow this to happen on that employee’s own time schedule. A new piece of equipment is introduced that will be utilized by several employees. Each employee can schedule his/her own time and access the training module while actually on that piece of equipment. Faster and far more efficient; and any new employee who joins the team can train himself without taking the time of another employee.
  • Workplace “culture” is changed by micro learning.
    Micro-learning is all about people digesting shorts chunks of learning in ways that are engaging and often interactive, if the modules are developed well. Giving the learner autonomy empowers him/her and provides a sense of being respected and trusted.
  • Updates are much easier.
    If something needs to be updated, just send it out via a quick video or social media. The targeted employees get the information and managers save time.

How To Make It Work 

Here are 3 ways to make micro learning work for your employees:

  1. Make the learning modules/updates mobile compatible.
    The whole point of micro learning is flexibility for the learner. That flexibility means that all modules and all updates must be mobile-friendly. People do not go home and get on their desktops. They use their phones and gadgets and should have easy access to their learning with fast loads and 5-10 minute chunks.
  2. Less information at a time.
    Students make flash cards for a reason: They allow them to absorb small bits of information at a time and the brain processes it better. Condensing a learning/training module down to the size of a flash card would be tough if it were all text, of course, but this is where graphics and videos come in. And they are far more engaging for learners.
  3. Include as much interaction as possible.
    An interactive quiz, even a game, can be a powerful learning tool. Teachers know this. Time for business executives to know it too.

Our Brains And Micro Learning

Consider again how members of a workforce get their information outside of work. They get it in little chunks and snippets. The watch a video, access an Instagram or Facebook post; they search for a retailer; they check their emails many times a day, along with all of their social media accounts. Everything comes into the brain quickly, and it comes in small pieces. Tech users’ brains are trained to focus for short periods of time, absorb quickly, and move on to the next bit of information or entertainment. Businesses must take advantage of this. The cost is the development of the micro-learning modules and/or the time that it takes to send out an update. No down-time while large numbers of employees sit in boring seminars, where they tune out rather quickly and move on to their devices.

Admittedly, not all employee training can be through micro learning. But much of it can. And the wise executive will know the difference, so that employees can be empowered and train/educate themselves.


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