The Benefits of Microlearning

The Benefits of Microlearning
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The Benefits of Microlearning Compared to Traditional Learning Approaches
Traditional corporate training and development approaches take time.  But today’s corporate learners are busy and impatient.  They want to learn what they need when they need it.

There are many ways to develop new skills at work; they range from standard lectures to experiential action learning leadership development programs, from e-learning to hands-on change management simulations. We believe that each approach has its application, value, and efficacy depending on the desired outcomes, the target audience, and the context.

What is Microlearning?
One approach is through microlearning, research-backed training that focuses on a single learning objective to change one specific behavior.  This bite-sized and targeted training approach prevents the “cognitive overload” that comes with traditional long-form training. 

The Benefits of Microlearning
Training strategies should include a variety of learning modes and training rollout options that adapt to what needs to be learned and by whom. But here are the benefits of microlearning:

  1. Rest Periods Are Built-in
    Studies show that when rest intervals are included in any learning program, people simply learn better. Comprehension is higher, application is more effective, and the performance of new skills substantially better.
  2. “Chunked” Learning Is Easier for the Brain to Process
    George Miller, the well-known cognitive psychologist, predicted in the 1950s that our short-term memory is limited for the most part to holding seven pieces of information, plus or minus two. He introduced the concept of chunking whereby, when you group data, you can improve the amount of information you remember.

    The process involves breaking down a complex concept or skill into more manageable pieces. Learning in chunks or modules is a great method for helping the brain understand and remember complex, dense information.
  3. The Power of See and Do
    A powerful way to learn in these short chunks includes both watching a brief video that illustrates the skill and then having the opportunity to practice it soon after. One study at the University Hospital in Munich, Germany found that medical students who watched an instructional video on the use of a specific tool retained and demonstrated better retention several weeks later than those who had attended lectures on the same topic.
  4. Control Over Learning
    With microlearning, the learner has more control over what, where, and how they learn to ensure that the learning makes sense for their unique situation and learning style.

The Bottom Line
Microlearning, or learning in short bursts, has significant advantages in certain situations. It is engaging, available when needed, and convenient to access when the learner can focus and has the time. When combined with practice, follow-up testing, and coaching, it can be a powerful tool in your corporate training toolkit.

To learn more about how to improve talent development at your company, download the Top 10 Training Best Practices for More Effective Learning

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