Microlearning is when lessons are distilled into easily-absorbed bite-sized chunks. The benefits for all kinds of learning practices and organisational training are numerous. Here are the top ten advantages of microlearning:-
Top 10 advantages of microlearning
• Better value and lower cost
Investing in sizeable training courses gets expensive quickly, not least because it takes significant time to produce them. Microlearning lessons take minutes to produce and, as such, the resultant “microlessons” are simple to keep updated which is saves further time and money down the line. The improved effectiveness also enables better outcomes which in turn boosts productivity; providing better value too.
• Easier to distribute
Small file sizes mean microlessons can easily be distributed, potentially globally, via the cloud (often using apps) to learners’ own mobile devices. This is in contrast to large courses which can require enormous data-sizes – particularly when video is concerned – that will struggle with local, broadband infrastructural-foibles.
• Enabler of chunking strategy
One of the key advantages of microlearning is linked to chunking. By breaking lessons down into bite-sized chunks – whether its chunks of data or topical chunks – it’s far easier for learners to retain new knowledge. That’s because the human short-term memory can only hold 3-5 pieces of new information at once. Any more and knowledge is overwritten and pushed out before it gets transferred to long-term memory. It’s also why learning the first 10 digits of Pi is hard when presented like this, 3.141592653 but easier when presented in three chunks like this, 3.141 592 653.
• Faster to create lessons and courses
Microlessons are frequently template based and, therefore, creating new ones can involve simply uploading data – something that takes a few minutes. If your knowledge base is structured correctly, an entire course can be transformed into multiple, interactive microlessons in seconds through bulk processing. Either way, with traditional courseware averaging weeks to produce, the advantages of microlearning in this area are self-evident.
• Peer learning
The ease of creating small lessons helps to unlock the knowledge of peers in that they can easily share task-based information with colleagues. This could involve dealing with particular clients and companies or machines and processes. Why hire an expensive trainer when a worker, who may have been doing the task for years, knows more about what works and what doesn’t work than anyone else? Leveraging such skills also makes employees feel valued (which is essential for staff retention). They’ll appreciate it and want to help your organisation even more if you provide incentives for doing this.
• Ease of updating
A major issue with existing courseware is that when it goes out of date it can be very expensive and time consuming to update. Sometimes, the original courseware producer will need to be contacted which can add further complications. With microlessons, a new practice, policy or logo can easily be slotted into an existing lesson and usually by a non-specialist producer.
• Learning at your own pace
Traditional transmissive learning revolves around a teacher imparting knowledge to an individual or a group or learners. However, when everyone learns at a different pace there’s a high chance that fast learners will become bored while slow learners will get left behind. One of the great advantages of microlearning is that learners can learn at their own pace when given a microlesson that they can complete in their own time. More-enlightened employers are also compensating employees for the time spent doing this if it literally is on their own time outside of office hours.
• Better learning that’s more effective
The combination of interactive learning and the chunking strategy (that comes with microlearning) means that learning outcomes improve considerably. The penchant for herding unwilling, busy adult learners into a room and talking at them for a day can remedied and transformed into hotbed of learning activity. It’s also easier to measure the results of microlearning thanks to automated electronic scoring per lesson which, compared to collating questionnaires at the end of traditional training days, allows instructors to easily measure the improvements in effectiveness.
Microlearning’s penchant for small, interactive lessons can easily be taken a step further by employing gamification – a learning tactic that makes learning fun and effective. Answering questions suddenly stops feeling like learning and elaborate gaming structures can be employed by leveraging the touch-enabled computing power afforded by mobile devices. By adding scores for correct answers or the quickest times it’s also increasingly simple to offer real-world prizing to the best performers. Suddenly training doesn’t feel like training anymore.
• Just in time training
A major advantage of microlearning is the ability to employ just-in-time training (JITT). This is essentially on-demand training whereby a relevant micro lesson can be distributed to a learner just minutes before they need it – keeping it fresh in the mind. It’s frequently contrasted with just-in-case training where a major issue is that knowledge is forgotten before it is needed.
If you want to know more about how your organisation can embrace the advantages of microlearning, try out Ed Microlearning’s mobile learning management system for free, by clicking here.