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Microlearning

Updated: July 11, 2024

What is a microlearning?

Microlearning in business is an educational strategy that delivers training content in short, focused segments designed for quick and easy consumption. These modules, typically lasting 3 to 5 minutes, are perfect for employees with busy schedules. They can include videos, quizzes, infographics, or brief articles, each targeting a specific skill or piece of knowledge relevant to the workplace.

Microlearning reinforces knowledge, closes skill gaps, and enhances on-the-job training in business. This method leverages the principles of spaced repetition and active learning to improve retention and engagement. Employees can quickly learn and apply new skills without significantly disrupting their workday. 

Microlearning offers a flexible, efficient, and impactful way to deliver corporate training, ensuring employees remain updated, skilled, and productive in a fast-paced business environment.

Why is microlearning important?

Microlearning is important because it helps businesses train employees quickly and effectively. Employees can easily fit learning into their busy schedules by delivering training in short, focused segments. This means they can learn new skills and information without taking too much time away from their regular work.

Microlearning improves knowledge retention. Short, specific lessons are easier to remember and apply, making employees more productive and effective at their jobs. It also lets businesses update training manuals quickly, keeping everyone up-to-date with the latest information and practices.

According to Brandon Hall Group, companies implementing microlearning observe a 50% surge in engagement levels and a 17% increase in employee job satisfaction.

Microlearning provides immediate, relevant information for decision-making that helps employees make better choices. It ensures that training is continuous and on-demand, supporting a culture of constant improvement and adaptability in the workplace. 

Overall, microlearning boosts efficiency, productivity, and competitiveness in a fast-paced business environment.

What are the goals of microlearning?

Microlearning plays a crucial role in business settings, especially in the context of digital adoption, enhancing employee skills, and driving continuous improvement. Microlearning’s goals span business objectives, operational goals, and strategic aims, each critical for leveraging its full potential.

Business objectives

  • Enhance employee engagement: Deliver engaging and easily digestible content to keep employees motivated and invested in learning.
  • Boost productivity: Minimize time spent away from work while providing essential training, leading to more efficient and productive employees.
  • Reduce training costs: Lower the expenses of traditional training methods by utilizing cost-effective, scalable microlearning solutions.

Operational goals

  • Improve knowledge retention: Use short, focused lessons to enhance memory retention and ensure employees effectively apply what they learn.
  • Facilitate continuous learning: Provide ongoing training opportunities that employees can access anytime, supporting lifelong learning and adaptability.
  • Streamline onboarding: Simplify the onboarding process with concise, targeted modules that quickly bring new hires up to speed.

Strategic aims

  • Support digital transformation: Equip employees with the skills to navigate and leverage digital tools and platforms effectively.
  • Promote agility and adaptability: Enable the workforce to quickly adapt to new information, technologies, and processes in a dynamic business environment.
  • Drive innovation: Promote a culture of continuous improvement and innovation by providing employees with the latest knowledge and skills needed to excel in their roles.

Who’s involved in microlearning?

Implementing microlearning in an organization requires collaboration among various stakeholders who play vital roles in ensuring the success of this training method. These stakeholders can be categorized into internal and external groups, each contributing to different aspects of the microlearning initiative.

Internal stakeholders

  • Human Resources (HR) team: Designs and manages the microlearning content to ensure it aligns with employee development plans and organizational goals.
  • Training and Development (T&D) specialists: Create engaging and relevant microlearning modules, utilizing instructional design principles to enhance learning outcomes.
  • Department managers: Identify specific training needs within their teams and ensure that microlearning modules effectively address them.
  • IT department: Provides technical support and infrastructure to deliver microlearning content seamlessly across various platforms.
  • Employees: Engage with the microlearning modules, provide feedback on their effectiveness, and apply the learned skills to their daily tasks.

External stakeholders

  • E-learning content providers: Supply ready-made or customizable microlearning content tailored to the organization’s needs.
  • Learning management system (LMS) vendors: Offer platforms to host, deliver, and track microlearning modules, ensuring they are accessible and user-friendly.
  • Industry experts and consultants: Provide insights and best practices for designing and implementing effective microlearning strategies.
  • Regulatory bodies: Set standards and guidelines for training content, ensuring that microlearning modules comply with industry regulations and certifications.
  • Customers: Benefit indirectly from employees’ improved skills and knowledge, which can enhance service quality and transform the customer experience.

What is required for microlearning success?

Achieving success with microlearning in an organization requires focusing on several critical areas. These areas ensure the microlearning strategy is effectively implemented, utilized, and supported to drive employee development and organizational growth.

