What is microlearning and why will it work in your company?

Microlearning is gaining on popularity these days. It is the answer to the demographic changes and the needs of the digital society. With a person’s average attention span of 8 seconds , there is a crying need to rethink training methods.

A popular joke among professionals presents two managers talking at work about training for an employee.

The financial manager says "What if we invest in him and he leaves the company…".
"What if we don’t and he stays…", answers the other.

It seems that most companies have successfully gone through the questioning of the training needs. No doubt, in the fast-paced, technology-dominated world, employees need training. The more relevant question is how to make most of the practices, so both employees and employers maximize their gains.

Changing learner’s profile

According to Forbes, a learner profile is undergoing severe changes nowadays, and it has a significant impact on the training model. Forbes points out to some of the demographic and social changes. The growing mobility of the workforce can be treated as a constant now. An increasing number of millennial employees is another crucial aspect.[1] Acc. to PWC millennials will constitute half of the global workforce by 2020.[2] Millennials bring some expectations with them, such as needs for development and training, preferably in flexible hours, so they can choose time for training themselves, e.g. while commuting. Forbes also points out that most of the workers are not available at their desks even up to 50 or 60% of their time during their workday because of the on-the-go schedule, flexible time, or remote work. Additionally, one can see that there is a need for highly qualified staff on the market, and employees are expected to have broad knowledge and to learn fast.[3]

Why are current methods not enough?

When one thinks of a traditional training session with a coach, problems such as time, cost, and efficiency pop up. Long training sessions take much of the employees’ time. It’s already a challenge to organize them amid busy working schedules. The cost cannot be overlooked because training needs for different employees are various, while budget limitations do not change. The efficiency of a whole day training event can sometimes be questionable. Pieces of training can be interrupted by external factors, and the attention span also has its limitations. The success of the session depends on the effectiveness of the instructor. [4]

Computer-Based Training (CBT), quite a popular tool, also has some fundamental disadvantages such as not enough interaction, not suitable for teaching soft skills, or merely being monotonous.

Other training methods, such as mobile applications, seem not to work in companies that claim “bring your own device” policy (BYOD). Smartphones, for example, have different operating systems, and the factor can exclude some of the staff from training.

Even online training, reported by the ASTD “State of the Industry” as trendy these days, have some disadvantages. They are usually generic training and not tailored to companies’ needs. Moreover, they are expensive to create. Companies’ hardware can impede the exercise. Participants sometimes feel awkward asking questions online, and the impersonal nature of the training can act as a disadvantage. [5]

Microlearning is the option.

According to the eLearning Industry, microlearning becomes more and more popular, and it is claimed to be a milestone in learning. Microlearning is today’s answer to millennials’ learning needs, but its appeal is much broader. It uses advancements in brain science and progress in technology. Microlearning is self-paced, on-demand training that allows a learner to take frequent, bite-sized micro-lessons, so-called learning nuggets. The popularity of the tool can be attributed to mobile technology and game-like formula. It’s designed to be used on the move, so by its nature, it is short - up to 5 minutes or less. The tool is packed with essentials. Videos seem to be much more preferred over other mediums, but there are other options available: audio, presentations, and games. The aim is to concentrate on one objective per training. Small chunks of knowledge supplied regularly in an attractive format seem to work better than traditional methods.[6]

There are many advantages of microlearning use. Its concise form helps to keep the dwindling attention span. It engages learners and allows them to complete even a few microlearning modules. No stress, no feeling of being bored, or overloaded with a long training session. Concepts are memorized better because a microlearning module concentrates on one specific aim. Microlearning sessions are constructed in such a way that they help to overcome Ebbinghaus’s “forgetting curve”, the phenomena of natural knowledge loss over time if no attempt was made to repeat it. Microlearning sessions can be taken at any time, any place. They do not distract an employee from work since they don’t cause long breaks. They combine new material with repetition. For a company, they are much more affordable than training sessions. They are quick to develop and update.[7]

eLearning Industry claims that microlearning has versatile usages. It can be used for the employee’s onboarding or getting professional knowledge about the company and its products. It can be used for training the staff working in the retail industry, helping them to explain the working of a tool or product specifications. It can also be used for compliance training to teach the staff, e.g., safety procedures. It can be used to develop professional skills training. The possibilities are numerous. All materials are presented in a modern, attractive, and easily digested way.[8]

Microlearning in practice

Currently, a growing number of companies use microlearning as an efficient way to train their employees.  Connectmedica™ sees a high potential in microlearning and incorporates it into the tools which are developed. Designed for the pharma industry, the Highp platform is such an example. It is a communication tool between the sales representative and the customer. Highp allows us to send personalized messages via SMS, e-mail, or push-up notification. It will enable us to publish impressive educational materials such as video or audio (2-3 minutes long). Supplying up-to-date, concise knowledge of attractive packaging is important, but equal emphasis is put on the retention of the material. The microlearning Highp training is linked with a short test to check knowledge. Highp platform is all about mobility. Apart from the possibility of opening messages on a tablet, PC, or Mac, it can also be opened on smartphones. It is a perfect tool to be used on the way to work while being on the road.  A unique automation system allows us to put the messages in a queue. The progress of an individual can be checked, and one can see whether a lesson has been finished or abandoned. It is vital that the system can be customized for each employee, so they can learn what they need precisely, instead of having “one fits all” training.

Highp microlearning is an up-to-date solution that can be used for onboarding and just-in-time training. The technical capabilities of users are not essential. Every smartphone user is able to use it since the platform is intuitive.

It is crucial to stay updated esp. in fast-changing and competitive industries such as pharma. Highp is the platform that gives the most advanced tools and makes sure that microlearning is exciting and efficient. Highp is eagerly used by professionals who have busy schedules and who know the real value of time. It does not overburden them with long training sessions but offers essentials that are needed. Highp has been trusted by numerous leading pharma companies.

Read more:

What is microlearning and how can it improve your business?

 

References:

[1] https://www.forbes.com/sites/theyec/2016/04/13/five-trends-pointing-to-mobile-learning-as-the-future-of-corporate-education/#40e31665141c

[2] https://www.pwc.com/gx/en/financial-services/publications/assets/pwc-millenials-at-work.pdf

[3] https://www.forbes.com/sites/theyec/2016/04/13/five-trends-pointing-to-mobile-learning-as-the-future-of-corporate-education/#40e31665141c

[4] http://trainingtoday.blr.com/article/most-effective-training-techniques/

[5] http://trainingtoday.blr.com/article/most-effective-training-techniques/

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

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

[8] https://elearningindustry.com/microlearning-examples-in-corporate-world