What Is Microlearning?
Microlearning is a powerful and effective learning method that uses small chunks of information and just-in-time multimedia content to teach skills, knowledge, and behaviors. This learning strategy aims to provide learners with the necessary information at precisely the right time. In this article, we’ll explore what microlearning is and why it works so well for learning both at work and at home, as well as tips on how you can use it today.
Microlearning is ideal for training employees on new skills or updating their existing knowledge, as managers can use it to quickly and efficiently upskill their team. In a nutshell, microlearning refers to short-term learning in small chunks. Content can take many forms, but the reasoning behind this particular strategy is that learners will be able to access information in a variety of ways and in a short amount of time.
A few content microlearning examples are:
Videos are the most popular form of content used in microlearning. Video tutorials and demonstrations are perfect for demonstrating new skills or explaining simple processes.
Quizzes help learners assess what they’ve learned and focus on the content that will be most helpful. At a glance, quizzes can tell you if learners are proficient at basic tasks or need more training on advanced topics. Questionnaires and quizzes can help in micro-courses by providing instant feedback to learners so they know where to improve.
Podcasts are one of the most popular forms of this teaching method, and it’s easy to see why. People can listen on their way to work, at lunchtime, during a long walk—basically whenever and wherever they want! The best part is that podcasts don’t require fancy equipment or technical skills; podcasting tools like Anchor are easy to use, even for beginners.
- Lectures and presentations
Lecture-based learning is often expensive and time-consuming, so it’s not the best solution for every environment. Micro-lessons take far less time to prepare but can still give learners an engaging experience to learn new information quickly.
Images are a great way to convey simple ideas and concepts. They’re not as interactive as videos, but they can still help people remember critical information presented in a short amount of time. Studies show that visual learning increases retention by 29% to 42%, as images are stored directly into our long-term memory .
Text is a well-known form of microlearning. We can easily type out what we want to say, but it’s not always as simple for people new to the language or learning a few phrases in another language. Leaders should use this form of content sparingly, as it takes up more time and can be far less engaging for employees.
Depending on their learning objectives, games may help with things like critical thinking skills or collaboration strategies. While games may not be helpful for training employees on customer service or admin processes, they can be helpful if you’re trying to improve teamwork and connectedness.
Did you know? Eight out of ten Learning and Development professionals prefer micro-lessons to traditional learning courses.
Microlearning Vs. Macrolearning
Microlearning isn’t the same as macrolearning, but the two can be used in conjunction. Microlearning can supplement macrolearning so that when you want learners to understand a topic further, pairing the two types of learning allows all aspects of the topic to be covered.
Macrolearning is the opposite of microlearning since it involves a complete learning experience into complex concepts, ideas, or processes that take longer to understand. While individuals can micro-learn on the go, macrolearning requires higher levels of concentration and a longer attention span.
With macrolearning, employees will generally complete a task or solve a problem and then receive feedback to learn something new. It’s a lengthier process, but if they have mastered all of the macro-skills and knowledge, it will be easier for them to upskill.
Though microlearning is undoubtedly a faster and simpler process, both macro and microlearning are helpful methods of upskilling your workforce.
Is Microlearning Effective?
Research shows that yes, microlearning is indeed an effective method of learning. People are more engaged when they can learn at their own time and pace.
Here are several reasons why this type of learning works so well:
It Helps With Retention
Micro-lessons can increase retention rates because learners don’t need to remember as much information at once when data is broken up and shared in small chunks. Based on RPS research, micro-courses help improve long-term retention by around 80% . Employees are more likely to remember information presented to them after hearing or seeing something only once.
It’s Easy To Learn And Review This Way
Individuals can engage in this learning strategy anytime, anywhere. It doesn’t require much time or effort to complete tasks, unlike reading long documents or watching hour-long videos. Microlearning makes it possible for people with busy schedules to track their progress and stay on top of the new skills they’ve gained. Whether your employees need a skill refresher or you want to share important information with them quickly, this method is perfect for learners on the go.
It’s An Effective Way To Update Knowledge And Learn New Information
Microlearning is also an effective way to update existing knowledge or learn more regarding a topic. Micro-courses are short, easy to remember, and convenient for learners who cannot attend formal learning workshops for whatever reason. It does not take too much time, and it’s perfect for people who work in shifts or have other limitations that prevent them from studying the traditional way.
It Can Help Reduce Costs
This learning strategy can help reduce costs because individuals can learn what they need to in their own time. This means they don’t have to pay for the entire course—only what they actually need. Moreover, using microlearning for effective performance management is a great way to avoid unnecessary costs and time spent on training. It enables learners to access information in whichever way suits them, and this helps learners retain information, thus increasing performance.
People Want Information Quickly
With all the distractions people face throughout the day, it’s no wonder that speed is a major selling point for the microlearning method. In fact, according to research by Bradbury, the attention span of an individual steadily decreases after 20 minutes . That’s why it’s important to break up content into short, easy-to-digest pieces that are perfect for people who have a lot to learn in very little time. By breaking down information into short, easy-to-digest lessons, it’s easier than ever to get the knowledge you need to make better decisions and improve your efficiency.
