What is Microlearning, and How is it Changing Online Training?
Picture this: you’re working on a DIY project at home, and some aspects of it are new territory for you. In order to do it correctly, you’ll likely end up needing some additional instructions here and there. For most people, the easiest way to get this information is by looking it up on their mobile devices; they can get whatever nugget of information they’re looking for, exactly when they need it. It’s relevant, it’s nearly effortless, and the new information can instantly be utilized, reducing the chances that it’ll be forgotten.
When it comes to similar scenarios in the workplace, though, most companies take a completely different approach. Employee training can take the form of huge chunks of information, delivered on no particular schedule. This not only makes the learning harder to implement, and it can also fail to promote the required awareness.
Enter microlearning. Provided the employees have already mastered the basic skills they need, microlearning can be targeted to focus on gaps in their training or to refresh what they’ve already learned. Just like you’d look up quick tutorials on your phone if and when you needed them, microlearning courses can be delivered at the right time, and on the right subject. With the use of a learning management system, each employee can learn more naturally and efficiently with microlearning.
Explore this Article
- What is Microlearning?
- Popular Formats for Microlearning Courses
- Try Microlearning
- Mistakes to Avoid with Microlearning
- How Microlearning is Changing the Safety Training Landscape
Microlearning is a way to teach in smaller portions. It uses practical content to capture the learner’s attention, and is more flexible than traditional learning due to the lessons’ length, size, and style. These bite-size lessons are easy to keep relatable and are harder to forget.
Many are incorporating microlearning into their daily workload. A microlearning course can be as small as five minutes and can easily squeeze into a full day of work.
That being said, you can’t simply take a standard eLearning course, break it up into hundreds of tiny modules, and send it to employees as-is. In order to use this bite-sized learning approach effectively, the information has to be adapted to the needs of the users. It should be presented in a relatable way.
Microlearning can be used in all kinds of situations. It could be standard-issue for all employees or used to hone employee skills following a competency assessment that identified areas in need of strengthening.
Some organizations use bite-sized learning to improve communications skills or sales tactics for their employees, while others assign microlearning safety courses to reduce the incidence of injuries or fatalities in the workplace.
- Great knowledge retention
- Improved user engagement
- Fluid learning schedule
- Flexible learning paths
- Easier for users to consume
- Can be delivered straight to employees’ mobile devices
If you’d like to try microlearning, follow these links or scan the QR codes to our microlearning demo course about defensive driving.
There’s more to crafting microlearning courses than simply making them extra small. Microlearning courses often include interactive segments. And with interaction, you often need to use multiple formats, or mixed media. That’s why microlearning teachers often favour the following format:
- Videos – Most of us already run to YouTube tutorials when we need fast answers; the fact is that videos are an engaging and fast way to deliver information. Plus, many employees feel that it’s easier to use information obtained through microlearning than it is to use information taught as part of a larger training course.
- Quizzes – This is an excellent way to confirm that recently learned information is being retained; maintaining a feedback loop in this way provides a definite advantage over traditional learning methods.
- Images – They may not be as interactive as videos, but in general they’re more memorable than text (which is what many online learning courses focus on).
- Games – If your goal is to foster connectedness and teamwork as well as increase levels of employee training, “gamifying” microlearning courses is a great strategy. Even serious topics like workplace safety can be made more approachable by using a game format.
- Text – Even though this isn’t the most entertaining format, some data is best presented through text. With a microlearning course, it would ideally be just enough text to get through with a scroll or two on your phone’s screen.
Bite-sized learning courses are highly customizable, but this aspect of microlearning may fall by the wayside without the right strategy. If you want to truly take advantage of what microlearning has to offer, make sure to avoid these mistakes:
- Using microlearning courses on a self-serve basis – Especially if they’re using a training matrix to track employee skills and training, the employer probably knows more than the employees regarding which training courses are needed. If you just throw a collection of microlearning courses at your workforce and expect them to help themselves, their learning likely won’t be targeted to the skills that need improving.
- Failing to provide follow-up – Whether you have weekly check-ins as a group, assign individual quizzes, or any other form of follow-up, make sure that it’s getting done regularly. This keeps recently learned information fresh in employees’ minds, and motivates them to pay attention as they’re covering new courses.
- Not using microlearning proactively – Employees shouldn’t just see microlearning courses as homework; they should also view them as a resource when dealing with unfamiliar situations.
- Neglecting to get employee feedback – What do employees think about the microlearning courses they’re completing? Which ones were helpful, and which ones not so much? This type of information is crucial to understanding the real impact of your microlearning strategy.
Safety trainers all over the continent are finding a use for microlearning. This new style allows them to bring their trainees to relatable locations and develop content that is personal and resonates with their day-to-day activities.
Recent studies also conclude that these small lessons improve learning retention. This news has shaken up the industry. Frequent small courses are certainly trending. However they aren’t so much replacing traditional courses, but rather supporting them.
EHS pros are finding microlearning especially useful for refreshers or recertifications. Having a specialist simply demonstrate their knowledge with a game or interactive quiz is proving just as effective as old methods.
These small lessons are also reducing the amount of material specialist need to learn. Learning modules allow companies to pick and choose lessons rather than having to take a general course.
So in summary, the versatility of microlearning allows trainers and companies to train more. Now, shorter training modules can be implemented more often. This increases retention and is why microlearning is trending. Microlearning is just another forgotten way of learning we are reimagining for the 21st century, and its working.