Content development

Creating high-quality, relevant content is essential. Training specialists must design engaging, concise, and easily digestible modules that address specific skills and knowledge gaps. Using multimedia elements like videos, infographics, quizzes and tailoring content to different departments ensures impactful training.

IT infrastructure and support

A reliable IT infrastructure is crucial for seamless content delivery. This includes a user-friendly Learning Management System (LMS) that hosts, tracks, and manages modules. The LMS should be accessible across devices and integrate well with other systems. Technical support is essential to address issues and ensure a smooth learning experience.

Management support and engagement

Management support is vital for successful microlearning. Executives and managers should promote its benefits and encourage participation. Setting clear expectations and goals aligns training with organizational objectives. Regular feedback and assessments help improve the training program, fostering a culture of continuous learning and skill enhancement.

Why do microlearning projects fail?

Microlearning projects often face significant challenges that can lead to failure. Understanding these common issues is crucial for successful implementation and utilization.

Lack of strategic alignment

Without aligning microlearning initiatives with the organization’s strategic goals, training may become disjointed and ineffective. Ensuring that microlearning modules are designed to support overarching business objectives is crucial for relevance and impact.

Inadequate needs assessment

Failing to conduct a thorough needs assessment can result in content that does not address employees’ actual skills gaps and learning needs. Understanding what employees need to learn ensures the content is relevant and targeted, increasing its effectiveness.

Overemphasis on technology

While a robust IT infrastructure is important, overemphasizing technology can lead to neglecting the human aspect of learning. Balancing technological solutions with engaging, human-centered content is essential for keeping learners motivated and involved.

Insufficient integration with workflows

Microlearning projects can fail if the training is not seamlessly integrated into employees’ daily workflows. Ensuring that learning opportunities are embedded within the natural course of work helps reinforce training and makes it more practical and applicable.

Poor evaluation and iteration

Neglecting to evaluate the effectiveness of microlearning programs and iterate based on feedback can lead to stagnation. Regular assessment of the training’s impact and continuous improvement based on feedback is necessary to keep the program relevant and effective.

Microlearning use cases

Microlearning can significantly enhance training and development in various business scenarios by providing focused, efficient, and flexible learning opportunities. Here are three examples of how microlearning can be implemented across different industries to improve employee skills and business outcomes.

Healthcare

Scenario

A healthcare provider aims to keep its medical staff updated on the latest healthcare protocols and practices without interrupting their busy schedules.

Method

The provider implements microlearning modules that deliver short, targeted lessons on new protocols, medical procedures, and patient care techniques. These modules are accessible via mobile devices, allowing staff to complete them during brief downtimes.

Outcome

Medical staff stay current with the latest healthcare practices, improving patient care and safety. Microlearning’s flexible nature ensures that training does not interfere with their work, leading to higher engagement and better information retention.

Finance

Scenario

A financial services firm wants to ensure its employees are well-versed in compliance with regulations and ethical standards.

Method

The firm creates a series of microlearning modules focusing on different aspects of compliance and ethics. These modules include interactive scenarios, quizzes, and case studies to reinforce learning. Employees can complete these modules at their own pace, easily fitting training into their schedules.

Outcome

Employees gain a deeper understanding of compliance regulations and ethical standards, reducing the risk of violations and enhancing the firm’s reputation. Regular updates and assessments ensure that employees remain knowledgeable about changing regulations, fostering a culture of integrity and accountability.

Technology

Scenario

A tech company must train its software developers in new programming languages and tools to stay competitive in the market.

Method

The company rolls out microlearning modules that introduce new programming languages, tools, and best practices. These modules include short video tutorials, coding exercises, and peer discussions. Developers can access these resources on demand, allowing them to learn new skills without disrupting their workflow.

Outcome

Software developers quickly acquire new skills and knowledge, enhancing their productivity and the quality of their work. The company stays competitive by adopting the latest technologies and methodologies, driving innovation, and maintaining a leading position in the market.

People also ask

What is the theory behind microlearning?

The theory behind microlearning in business is based on the idea that delivering training and information in small, focused chunks can improve knowledge retention and employee engagement. This approach aligns with cognitive science principles for memory and learning. 

It utilizes spaced repetition to strengthen memory and manages cognitive load by providing information in manageable pieces. Microlearning is also designed to be flexible and adaptable. It fits into employees’ natural workflows and caters to the modern need for quick, on-demand access to relevant business information.

What is an example of microlearning?

An example of microlearning in business is using a Digital Adoption Platform (DAP) to onboard employees to new software. These platforms provide short, interactive tutorials that guide users through various software features in real-time. 

Each tutorial is concise and can be completed in a few minutes, allowing employees to learn and apply new skills immediately within their workflow. This approach enhances user adoption, reduces training time, and improves productivity.

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