What is Microlearning?

By Sean Gordon

As the amount of disruptions in the workplace increases and attention spans continue to decrease, companies need to explore and implement new tactics for training and re-engaging employees.

Millennials will make up 75% of the workforce by 2025, and the average attention span of the Millennial generation is 8 seconds.

Enter mircrolearning.

Microlearning is an emergent learning strategy used to quickly close knowledge and skill gaps by teaching and delivering content in small, “bite-sized” amounts. Unlike macrolearning, microlearning focuses on a single topic, allowing learners to consume knowledge all at once for immediate application.

Though the exact definition is rather vague, the majority of microlearning tactics share a few common characteristics:

  • Brief – Performed in short time bursts (typically 3-6 minutes long).
  • Focused Topics – Involves narrow and targeted topics (or information “nuggets”) that are often standalone.
  • Varied Formats – Content can be presented in a wide variety of forms, such as: videos, games, discussions, presentations, SMS texts and activities

Research proves that we learn more and retain knowledge better in short, focused bursts. The University of California, Irvine discovered that employees spend on average 11 minutes on any given project before they are interrupted by another task or request. This information, coupled with the ability for learners to select training assets most relevant to their work, ensures that microlearning is an invaluable tool to incorporate into your business.  

Why is Microlearning beneficial for business?

On average, employees have roughly 1% (about 24 minutes) of a typical workweek to focus on training and development. Therefore, it is critical for businesses to streamline timely learning initiatives

What are the advantages of Microlearning?

  • Low time commitment – Busy employees need something quick and easy to access.
  • Higher rates of completion – With minimal time commitment and rich media formats, employees are more likely to complete training in its entirety.
  • Less disruptive with increased relevancy – Employees can quickly access the information they need, when they need it.
  • Valuable reinforcement method – According to Hermann Ebbinghaus’ “Forgetting Curve,” on average, we forget 80% of what we learn within 30 days. Microlearning provides the ability to augment more in-depth concepts.
  • Accessible – Microlearning platforms are optimized for on-the-go learning and give learners control to train on the device of their choice, anywhere, anytime.
  • Learner-centric: autonomous and personalized – Employees feel more supported in their professional development, fostering positive morale and a healthy workplace culture, and ultimately increasing employee retention.
  • Budget-friendly and agile – Due to its short nature, the costs associated with creating, updating and maintaining microlearning-based training are significantly lower than traditional training courses.

Current Training Trends

Two managers using a video screening platform to look at possible hiresIn addition to gamification and adaptive learning, microlearning continues to top the lists of current training trends. Microlearning is the fastest, most effective way to learn and is recognized for its affordable, responsive and engaging nature.  

Choosing the Right Microlearning Platform

Although there are various formats of microlearning, video is the most effective. From a how-to YouTube clip to a company training segment, video content grabs attention.. In fact, our brains process videos 60,000 times faster than text. Therefore, when selecting a microlearning platform, be sure it is optimized for video integration. Given today’s Internet usage patterns, a mobile compatible microlearning platform is just as critical.  

vidREACH’s platform is built specifically for video content management and is accessible from a multitude of devices, including mobile. Microlearning is a valuable tool to keep your training current, accessible and relevant. Contact us today to learn more and see how microlearning techniques can specifically enhance your business.


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