How Can eLearning Use This Learning Strategy?
eLearning allows students to access their courses and content via web-based platforms and portals. It goes hand-in-hand with microlearning, as it gives people access to micro-courses anytime, anywhere in a matter of minutes.
eLearning includes online courses and other types of self-paced training materials delivered through various digital formats, including videos and interactive modules. It can use the microlearning approach by breaking down information into short, easy-to-digest content modules, perfect for people in the eLearning setup.
A study shows that learners in an online class setup have a shorter attention span due to being more vulnerable to distractions . Thus, companies and other learning environments can benefit greatly from micro-lessons.
Tips On How To Use Microlearning In eLearning
Using microlearning in eLearning may seem confusing, as some people aren’t sure how to divide content into smaller pieces. To make things easier, eLearning developers and other leaders in an organization can follow these tips:
1. Highlight The Most Important Information
Due to time constraints and other commitments, some people might not read everything available in their online courses. One way you can use the e-microlearning strategy to resolve this is by highlighting which content learners need to focus on first. Highlighting information can help emphasize certain elements and break down lessons into shorter pieces. Moreover, color-coding and prioritizing learning material can help improve learning outcomes and retention by shifting the focus onto what’s most important.
2. Make Use Of The Different Micro-Content Formats
As mentioned before, there are many different types of content at your disposal to help improve your eLearning strategy. This includes short videos, images and infographics, slideshows, texts, and even interactive quizzes, all effective ways to break down information into smaller pieces. These content types can help increase learners’ knowledge in a short period of time, helping them retain information better for improved performance. Using different types of microlearning content can allow people to learn more about a topic by using their preferred method.
3. Determine How Much Time Your Learners Have Available
It’s important to consider how much free time your learners have so you can deliver content accordingly. This way, you can provide people with information promptly, and they will absorb the material better as a result.
4. Provide Hyperlinks And Other References To Supplemental Materials
Since microlearning requires you to break down information into smaller pieces, it can help improve your eLearning setup if learners have access to additional resources. For example, instead of providing learners with a lengthy article or video lesson on microlearning, developers should provide hyperlinks that allow people to watch more videos and read other materials within their preferred time frame. It is also crucial to inform people about where they can access supplemental materials for further independent learning.
5. Gamification Of Content
People often associate microlearning with short quizzes and other interactive content. In addition to these, microlearning gamification can also help people learn more about a topic, as it increases their engagement with the material. Gamification helps with recall and reinforces a positive relationship with learning.
6. Don’t Overload The Content With Too Much Information
Learners need to be able to retain information easily, which means they need straightforward content that doesn’t require much reading or studying. Writing long paragraphs can make it harder for people to retain information because they will be more easily distracted by other tasks. Keep it short and simple, but remember that there should always be a clear learning objective or goal so try to keep your learning priorities in mind. All of this organizing may seem like a lot of work, but it’s worth the effort to improve the eLearning experience.
Why Microlearning Is The Future Of Training In The Workplace
Micro-lessons have a promising future in the workplace. They allow people to absorb a large amount of information in a short period, which is highly valued in fast-paced professional environments. Here are some of the added benefits for workplace micro-learners:
It’s More Logical
Microlearning modules are focused on specific concepts and lessons. This helps employees learn more about a topic in less time so that they don’t have to spend too much of their valuable work hours on the training material.
Employees Can Learn On Demand
Microlearning is all about delivering content to people when they need it. Since learners can learn on their own time, they can arrange their study hours around their work hours rather than having to set certain hours for training.
You Can Access It On Your Mobile Device Anywhere
Mobile devices are used everywhere nowadays, whether that be during work hours to talk with clients or for personal reasons. Because of this, using micro-lessons in an online setup can help make learning materials accessible wherever people are. It makes it possible for people to access their learning information on demand without waiting until they get back home.
Did you know? The brain can only hold a limited amount of information—precisely five items—at a time. The human memory can be overwritten with other information if it is made to process too much information, hence why microlearning makes biological sense.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQS)
- Are there any micro-lesson guidelines I should follow when creating modules?
The main guideline to follow in creating microlearning modules is to keep things simple and focus on a single topic. You can provide people with supplemental material to help them learn more about the information, but make sure you don’t overload your content.
- Are micro-lessons better than macrolearning?
One is not better than the other. Microlearning and macrolearning are both effective in their own ways. Microlearning is great for employees who want to learn more about a topic without spending too much time on it, whereas macrolearning can help people understand certain concepts better due to the depth of information provided. One supplements the other for a rounded understanding.
- Do microlearning and mobile learning refer to the same concept?
No. Microlearning is a strategy that can be used in any learning format, while mobile learning refers to delivering content on a mobile device. They are both great concepts, but they should not be confused due to their different meanings.
- Is it possible to track progress in microlearning?
Yes. Despite the short nature of microlearning modules, there are ways in which you can help learners track their progress and see how much they’ve learned about a topic. You can use an online Learning Management System to monitor who has completed your materials and who needs more support due to a lack of knowledge on specific topics.
- Is there a fixed duration for this learning strategy?
The short answer is it doesn’t have to be fixed. Although micro-lessons provide people with information quickly, it all depends on the content you are delivering and your learning objective.
Microlearning is a great strategy to use when you want to get a lot of information to individuals in a short amount of time. It may not be the best solution for every need, but it’s definitely worth considering for your employee training program and it can be highly beneficial in today’s fast-paced society.
For more information about eLearning, microlearning, and related topics, you can visit eWyse.