Microlearning is the practice of teaching using small, bite-sized lessons (aka microlessons). It can be of huge benefit to all learners, especially to adult learners and especially especially to unwilling- adult learners in a business environment: those who resent doing things like corporate training. Below are the benefits of microlearning.
Top 10 Benefits of Microlearning for business
1. Lessons don’t overawe learners
Let’s face it, if you’ve got to train an entire workforce in a new corporate policy or practice, they’re not going to be queuing up to do the course. If they’re faced with having to make time in a busy schedule to perform a large course there will be a natural sense of dread. Even an enthusiastic, new worker, who may be learning how to actually do their new retail job, is not likely to be mentally excited at the prospect of doing a significant amount of training. However, by giving them courses that have been reduced to bite-sized chunks, they face a totally-different proposition and will start from a less-apprehensive position.
2. Courses are quicker and easier to produce
An ongoing study by td.org shows that it typically takes Instructional Designers 28 – 143 hours just to produce one hour of training(!) With microlearning, it can take minutes. In fact, if you have a very long list of content, questions and answers, some learning management systems (LMS) can auto populate them into an interactive course in less-than ten seconds! Either way, if you use an LMS with multiple templates, it typically takes a very short amount of time to create a fantastic, interactive course. This is one of the great cost-saving benefits of microlearning.
3. Better information retention
It’s been clinically proven that microlearning results in better information retention. While such a claim might sound like a shampoo commercial, it’s simple to demonstrate thanks to basic chunking strategy – the process of dividing information into easily-digestible, bite-sized chunks. Try and remember this phone number: 04005559659. How about now: 0400 555 9659? Three chunks of numbers compared to a mass of 11 digits are far easier for the human brain to absorb and transfer into long-term memory. If you offer more than four pieces of information at once, few people can retain all of the information – it gets overwritten or forgotten. There’s more on this chunking strategy here, but the upshot is that you’ll get far better, long-term memory retention if you teach a few pieces of information at once.
4. Microlearning makes learning fun
People like learning new things. But they don’t like being told to do so. If your course involves sitting someone down in front of a long, boring video or presentation and then asking questions, you won’t achieve the results you want. But if you make microlessons interactive, gamified and even competitive, you’ll have people learning without realising they’re doing it. And this makes for far better information retention. It’s one of the major benefits of microlearning.
5. Easier to update
A major issue with large courses and lessons is that if something small changes (and it could be something tiny) then your entire course can instantly feel out of date. Changing it could involve all manner of costs associated with research and production – especially if you outsource your content. This is naturally much easier to fix if your course consists of much-smaller components.
6. Easy to deploy
If you have a large course and it uses large, digital, multimedia files then actually getting the course to your learners can be tricky. Internet infrastructure is always fragmented with bottlenecks everywhere. Even on a corporate LAN that’s based upon optic fibre, multiple users accessing multiple files can clog up a network. If you’re sending courses to individual mailboxes, version tracking can become unwieldy and so can storage. Even if you make the best use of cloud storage, all of your learners still potentially need to access large files wherever they are. Microlearning lends itself to smaller file sizes and the associated microlessons rarely need to be downloaded in one go.
7. Microlearning courses are quicker to complete
Simply being able to approach a course one small step at a time removes barriers for learners to start the course – they don’t have to find a considerable amount of time in their (potentially busy) schedules to sit down and get on with it. With microlearning they can complete small lessons whenever they have some spare time.
8. Microlessons can be completed on the move
If your learning management system is mobile then learners don’t need to be tied to any location in order to complete a course. With smartphone saturation being nearly ubiquitous, you can leverage the high levels of technology ownership and get learners to access microlessons on their own devices.
9. Microlearning is much cheaper
Buying into a learning management system can require a sizeable investment. Large courses and lessons mean major infrastructure and management. However, lighter-weight microlearning lessons can be created by anyone with just a few templates.
10. Microlearning is more effective
At the end of the day, you can pass your entire workforce through a training session, but there needs to be realistic expectations surrounding the view that everyone who took part, left having absorbed all of the information that they were supposed to. Effectiveness is hard to measure at the best of times, but it stands to reason that if a course has avoided overloading learners’ memory by using a chunking strategy, if it doesn’t stretch their attention span, if it’s interactive (or even gamified and competitive) and it’s easy to access and use, then all of your best practice teaching boxes have been ticked and your microlearning strategy will be the most effective.
If you have any more benefits of microlearning, please leave them in the comments below. Meanwhile, if you’d like your organisation to actually experience the benefits of microlearning, get in touch at firstname.lastname@example.org. You can also try EdApp’s Mobile LMS and authoring tool for free by signing up here or in the box below.
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