Microlearning has become an integral part of training and development programs in recent years. Microlearning is designed to be completed in just minutes a day so busy employees can continue their professional development without sacrificing their daily to-do lists. The technique supports employee skill development by taking small pieces of information that can be consumed in under five minutes, spreading it through a variety of formats including videos, book summaries and articles, that employees can access at their convenience.
Why Implement Microlearning?
As many busy professionals know, it can seem impossible to find the time to develop critical soft skills during the workday, and spending time on skill development at home can be seen as an imposition on work-life balance. Microlearning is changing the way employees develop skills, allowing them to learn on their own schedules in the format that is most convenient to them.
Some notable benefits of microlearning include:
Convenience. Microlearning is easy for employees to access and consume. Most lessons consist of quick videos, condensed articles and book summaries, allowing employees to consume the content opportunistically.
Efficiency. Each lesson is designed to be read or watched in under five minutes, allowing employees to fit in their skill development during natural breaks in their workdays.
Mobility. Microlearning can be done anywhere a smartphone can go. Lessons are responsive so employees can access them on mobile phones or tablets.
Flexibility. Microlearning is modular so it can be customized to address everything from company-wide training to individual, voluntary development.
Relevance. Content within microlearning materials provides valuable information and key take-aways that employees can put into practice immediately.
Microlearning is changing the way employees develop skills.
How to Create a Successful Microlearning Plan
One of the benefits of microlearning is its flexibility in content and scope. Microlearning can be tailored to meet the needs of your entire company, as well as those of individual employees.
It is important to remember that not all microlearning materials are created equally. To implement a successful microlearning strategy, you must provide meaningful content that reaches your employees at their time of need.
Some examples of effective microlearning practices include:
Supplement to Formal Training. Microlearning is an ideal way to reinforce learning that has already taken place by allowing the employee to interact with the same information in a different context. Following up a formal training with a variety of short lessons can ensure better retention of the knowledge.
Independent Learning. Microlearning gives your employees the tools they need to succeed and lets them choose their own path to skills development. With this approach, employees can take ownership over their development and focus on the areas they are interested in, or need improvement in, and learn more as they feel it necessary. For the most streamlined experience, a devoted microlearning platform like Accel5, loaded with your complete library of employee development content, may be the best way to reach your employees
Formal Training. In addition to helping individual employees develop their skills, microlearning can be used to address company-wide issues. If, for example, you’ve found that your company lacks leadership, you can create a “formal” microlearning plan for your employees. You could select the best book summaries, articles and videos on leadership, and require that your employees use a certain amount of time (no more than 10 minutes a day!) to improve that skill.
Keep in mind, microlearning lessons must be:
Brief. For those who are short on time, microlearning allows for learning in smaller increments. This allows employees the flexibility to learn new skills, without falling behind at their “day job.”
Relevant. Microlearning reinforces learning through exposure to the same concept through a variety of formats. Content must be focused on developing a specific competency. Lessons touching on a variety of subjects are not ideal for effective learning.
Accessible. Microlearning can take place anywhere; employees do not need to be in the office to access lesson content. They can read a book summary on their lunch break or listen to a short video on their commute.
Flexible. Microlearning allows your employees to create their own learning program, focusing on skills they need to improve or competencies most important to your company.
Common Microlearning Mistakes
When done correctly, microlearning is a great way to encourage professional development and continual learning. However, there are mistakes that even the savviest organizations can make when trying to adopt this practice.
A common microlearning mistake is taking existing lessons, such as videos or articles, and splitting them into multiple parts. Although it may be appealing to utilize the long-form content you’ve already created, it’s important that the lesson within the microlearning content is specifically designed to be learned in under ten minutes. Otherwise, the employees are unlikely to fully absorb the message within the content, which defeats the purpose of microlearning.
For a deeper dive into common microlearning mistakes and how to avoid them, download The Ultimate Guide to Building a Better Workforce.