Microlearning: more than a passing trend, an extension of digital learning
We hear the term microlearning more and more often. Microlearning is the trending format that companies like Google, Unilever or IBM use to successfully train their teams.
Microlearning will become an increasingly important element in the field of digital learning. It can also be combined very well with other e-learning methods. Getting started with microlearning is not difficult, but there are a few things to consider.
Next, we will uncover the term microlearning, along with some tips on how to apply it.
In short, the curricular plan of a training day is taken and then individual sequences are obtained from it. These sequences make independent learning units. So, microlearning is a learning modality based on the fragmentation of extensive formations into several short units. Each of them focuses on a single knowledge or skill.
As if they were pieces of a puzzle, the contents of a few minutes that make up these courses are intertwined with each other, generating deep and long-term knowledge. This type of educational capsules are also characterized by being able to be taken anytime, anywhere, thanks to the proliferation of e-learning on mobile devices.
It is important that the course unit be of short duration. You should also focus on a few -or just one- learning objectives.
Technology facilitates the implementation of microlearning. This has several advantages:
Greater participation and better response rate
Today we no longer have the time or patience to deal with content for a long time. This can be seen, for example, in online articles. As we have so many sources of information, if the title does not arouse our interest, we do not read the text.
It’s an advantage that microlearning takes into account this situation and therefore is based on the offer of short courses.
In the digital age, what is brief, direct, and does not go around the bush triumphs. Here are two facts about that:
- The average duration of the 100 most viewed videos on YouTube is between 5 and 7 minutes. Source: Wired
- The duration of the average visit to the website of the main UK newspapers is 30 seconds. Source: Neil Thurman
This is one of the great successes of microlearning: it presents pieces of no more than 6 minutes to keep the students' attention.
With these durations, it is also possible to take advantage of the micro-moments: periods of time that are short and usually unproductive. The minutes before a meeting, a taxi ride, or the break between tasks are perfect spaces for training.
Better knowledge processing
Various studies have investigated and proven that the sustainability of learning is much greater when a subject is broken down into small parts. In the past, one large subject was taught at a time and all the information was difficult to process. Now, by breaking up a large topic like a puzzle, small individual packets of information can be processed better.
It has a high applicability
One of the characteristics of this type of e-learning is that each of its brief capsules focuses on a single knowledge. Furthermore, being limited to a few minutes, they tend to condense only those essential knowledge for the training to be effective.
If you know the Pareto principle, you will know that 20% of our actions are responsible for 80% of the results.
The best learnings are those that come at the right time. That is the philosophy of just-in-time education. Example: A company can train its Marketing department on a Google update just when it occurs.
Combine different formats together
Video is the star format today. However, we should not forget to combine it on our training platform with other types of content. In this sense, it is recommended to enrich our courses with audios, articles, checklists, texts, exercises, infographics...
The days of amateurism are over. In the past, you could make a low-quality video and make it available for learning, but today this no longer works. If you go on YouTube once, you will see that the videos are created in professional quality. The same should apply to e-learning content.
In the past, the fact that the content was not always up to date could be excused. It was very expensive and cumbersome to update everything. Howeder, today with technology it is easier and, above all, there is no longer an excuse for a 15-minute course to be out of date.
Promotes dynamics of daily learning
Accompanying micro-content with different methods of daily education is an excellent way to create an environment of curiosity and continuous training. Some of these dynamics may be informal learning processes, such as chat channels intended to share news and interesting guides.
Those who work with customers in, for example, retail companies, must have knowledge of different areas and memorize a lot of information about procedures, products, or soft skills related to dealing with customers.
To this is added that many times they do not have a computer to train. The solution is small training units ready to be followed by the mobile phone.
The first days in a company are vital for the new incorporations to get used to their position and to create a good image of the company, which is decisive in their subsequent loyalty.
The usual danger of onboarding processes is that they concentrate large amounts of information in a very short time, achieving minimal retention and causing frustration for all parties involved. The solution is to fragment the tutorials and extend their distribution throughout the first weeks in the organization.
One type of company in which such onboarding can be really effective is one with a high turnover in its staff, due for example to the seasonality of its products or services.
Training on regulations and risk prevention
As in the onboarding processes that we saw before, the training on regulations and risk prevention is usually dense and, in many cases, too extensive. In addition, it requires a regular update. To make learning easier to maintain and retain, microlearning is an ideal option. It is also an excellent alternative when it comes to including updates or removing old knowledge.
As shown throughout this article, microlearning is more than a passing trend in corporate training. The habits and preferences of content consumption in the digital age require shorter and more concentrated training. It will be interesting to combine this method with other formats (videos, games, VR, AR) and thus practice the training courses in a completely new way.
Author: Roy Franke