Many Millennials have grown up with devices such as laptops and cell phones. They are comfortable with them, and thus demand delivery of information in lightning speed.
This need for information fast carries over into the workplace. Training professionals provide long training sessions and workshops, which Millennial learners find boring and old-fashioned. Learners are also forced to read long documents or complete long e-learning courses. What they want is short, bite-sized material that they can engage with on their own time. They are not opposed to training—they just want more control about how and when they have it. They want to learn in practical ways, simple and fast! Employers need to recognize that technology can meet these employee needs, and that microlearning will be cheaper, more efficient, and ultimately more effective.
Microlearning is all about short learning activities. Millennials are used to focusing for short periods (think one- to three-minute videos), absorbing quickly, and moving on to the next material. It's also designed and delivered in media formats, and the learner is the focus. It provides just-in-time training that can be reached on multiple devices. Mobile devices in particular are crucial for just-in-time training. Learners can use their smartphones or tablets for information where they want, when they want.
The most commonly used microlearning techniques are multimedia presentations (slide shows), online microgames, lesson-based podcasts, instructional videos, online quizzes, email, SMS, and instant messaging. Microlearning also uses social media tools such as Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat, and Instagram. Implementing these techniques is easy and makes learning more enjoyable and interactive for the user.
Today, it is more important than ever to use time efficiently. Gaining any kind of information when and where the need arises is critical. Microlearning tools are the future of training, in the sense that they ease learners’ lives and ensure more efficient organizations.
I'll be speaking at the ATD 2016 Japan Summit in Tokyo on November 22, 2016. The event will provide attendees the chance to hear directly from multinational companies about how they have achieved global talent development excellence, and the ATD Member Network Japan will share insightful information from their research on talent development. I hope you can join us.