What Is Microlearning? Microlearning is an approach to professional development that delivers content in easily digestible chunks. Think of it as short bursts of learning that are presented and available as needed. Each burst leads to the next logical step in the learning design. The advantages of microlearning? The learner has access to highly relevant and targeted learning units where and when they are relevant.
The Advantages for the Corporate Learner
On Demand Learners access the learning units wherever they are and when they are ready. They can choose a piece on organizing a business presentation, for example, when they need to plan for a high-stakes meeting. Then they can follow the microlearning modules as needed on such topics as persuasive content and effective delivery.
Customized The learning fits what the learner needs to know for their particular job at their level at their organization. What good is it to learn how to sell a house if your job is to sell software?
Informal According to Forester, 75% of today’s tech-savvy employees watch a video rather than read emails, documents, or web articles. They much prefer learning on their own laptop when and where it fits their schedule.
Short Investment of Time According to Deloitte, the average employee has time to devote 1% of their working week to development. It is much easier to carve out minutes than a full day. And the bonus is that comprehension is improved (and retention is greater) because the learner can focus on just the information they need. A Dresden University study found microlearning increases retention by 32%.
The Advantages for the Organization
Better On-the-Job Transfer From the organization’s point of view, the point of learning and development is to upgrade the skills of employees, so they are fully capable and motivated to take on increasing responsibility. The Journal of Applied Psychology reports that microlearning makes transfer from micro-lesson to on-the-job more efficient by a whopping 17%. Research by the Aberdeen Group states that Best-in-Class organizations are 60% more likely to consider microlearning effective for employee development.
Increased Engagement Employees are much more apt to sign on to bite-sized learning units than to spend a day or two in a classroom when their daily work demands attention. But just because the units are short, it does not mean they are engaging or useful. Be sure the learning bursts are focused on the “how-to” and that they are media-rich.
Faster and More Cost Effective Do the math. You eliminate the need to hire instructors or rent and furnish classrooms. And distribution is accomplished with a few key strokes.
The Bottom Line What is not to like? Whether you’re part of the Learning and Development function or an employee wanting to increase your skills, the advantages of microlearning suit both the organization and the individual employee. Make microlearning a pillar of your training program — a win-win for all.