Shorter is Sweeter: 5 Reasons Why Microlearning Works

5 Reasons Microlearning works - featured image

We’ve all just come out of the holiday period, having over-indulged on sweet treats. No more I hear you cry! Well, let me try to tempt you with one more little morsel. Quite literally in fact.

Microlearning isn’t just a buzz-word

Oh yes it is…(alright enough of the post-Christmas puns)…but there’s a serious topic here. One that helps cure those brain-dead learners, satisfies those that are time-poor and really hits the money when it comes to creating compelling and engaging learning (that excites the audience).

A quick internet search brings up a whole host of industry definitions on the topic of microlearning.  One of my favourites, simply states that ‘Microlearning is a way of teaching and delivering content to learners in small bursts.  Learners are in control of what and when they are learning.’

So, do you want to find out more about these short, focused learning nuggets and why they could be the next great thing for your training? Here are 5 reasons why you should:

1. Short snippets simply work:

Our brain consumes information in small bite-size chunks. When did you last sit down and read an entire encyclopedia? Never! But you’ve picked up bits of information as you’ve gone along. Why are our learners any different? They aren’t. Think about the last time you couldn’t get a tech gadget working. Chances are you logged on to social media and watched a 5-minute clip. Our brains are trained to focus for short periods of time, to absorb information quickly and to move on. We should all take advantage of this when it comes to our learning!

2. Microlearning speaks to everyone, not just Millennials:

Watch Out! It’s a Millennial! Arghhhh. Run away! Cue scenes like those from a popular zombie franchise.  Actually, though, a lot of the characteristics Millennials supposedly display are popular for lots of people, from lots of generations. Most of us now want to control our own learning, do learning ‘on-the-go’ and have access to learning when we want it – bite-size training is all of those things!

3. It’s agile enough to meet changing needs:

Here’s another buzz-word for you. Agile. This isn’t a game of buzzword bingo, but another important point. This blog is full of them. Traditional approaches to developing elearning and even doing general things like delivering a project are moving away from the waterfall model (A is followed by B which is followed by C). Instead, businesses recognise they need to be fleet of foot and deploy learning quicker, as well as have shorter development and update cycles.  If your course is only 5 minutes long, and not 100 slides, then making a change is simple.

4. It supports other learning types:

Microtraining is the perfect accompaniment to other types of learning – think of it like the peppercorn sauce to your steak, or the garlic sauce to your mushroom (covering several dietary preferences there. You’re welcome)! Microlearning has a huge variety of corporate uses such as acting as a supplement to more formal training, being used as a refresher after training, blending with other resources such as a workbook or reinforcing key messages as part of a larger L&D strategy.

5. Never forget how much we forget:

Remember the old 90/20/8 rule? Hang on a minute! I won’t stretch this one out too much, but safe to say we all know about the forgetting curve. Make it quick and it’s more likely to stick. You can have that one for free.

Now, when we put this all into action, it can lead to some killer elearning.  The beauty of it is that microlearning does not have to be restricted to soft skills, but is applicable for any type of course you want to create – as long as you’re after engaging materials, interactivity and bite-size chunks.  Here’s just a few ways it could be used: –

  • Take a topic like conflict management and wrap it up in a scenario – Guiding the learner through the example to mitigate similar challenges.
  • Use the power of video to engage your learners – Particularly great when it comes to more visual training like health and safety.  Microlearning is all about rich media and this is a great way to get started.
  • Blend content together – For example, use a video or piece of animation to create a piece of microlearning, but also offer it alongside other key documents you might want learners to consume e.g. PDF’s, infographics etc. A great technique for getting people engaged with compliance training when you might want them to understand the topic but also access a specific company policy.

If you haven’t jumped into the world of microlearning, then now is the time.  Grab your cape and save your organisation from boring learning too.

Microlearning - let your learners love training

Rory Cameron

Author Rory Cameron

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