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What is Microlearning and How Does it Work?

The modern learner is always connected, usually bombarded with information, and perpetually distracted. In the workforce, this means getting through to learners requires some thought and preparation to ensure key messages and lessons are delivered effectively. Not only do today’s employees value ongoing training, flexibility, and regular feedback, but they prefer to learn from peers and managers, as well as industry experts. Microlearning principals have emerged as a highly effective framework companies are adopting to improve employee training, onboarding, and continuous learning.  The term “microlearning” can be defined as receiving and processing new information in small doses, and its benefits are many. 

With the mobile revolution in full force, traditional workplaces have undergone exponential growth within the last decade. Employers and employees alike are finding themselves in a state of constant change and the fear of not keeping up with the pace of change is large and looming.

For businesses, applying microlearning principles for training and education is one of the best ways to stay relevant and adapt to the changing needs of a new workforce. And for employees, consuming content via microlearning saves time and serves as a great launchpoint for continued growth and success.

What are the benefits of microlearning? 

Microlearning is a gamechanger for workplace learning in the digital era.Instead of forcing a mass amount of information at once (similar to content-heavy courses offered in universities and training seminars), microlearning allows students to take in tiny bursts of information in a shorter amount of time. Bite-sized lessons can take place in just a few minutes or less, but have a lasting impact. Learners can put all their focus on the content at hand and do not have time to get distracted. 

Most importantly, microlearning provides an opportunity for employees to utilize the new information immediately. At the end of a short video or presentation, a person should be given an opportunity to demonstrate they comprehend the information and understand how to apply it in a real-work situation. Learners can also use a microlearning platform to refresh their memory of previously learned information with just a few clicks, then apply it immediately to their work. 

Microlearning by the numbers

Whether it is used informally or as part of a structured learning experience, the benefits of microlearning can be supported by the following statistics:

People forget 50 percent of what they learn within the first hour of learning it.

This is according to the “Ebbinghaus Forgetting Curve.” The numbers here differ slightly based on several factors. But, the point is, people forget new information, fast.

The half-life of information is rapidly decreasing.

The information we learn has a shelf-life. Depending on the industry, facts may only be facts for a few years, maybe months — in some cases even days. The way information moves today is not usually conducive with one-time lessons. People have to learn continually in order to keep up with the rate information changes.

Microlearning costs less than traditional training.

Since microlearning is all about bite-sized training, it frees up time and budget usually spent on more traditional training processes. Microlearning is typically delivered on mobile devices and decreases the amount of time people need to spend in the classroom or in formal training sessions.

Implementing microlearning

The benefits of microlearning span far and wide and is delivered best when the content is visual: Served up with meaningful images or videos. Content should be updated frequently to ensure learners always have the best information at their disposal. And, don’t forget about accessibility. According to LinkedIn, 68% of employees like to learn at work. But, with the growing remote workforce, having an internet-based system that can be accessed anywhere at any time is vital to a continuous learning experience. 

Today, that means content should be optimized for mobile devices and accessible with just a few taps, no matter where the learner is located. People should be notified when new information is available, in a way that is easy to see and respond to like push notifications or emails. 

Microlearning Principles

Learning on the job and on the fly is more important today than ever before. Even people with the most advanced degrees will enter the workforce unaware of how to use the technology that will appear tomorrow. 

Changes in products, processes, policies, and expectations happen so quickly it’s impossible to prepare too far in advance. Working in almost any industry requires a great amount of flexibility and willingness to continually learn and improve. Those who don’t prioritize learning will quickly be passed up by less experienced colleagues with a greater hunger for growth and development. 

Simply providing information isn’t enough. With lack of time being one of the major pitfalls for employee learning and development, providing a learning experience that sets employees up for success is extremely important. Companies who do not equip their employees with the microlearning principles that enable them to continue learning will only end up with a disgruntled workforce. Eventually, those people will start walking, and valuable employees will be lost to competitors who feed their need for improvement and opportunity. 

Now that we’ve covered the basics, it’s time to put microlearning into practice with Bigtincan’s Zunos platform, which helps you deliver fast and efficient training on the go and provides a rich microlearning experience. By implementing microlearning through Bigtincan’s sales enablement software, you encourage your workforce to keep leveling up every day, and sharpening their skill set, creating a win-win scenario for everyone in your organization.

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