We are often faced with the challenge of needing to know something specific that is usually embedded in an entire subject, yet we rarely have the time to read the whole textbook or manual to get to the “how to” and “what is” part. Considering this scenario, think about where, in recent times, you got most of your knowledge and information (if we exclude from this point, formal degree studies and the like)? Most likely from something short and attention-grabbing like a poster, an infographic, or a YouTube video? This, in lay terms, is what microlearning is – digestible chunks of knowledge or information presented engagingly and interactively. Gone are the days of tedious text-heavy employee training manuals. Welcome to the learning method of today’s millennial – microlearning.
Notwithstanding the foregoing, the concept of learning in smaller bites is not novel yet very few have been aware of its influence as a tool to conduct employee training. We have harnessed this knowledge and founded the Trainiac Micro-learning academy premised on the notice of “bite sized learning”. Today, microlearning has gained a lot of traction and is particularly popular in corporate training and education. It all comes back to the fact that our working memory has limited capacity – between five and nine chunks of information at once – according to George Miller’s theory.
What is microlearning?
Microlearning as a learning strategy focuses on delivering short, bite-sized, and easily digestible learning content to learners. A microlearning module aims to meet one specific learning outcome. It does so by break down a large (often complex) topic into a number of bite-sized modules giving the learner the freedom to take these modules in order of choice. One of the most potent benefits of microlearning is, of course, the fact that you can choose to use it as a standalone training delivery mechanism or you can blend it with your overall training strategy. The benefits associated with microlearning are also very clear – it considers short attention spans; it challenges time constraints and it can be highly specific.
How can it be used to achieve a specific learning objective?
A drawn-out training programme often loses track of the final goal. With microlearning, it’s easier to align the training with the desired organisational result because with microlearning you are focusing on one learning objective at a time. The latter is also the best part about microlearning – it caters for a single learning objective at a time.
Learning objectives in microlearning determine how a module will support learners as well as the learning outcomes of a particular thing or topic. This is the exact opposite of traditional learning (corporate and otherwise) where multiple learning objectives are associated with all the topics and all modules of a programme.
A further benefit of this feature of microlearning is the fact that it ensures that the learners have sufficient time to fully comprehend what they have learnt. This implies a better understanding and increased information retention rate. The Trainiac Micro-learning academy now offers short mobile-friendly modules covering a range of topics from Occupational Health and Safety to Financial Literacy, and Ethics. Each micro module is designed to be engaging, informative and best of all, short – approximately 8 minutes each.
A final word
Considering how corporate training and development can affect your ROI, there is an added benefit to developing a microlearning corporate training strategy – reduced development costs. According to learning architect Ray Jimenez, author of 3-Minute eLearning, development costs can be cut by 30% by creating micro-courses and the speed of development increased by 300%.