Leadership development training has been in flux for some time, even before the global coronavirus pandemic began. More and more businesses are demanding scalable learning that can be implemented at lightning speed, is easily digestible, and sticks. Microlearning is a powerful way to make that happen.
Microlearning is, “a method that uses small moments of learning to drive job performance and employee development…[It] is short and to the point, based on a topic or problem.”
The brain can only take in so much information before it reaches overload. According to the Cognitive Load Theory proposed by John Sweller, people have a maximum capacity for learning at any one time. It’s like trying to fit two liters of water in one cup. At some point, the cup will overflow, and no more water will be contained.
Some may propose getting a bigger cup, but the far better solution is to pour smaller amounts. That’s what microlearning offers. And that is what learners need.
The Benefits of MicrolearningWith everything from elementary school to corporate training taking place online, our understanding and embracing of microlearning are critical. In truth, it’s always been critical, but in today’s reality, perhaps this is the opportunity to make it our chief focus and highest priority. If we can, if we will, our learners will thank us.
Recent research shows that microlearning improves training engagement by 50 percent while enhancing knowledge retention by more than 20 percent. In addition, studies have shown that this quick and easy learning modality means employees are spending up to 40 percent less time in training.
Above and beyond the reality of higher knowledge retention and better learning is the huge benefit of convenience that bite-size learning provides.
Even though I’m no longer in an office, I somehow feel busier than ever while remotely working. I move from one Zoom meeting to the next, crank out emails in the in-between moments (or way too early in the morning), and if I’m lucky, I find time to grab some food (which usually just means more coffee).
The idea of sitting down for two hours of training, though luxurious, wouldn’t work for me right no matter how much I may enjoy it. But for 15 minutes or so? A quick hit of something that helps me do my job better? Not only is that doable, but I’d actually look forward to the respite, the encouragement, and time that’s just for me.
I’m hardly alone in this. Our world is moving faster despite the forced slowing due to the pandemic. Business leaders recognize just how precious people’s time is.
The Future of Bite-Sized LearningProviding employees the most potent benefit in the shortest amount of time is desired and practical, especially during the pandemic. Bite-size learning allows us to provide what’s most needed in the moment, and it doesn’t take more than a few moments to absorb. This is why we’re incorporating microlearning into our training offerings.
In a world pulled to disparate extremes, riddled with tension and conflict, and experiencing more distance between humans than ever before, we need training on how to have conversations that enrich relationships.
We need training on how to have conversations that get results. We need training on how not to avoid the conversations that need to take place. And we cannot wait until we’re back together or until things settle down. Microlearning is one way in which we can enable critical training without compromising content or quality.
Those of us in the learning and development space are committed to helping people learn. It’s a worthy effort. How could our learners be better served if, in addition, we were committed to adapting to how we train?
Instead of pouring way too much water in the cup, organizations can acknowledge capacity and use exciting new training opportunities to offer just the right amount at just the right time and in just the right way.