Microlearning in your company

Microlearning, a relatively new method, offers smart learning which uses advancements in science and technology to give best and long-lasting results. Training is the investment of company’s resources and employee’s time. It is vital that both sides enjoy benefits for long time.

It seems that most of the HR departments are more occupied with the problem of what are employees’ training needs rather than what method should be picked up to have good and long-lasting training results. Repetition and hands-on activity are vital to retaining knowledge. It is also fundamental what tools are used since they can hugely impact employee’s knowledge retention. Microlearning, though gaining more popularity, is still not used to such an extent as one might expect. The aim of this article is to present how microlearning is employed by some of the companies to achieve outstanding business results, but also to make the learning journey an attractive experience for their employees.  

Microlearning is the method to grasp knowledge presented in small chunks. A learning session takes place on the mobile device.  A module is short, usually around 5 min. or even less. It is packed with essentials. One microlearning lesson has only one specific goal to perform.  Videos or other rich formats accompany the training to accelerate the learning process. Gamification i.e. using the elements from games or game convention is often used in microlearning. Moreover, the learner can decide when or where to take the lesson. It is the learner who is in the center of attention and his/her needs. Retaining knowledge is fundamental. Continuous learning in small bites guarantees the best results. Microlearning is the learning method that has appeared as the answer to the growing number of millennials as the workforce but its appeal is much broader. The method is said to bring high engagement among the participants and give outstanding business results.[1]

One of the examples of microlearning’s use is onboarding prepared by Domino’s Pizza. The idea was to give its new employees standardized training when they come to work. Onboarding is often overloaded with knowledge, sometimes it discourages new staff. They have to learn many different things: ingredients, quantities, and recipes and it’s tough to prioritize things in the beginning. Additionally, the tasks need to be done in a limited period of time. The training aimed to engage them with their new duties, to quickly teach them the know-how and give the possibility to come back to the training if needed. The formula used in the training was gamification and it was highly rated by the staff. As a result, Domino Pizza claimed an increase in speed to competency among the employees, cost savings due to learning right proportions from the beginning and as a result more satisfied customers.[2]

Another example of using the microlearning method was employed by American retailer Walmart who introduced compliance training for the employees. Walmart needed to introduce safety culture which would affect the decrease in injuries and accidents at work and last but not least save a lot of the company’s money. An additional challenge was the fact that the workforce was multi-generational. Instead of traditional training, Walmart introduced Axonify™ a microlearning platform. Employees were supposed to log into the platform while they had some downtime during each shift. They had a task to play the game for 3 to 5 minutes and after to answer some questions regarding safety. They were given instant feedback on their results and the system remembered answers so it was able to come back to employee’s gaps in knowledge. The platform acted as a continuous loop. Both knowledge and behavior were tested to make sure that they were implemented on a daily basis. Walmart successfully diminished the number of injuries and accidents at work. It increased significantly the knowledge of safety regulations among the employees. The platform gained huge popularity, not only was it focused on individual needs but it also did it in a funny, engaging way.[3]

BT Consumer, a division of British Communication group, also used microlearning for training. Their aim was to improve customer service since many customers complained about it. Many unsatisfied customers had to phone several times to solve their problems.  Additionally, BT Consumer recruited a lot of employees and needed fast onboarding training. Similarly to Walmart, the training had a game formula and microlearning bites ensure that the learning was efficient and interesting. Since the number of employees was around 2 500, it was vital that learning was individualized to cater to different knowledge and experience. BT Consumers claimed that the customer service had improved, which manifested itself in a reduced number of callback rates. Customer value improvement grew by 5%. Reduction in call-handling time caused that customer service could handle more customers in a shorter period of time.

Microlearning is also utilized in product training to help the staff remember product specifications. One can find such an example in Toyota, in the USA. The car company helped car dealerships learn the specification and differences regarding different car models. It was available for 25 000 representatives. The company noted a 5% increase in its sales satisfaction index and increased sales. Not only did it help the staff to remember specifications, but it positively influenced their self-confidence making them better salespersons.[4]

Examples of microlearning can also be found in the competitive pharma industry. Connectmedica™ uses microlearning in its Highp platform. Highp allows sending personalized messages via SMS, e-mail or push-up notification. Microlearning is one of the aspects of the platform. Additionally, it has also tools to conduct account-based campaigns, can be used for customer services and allows for follow-ups. Highp microlearning is an up-to-date solution that can be used for onboarding new employees, product training or just-in-time training. It allows the employees to have training without disturbing their daily working routines. For the company, it means cost savings as training can be easily updated and they are cheaper in comparison to traditional training. Messages are positively assessed by 90% of recipients. Highp gets very positive feedback from the leading pharma companies.

Microlearning can be used for different pieces of training for different purposes. Its up-to-date features (mobile use and usually game-like formula) make it appealing to employees. Microlearning opens a new chapter in learning methods.

[1] https://elearningindustry.com/bite-sized-learning-future-of-elearning

[2] https://www.allencomm.com/blog/2015/12/7-awesome-microlearning-examples/

[3] https://axonify.com/customer-stories/walmart/

[4] https://cdns3.trainingindustry.com/media/20105914/microlearning

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