Corporate training is not new. It’s been around since before computers in traditional classroom training. Over the years, corporate training has evolved with technology and the economy, from PCs to the Internet to digital learning. Around 2009, microlearning was introduced in the corporate training market, and the paradigm shifted once again.
What is microlearning? Microlearning is a learning strategy that delivers content to an audience, in short, easily-digestible pieces. Each learning module is focused on one specific learning outcome.
Microlearning is not about merely breaking larger training into smaller bites. Each microlearning module is designed so that the learner can achieve the objective before moving on to the next training module. Additionally, microlearning provides targeted and need-to-know information to the learner to help the learner get the job done.
So how is microlearning, which was introduced in 2009, the next learning management system (LMS) trend? Microlearning in and of itself is not. It’s how it will be used in the next few years. Integrating microlearning in the flow of work is where we’re headed.
Let’s see what that means.
Some Interesting Statistics on Corporate Learning
The average employee only has 24 minutes per week to dedicate to learning and development. Based on a recent study, the number one reason employees aren’t participating in workplace learning is because they don’t have time. However, 94 percent of employees would stay at an organization longer if the organization invested in their careers.
Additionally, 68 percent of employees prefer to learn while on the job, and 58 percent of employees prefer to learn at their own pace. Interestingly, 49 percent of employees prefer to learn when they need the information.
Employees don’t have much time to learn. With the corporate environment getting more competitive, and employers continually trying to train their workforce to stay ahead of the curve, how do you fit effective training and development into 24 minutes a week? And on an employee’s schedule at work?
Microlearning Serves as an Effective Tool
Microlearning has developed into a practical and useful tool to address corporate learning issues. Because it delivers short training bites, usually a few minutes or less, employees can fit it into their busy schedules. It can be a video, an e-book, an article, a blog, or an audio clip, for example. It’s a piece of learning that can be indexed and found quickly.
Additionally, microlearning is targeted information that the learner needs to know. It’s a learning module that helps the learner solve a problem. Because of cloud-based providers, it can be accessed easily across multiple platforms, including computers, laptops, and smartphones.
Employees are becoming more discerning about how they learn at work. They want the flexibility to learn and develop relevant, targeted skills. They want on-demand learning. And they want to learn when and where it’s most comfortable for them. Sitting in a classroom for two to three days is becoming a no-go. There’s just no time. We’re all moving too fast.
Microlearning solves these time-crunch issues. Employees can get the targeted information they need when they need it. This is how we’re all learning now anyway. We go to Google. We pull up a YouTube video. We go to LinkedIn. We need to start updating our corporate education with how we learn day to day.
Additionally, organizations can individualize microlearning modules for employees. You want to invite your employees to learn, not push them into it.
Statistics show that 80 percent of learning happens on the job; however, only 32 percent of employees have access to career development training opportunities. Moving more microlearning into workflow is the natural paradigm shift.
How Microlearning Will Be Used in Workflow
Microlearning helps employees solve problems at their time of need. Microlearning also allows employees to remind them of tips on skills they have learned in their positions at work.
For example, macro learning—more broad-based learning programs—teaches skills. Once an employee learns a new skill, that employee could use tips through microlearning as reminders. This would strengthen the skills learned or keep their skills current.
Repeated, spaced learning can help employees retain content. Microlearning, mixed with algorithms, can import this spaced learning into employees’ workflow.
By integrating microlearning into the flow of work, you can not only give employees relevant information when they need it but also give them spaced learning to reinforce what they’ve learned. This helps employees better utilize the content that you build while at work. Microlearning’s point of need is now in the employee’s workflow, instead of a place to go for training.
Remember, you want to create as much relevant content as possible, but you want the employee to learn something from the module, apply it, and then return to work. Although you want employees engaged with the microlearning, you don’t want them surfing modules as if it were Netflix.
To integrate microlearning into workflow, current platforms are evolving that can introduce spaced learning, practice, or competency-driven recommendations into the employee’s work environment right now, such as Salesforce, Outlook, G-Suite or Slack. Additionally, new tools are coming on the market that can introduce real-time learning tools by identifying an employee’s behavior, such as WalkMe or EnableNow.
Employers can build out these new or current platforms to introduce reminders for microlearning or integrate Google Hangouts or YouTube as learning platforms. New vendors are introducing creative ways to incorporate microlearning into existing systems.
Corporate training is a $200 billion market globally. It’s currently going through another paradigm shift based on technology, the economy, and our work habits. With competition at its highest, and younger generations entering the workforce in droves, it’s time for companies to reflect on their current LMS and see what changes need to be made.
Talk to your employees. See what their needs and wants are. See how much use your current LMS system is getting. Where are your skills gaps? What is the make-up of your workforce? It may be time for a re-design of your corporate training modules.