Have you ever had a burning question that you just had to have answered? Like a young child asking “Why?” about everything, it was suddenly imperative that you know how a fish breathes underwater or what the world’s best chefs actually eat for breakfast. You are not alone! If you are currently asking yourself, “What is microlearning?” you already know the answer.
Microlearning is simply education that happens in short, focused chunks. Informally, it’s the process you go through when you type a question into Google. In a formal setting, it can often look like getting a fast primer on how to perform a specific skill from a five-minute training video. It’s a great way to get a specific answer to a very niche problem.
What Makes Something a Microlearning Course?
In order to understand what is microlearning, let’s look at the characteristics of a microlearning course.
- Microlearning courses are very short. The maximum length should not be more than 20 minutes. Even shorter lengths, such as three to five minutes, are better.
- These courses focus on a very specific piece of knowledge. These are designed to teach a single topic, skill, or concept.
- A microlearning course often includes a variety of types of materials to allow for all learners to use what works best for them. The course could include a video, infographics, a PDF for reading, and other materials.
- Microlearning is very often available across all devices. It only makes sense that something so short and to the point would be easily accessible on the go!
When you are researching what is microlearning, you may also come across the term nano learning. These terms are interchangeable. Both describe the short, highly specific content that is meant for fast learning.
The Benefits of Microlearning
No matter what you call it, there are many benefits to microlearning. Here are some ways that this technique could be advantageous to your team:
- Microlearning caters to our short attention spans. These days, attention spans are shorter than ever due to the fast pace of technology. It is often more difficult for adults to consume a long course of material. Bite-sized learning makes it easy to retain information because it cuts through our distracted environments.
- You’ll see a higher completion rate because it simply takes less time to complete. Microlearning makes it easier to get through the learning material, which means that your employees are more likely to finish the course. The excellent relationship between mobile devices and microlearning also boosts completion rates.
- It is easier to create and maintain eLearning courses when they are short and concise. Your learning and development team will thank you for making their jobs a little easier when choosing microlearning. It is faster and easier to make short, pointed courses – and they can be easily updated when technology progresses.
- Microlearning courses are often better for your bottom line. Bite-sized learning courses cost less to create and update, which may be better for your education budget.
- It’s easier for employees to improve their skills with microlearning. They can research and learn only the parts of their role they need to improve, rather than getting discouraged by an extensive course filled with material that isn’t relevant to them. They can quickly close any gaps in their knowledge and be empowered to use critical thinking to make logical leaps.
- You avoid losing working time when you choose microlearning. Employees can learn something new in just a few minutes every day, rather than needing a whole hour or more to dedicate to training.
With all of these benefits, you will see more engaged learners, who develop skills faster and retain information longer – and all of this comes at a lower cost for you.
When Should You Use Microlearning?
There’s no question that microlearning is an excellent choice for organizations of all sizes. But when should you use this tool in your office? Here are some examples of when microlearning is a great option:
- More effective onboarding. Onboarding is often a laborious process for both you and the new hire. But it doesn’t have to be. Microlearning can get your new team members up to speed with the most vital information and then fill in the gaps as they learn on the job.
- Product training. If you need to continually train employees on new products coming out, microlearning can help. Create a flashcard presentation or a quick introduction video that explains the new product’s highlights. This can help your team gain the knowledge they need quickly.
- Compliance memorization. Does your team need to have specific safety or compliance facts memorized? Microlearning can help retain knowledge with essential repetition in short bursts.
- Learning a new skill. Finally, you can use microlearning to help your employees learn new skills. For example, do you need your team to improve their ability to communicate in another language? Microlearning is often used in language learning when students are asked to write a few sentences per day in the language.
Drawbacks of Microlearning
There aren’t many drawbacks to choosing microlearning for your office. It is not suited for topics where you want to encourage deep expertise, and formal academic employees may find it too shallow for their personal senses of curiosity.
Additionally, microlearning is often perceived as casual because it can be done anywhere and doesn’t require much of a time commitment. This may not be appropriate for certain workplace cultures.
However, the benefits of microlearning far outweigh these concerns for most office leaders.
What is Microlearning? The Answer to Your Modern Training Needs
You should now have a great understanding of what is microlearning. This modern training technique is fantastic for almost any office. You can give your employees the power to learn when and where they can and save your resources doing it.
Many LMS platforms offer microlearning solutions within the education tracks. When you are developing your training plan, be sure to consider how you can include some short, concise training into the modules.