Micro-Learning: Less About Time, More About Focus

By Shina Neo

How can you learn anything in 60-seconds?

This is the most commonly asked question about microlearning and its training value in today’s workforce. In a broad sense, microlearning is successful in many of the same ways traditional learning has proven effective. Microlearning does not disregard good learning design principles, but instead determines the tasks related to the goal and delivers content in bite-sized, easily consumable chunks that support the competent performance of those specific tasks. It can be applied to anything from onboarding, short-term training, long-term development, to compliance training and support.

In today’s ever-changing technology landscape, attention-challenged learners are highly distracted with mobile devices and tablets that constantly hum and ding. According to a study conducted by the Pew Research Center, 87 percent of teachers said technology is creating an “easily distracted generation with short attention spans.” Alongside the number of distractions that are a part of daily life, a lot of the information out there is unnecessary. Microlearning cuts down the amount of information people take in and focuses on what’s important and immediately applicable. Successful organizations understand the importance of respecting the learner’s cognitive capacity by presenting information that is easy to comprehend, retain and execute.

Based on research by Grovo, in a microlearning best practices list presented by the National Child Welfare Workforce Institute, 80 percent of all information learned in a traditional classroom setting is lost within 30 days. However, microlearning allows people to access very specific information at the moment of need.

Unlike traditional learning formats where facts, procedures and best practices are provided in longer sessions, microlearning presents highly-focused units of information that tend to be more actionable by nature.

“It’s less about the time and more about breaking a performance goal into focused steps that are as short as possible, but as extensive as necessary,” said Alex Khurgin, director of learning and creative at Grovo.

Organizations tend to have a natural hesitation to adopting a microlearning approach because instructional information is minimal. A lot of the work itself comes from the learner reflecting on the material, running through scenarios and practicing on the job. While it can be challenging to convince the C-suite to commit, case studies have proven microlearning an effective training method in the digital age.

Given that information and work knowledge is always changing as automated processes take over, the ability to keep up with the pace and nimbly learn multiple things at once requires a microlearning approach, Khurgin explained. It allows organizations to spend less immediate time and money to get better performance results. Microlearning can efficiently provide support at every point in an employee lifecycle whether that is onboarding, support or compliance.

With jobs constantly evolving, microlearning facilitates the on-going learning process not with what you learn in 60-seconds, but what you learn collectively over time.

Reprinted from TrainingIndustry.com

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