- Microlearning is an approach to workplace training and development that utilizes small learning moments to help employees perform at optimal capacity.
- Employers should consider using microlearning to keep up with leadership development demands.
- Some benefits of microlearning are that the lessons are more easily accessible, they are highly affordable, and they include rich media.
Today's employees crave career growth and leadership development opportunities. If they feel they aren't progressing in their careers, they'll head for the door to find a company where they can grow.
According to a 2016 Gallup poll, 87% of millennials believe "professional or career growth and development opportunities" is important in choosing a job.
"Organizations that make leadership development a top priority outperform their competitors on key financial metrics, such as revenues," said Dora Gao, product owner at Harvard Business Publishing Corporate Learning. "What's more, they excel at other crucial forms of business performance, such as attracting great employees and keeping them on board."
Therefore, companies should make learning programs and development a priority. One program option is microlearning – an approach that provides learning opportunities in short bursts during a regular workday.
"The beauty of microlearning is that it can be consumed even when the learner only has a small amount of time to allot to it, whether that is a 10-minute online video or a one-page online article," Gao told Business News Daily.
What is microlearning?
According to Summer Salomonsen, chief learning officer at workplace learning solution Grovo, microlearning is a modern and effective approach to workplace learning. It leverages the impact of small learning moments to help employees perform their best.
Traditionally, learning and development is separate from an employee's day-to-day work. "For example, a manager might take time away from their job for a lecture, workshop or seminar that promises better management skills," Salomonsen told Business News Daily. "Unfortunately, research shows that while this type of learning might feel inspirational or rewarding, it's not very effective."
That's where microlearning comes in. Instead of it disrupting a workday, employees get digestible, focused and compelling lessons right within their workflows, Salomonsen said. Microlearning lessons are typically online and designed to be consumed and applied during a workday.
"With microlearning, [a] manager can instantly find an engaging five-minute lesson ... and immediately put that knowledge into action," Salomonsen said.
The next time the manager faces the same situation, they can access the same lesson for a fast refresher. This repetition is critical for long-term retention.
Benefits of microlearning
Companies spend a lot of money on training every year, but it's a waste of resources if your employees don't retain the information. Salomonsen says microlearning matches the pace of work while aligning with your business strategy.
"Embracing a microlearning approach is an easy way for any company – large or small – to create a culture of everyday learning," she said.
Gao said microlearning is most effective when the information is relevant and flexible. Employees want to learn things that are relevant to their positions and careers, and they want access to various types of resources.
"Learners are willing to spend a considerable time learning and engaging with content, lessons and other learning resources if they know that what they are learning will help them in their current jobs as well as their career development," said Gao.
According to eLearning Industry, these are some other benefits of microlearning.
One great benefit of microlearning is that the lessons and materials are easily accessible. Given that these lessons are designed to be viewed on multiple devices, they are incredibly accessible no matter where and when the employee prefers to do their learning. Employees can choose to learn at various times throughout the day without needing a particular device to do so.
Given that microlearning involves lessons and materials meant to be viewed and ingested in shorter timeframes, these lessons are typically much less expensive to create. You can easily train your employees in much-needed skills without investing a ton of time or money.
Microlearning materials are created using a wide variety of media. This not only makes them easier for people to access and understand, but it can also allow your employees to stick to the methods by which they learn best. For instance, if an employee learns best with video lessons, they might be able to skip over other aspects of the lessons and simply study the videos that accompany each lesson.
Given how these lessons are often created, microlearning tends to increase retention of the material. Since the lessons are shorter, they are often easier to absorb. Moreover, these lessons are typically accompanied by short quizzes and games, which are fun methods to help your employees retain the information more easily and for longer.
Employees in charge
Rather than forcing your employees to adhere to a particular learning schedule, microlearning allows the employees to choose when they want to learn. Therefore, they are more likely to be focused when they review the lessons. Additionally, this allows them to drive their own development.
Separation of the slackers
Another major benefit of microlearning is that it allows you to tell who is serious about their workplace development and who isn't. For instance, those who regularly engage with microlearning materials are more likely to be highly self-motivated. This information can be invaluable when it comes time to offer promotions or raises. It can also be useful information when you need to downsize by laying off employees.