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. The improved effectiveness also enables better learning outcomes which in turn boosts productivity and value.
• Easier to distribute
Small file sizes mean microlessons can easily be distributed, potentially globally, instantly via the cloud (often using apps) to learners’ own mobile devices. This is in contrast to traditional eLearning courses which often require large file-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 chunking. By breaking lessons down into bite-sized chunks it’s far easier for learners to retain new knowledge. That’s because the short-term memory can only hold 3-5 pieces of new information at once. Any more and knowledge is overwritten or pushed out before it can be transferred into long-term memory. It’s also why learning the first 10 digits of Pi is hard when presented like as 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 so creating new ones can involve simply uploading existing knowledge, questions and answers – 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.
The ease of creating small lessons helps to unlock the knowledge of peers: they can easily share task-based information with colleagues. This could involve dealing with particular clients and companies or machines or 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).
• Ease of updating
A major issue with typical eLearning is that when courseware 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 microlearning, a new practice, policy or logo can easily be slotted into an existing lesson template 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 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.
Microlearning’s inherent nature of small, interactive lessons can be taken a step further by employing gamification – a learning tactic that makes learning more engaging and fun. Answering questions suddenly stops feeling like learning. 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 knowledge is frequently forgotten before it is needed.
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