Microlearning: Understanding What It Is, What It’s Not And Everything In Between!

Microlearning: Understanding What It Is, What It’s Not And Everything In Between!

In 2011, Dr. Martin Hilbert and his team at the University of Southern California revealed that with the growth in the Internet, 24-hour television and mobile phones, we now receive five times as much information every day as we did in 1986!

In addition to this, the average person produces six newspapers worth of information compared with just two and a half pages around 3 decades ago, which equates to a nearly 200-fold increase!

Why are we telling you this? It is this rapidity in demand and consumption that has caused the human attention span to reduce drastically. And, this is driving out the traditional methods of training employees too. The day-long sessions with trainers, locked up in a conference room – that’s definitely passé!

What Is Microlearning

It’s time for companies to move to newer technologies and learning methodologies – microlearning to be specific.

What Is Microlearning?

Microlearning is a way of teaching and delivering content to learners in small, very specific bursts. The learners are in control of what and when they’re learning. As a training concept, it has been around for a while but has garnered more attention recently.

Before moving on to know how it can help organizations, it is important to bust some myths that could lead to microlearning being wrongly implemented!

1. It is called Microlearning because it is short!

Microlearning isn’t about the length, but the quality of information being conveyed. It is relevant and targeted to specific needs and goals. There’s no unnecessary information. This learning is then repeated over several intervals to ensure retention!

2. Microlearning is all about using video!

Microlearning is about the learning, not the content, so a variety of formats can be used. It is about using complete learning experiences and can include any combination of content presentation.

3. Microlearning can only cover simpler topics!

Microlearning can be used for any topic, irrespective of complexity! It’s all about using it in the right place and at the right time.

4. Microlearning, alone, is enough for your training needs!

There is no defined, single answer to a company’s training needs. Microlearning should be considered as one of the tools, and not as the sole tool to meet the learning and development goals.

5. Microlearning is self-directed learning!

Microlearning doesn’t just have to be self-directed. It works best as a combination of compulsory information, along with additional bits and pieces that employees can access of their own volition. What matters, is that they have the means to keep on learning.

6. Microlearning is good for the millennials and the Generation Z!

Age doesn’t matter – for a very simple reason. Because microlearning is personalized and adaptive, it meets the specific needs of each learner. It renders age and ability irrelevant and gives everyone the chance to master the subject effectively, in the way that suits them.

Now, that we’ve figured out what microlearning is NOT, let’s find out how it makes a positive difference to employees!

How Microlearning Helps Employers And Employees!

Here’s how implementing microlearning in your organization can be a win-win for you and your employees.

  • Cost reduction: Training costs are reduced or almost negligent – since the costs of hiring a trainer, getting a location, and other ancillary expenses are done away with!
  • Accessible, Anywhere, Anytime: Since training modules can be accessed both on laptops and mobiles, there is no need for a fixed location to learn.
  • Convenience: In an age where flexible working hours is the norm, easy access to training is a huge bonus and motivation for employees.
  • Effective Learning: Microlearning is targeted to specific outcomes, and doesn’t beat around the bush. This leads to better absorption and retention.
  • Use Of Interactive Media: Microlearning design includes rich media formats, such as animation, gamification, and interactive video to help assist memory retention and convey a lot of information in small sections.
  • Sensible Usage Of Time: The wide variety of device-accessibility allows learners to access the training whenever it is best suited for them.
  • Can Be Easily Updated: New facts and statistics and changes to industry standards can be quickly updated in the case of microlearning modules
  • It’s Fun: Learning and training are also made fun through this methodology.

Benefits of Microlearning

Types Of Microlearning You Can Implement In Your Organisation!

As mentioned above, microlearning is focused, and something that can be made available on mobile devices. It can be adapted to offer formal training, supplement formal training, as well as performance support tools or job aids.

Here are some ways you can implement microlearning in your organization!

1. Infographics

These are great to summarize the key takeaways from longer documents. The largely visual representation, including graphics, bright colours, and minimum text, improves retention, and recall.

2. Interactive Infographics

Like infographics (in terms of visual-based approach), the interactivity enables you to layer information and pack more details. As an extension, they can be used as short learning guides.

3. PDFs

Probably the most common format for microlearning, PDFs can be used to provide quick and just-in-time access to specific information.

4. Interactive PDFs

The more current avatar of the traditional PDFs, these allow longer reams of data to be packaged in meaningful info groups that the learner can browse through easily.

5. eBooks And Flipbooks

These make for handy job aids wherein you can pack great visual appeal and interactivities. They are multi-device and can generate HTML5 output. You can also integrate audio and video to further enhance the impact.

6. Animated Videos

These can be adapted to create a variety of learning aids. It can also be a part of a traditional eLearning (context-setting or learning summary).

7. Whiteboard Animation

A picture is worth a thousand words. Explaining concepts through pictures (featuring illustrations, animations, and audio) creates a high engagement, and the image stays with the learners well past the learning interaction.

8. Kinetic Text-Based Animation

Sometimes, when minimalism scores instead of visuals, the animation of text (with sound effects) can be used to convey the required message.

9. Explainer Videos

As the name suggests, these are great to introduce a concept in an easy to understand visual manner. Sharp and focused, they can be aligned to meet a specific outcome very effectively.

10. Interactive Videos

While video-based learning is great, you can top it up through interactive video-based learning. You can add interactions (matching the learning interactions of eLearning courses) to create high impact learning experiences.

11. Expert Videos, Webinars/Recorded Webinar

We look forward to expert advice and insights. Using this approach makes them accessible to learners when they want to review or at the moment of their need.

12. Webcast/Podcasts

These are again very useful formats that can be accessed on demand by the learner at the moment of their need.

Types Of Microlearning

13. Interactive Parallax-Based Scrolling

Another very interesting format that uses the parallax approach that is commonly used in websites. It uses the same technique to simulate a learning path that the learner can “scroll through”. Alongside the learning path, interactions and quizzes can be added.

14. Mobile Apps

A very powerful approach to learn is through a mobile app that is being talked about as the “future of learning”. Not only is it the right fit for learning on the go; it brings in the added advantage to do both online and offline viewing (when there is no internet access).

15. Complex Branching Scenarios

When you need to simulate complex, real-life situations that learners need to handle and gain mastery on, this format is the right fit.

There are no two ways about it – all organizations need to implement microlearning in some format to ensure that their employees can benefit from the training and development programmes!


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