Top Microlearning Myths to Avoid

Top Microlearning Myths to Avoid
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Micro Bursts of Learning
Microlearning, or learning in shorts bursts, is a trend that suits many of today’s workers.  This approach to learning – a kind of training on the go – is desirable for employees who have little extra time, who are comfortable with technology, who are never without a device, and who aspire to continuous learning in pursuit of individual and career growth. When you consider this method of training, be sure you are aware of the top Microlearning myths to avoid.

Microlearning is appealing for all those reasons and very effective as one mode of an overall employee learning journey. In fact, according to the Journal of Applied Psychology, microlearning is 17 percent more efficient than traditional, longer-duration courses. But you need to understand its limitations and get it right.

Microlearning Is Often Misunderstood
Microlearning is currently in vogue. It’s quick and puts the learner in control of when and how they want to acquire new skills and knowledge. Targeted bursts of learning at the convenience of the learner can have real value and business impact as long as you understand when and where it fits best in an employee’s learning experience. By itself, Microlearning is not for teaching complex subjects or mastery of a skill.

Three Microlearning Myths to Avoid

  1. Glitzy Graphics and Games Make Learning Better
    Flashy videos and games are entertaining, but they are not necessary to engage learners. Focus more on solid instructional design and well-constructed content that is relevant and can be easily grasped. Give your learners some choice about the format in which the learning is presented.

    While the look and feel of learning needs to meet the audience’s quality expectations, when it comes to learning, the quality and relevance matter much more than the entertainment factor.

  2. People Do Not Have Much Time to Learn
    Though it seems as though employees have little time for learning because their jobs are so demanding and time consuming, we know that, if learning opportunities are properly presented, employees understand their value.

    From our own several decades of experience in the world of learning and development, we know that what really matters is the timeliness and relevance of learning. Can you imagine a surgeon or firefighter saying that they do not have time to learn how to finish the surgery or evacuate an injured child?

    If learners, their boss, and the company as whole believe that what they learn will have direct benefits for their job, their productivity, and their career growth, everyone will make the time.

  3. Short Just-in-Time Learning Is All that Matters
    Not true. Certainly, the less time learning takes the better for anyone. But “short” alone does not qualify for effective learning.

    While each piece of content can focus on one concept, in order to change one behavior and achieve one desired outcome, learning needs to match the desired outcomes.  If Malcolm Gladwell is right that it takes 10,000 hours to master complex skills and materials, how can we expect that we can change on-the-job behavior and performance with microlearning alone?

    If you are looking for measurable and lasting behavior and performance change, microlearning needs to be combined with thoughtful and consistent practice, feedback, measurement, coaching, and reinforcement to ensure on-the-job application.

The Bottom Line
There is no denying that microlearning can help decrease cognitive overload and deliver targeted concepts in small, highly focused chunks. The appeal is that these targeted learning bursts are accessible, efficient, and on-demand. Just avoid the top microlearning myths so the bursts you offer are high quality, relevant, and reinforced.

To learn more about the power of microlearning at work, download the Top 10 Training Best Practices for More Effective Learning

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