As we prepare for the coming year, we already know we’ll be continually reading and evaluating tons of new research that will shape how we develop and execute employee training initiatives. This past year was heavily focused on microlearning, or the proven impact of offering training in short, concentrated bursts. Microlearning will continue to dominate how trainers approach employee learning in the year to come.
In addition to microlearning, we’ve identified some powerful trends that will change and improve how employees learn.
Microlearning Continues to Lead Discussions
Google Trends shows us that searches for the term “microlearning” grew steadily in 2017. That growth doesn’t seem to be stopping anytime soon, and given the relative popularity of the search term, it’s safe to assume that microlearning is on a lot of trainers’ minds.
Currently, there is no single agreed-upon definition of what constitutes microlearning. It can be delivered through different formats, and the optimal length of time can be subjective based on the training topic. At BizLibrary, we see the most success with microlearning videos that are between about four and seven minutes long.
But why is interest in microlearning growing so quickly?
A study by Microsoft in 2015 discovered that on average, the human attention span is about eight seconds. That number represents a four second decrease since 2000!
Capturing a learner’s attention is a difficult task, but microlearning works with a learner’s brain, rather than against it. Instead of offering so much information that it all goes in one ear and out the other, concentrated bursts of training allow for much greater retention because the brain has a chance to process the information before it gets overfull, struggling to recall what was just taken in.
As research into learning continues, the process of developing engaging microlearning will only get better, resulting in even greater learning retention and behavior change from training.
Blended Learning Takes on a Larger Role
As we’ve mentioned, based on the research, the average learner’s attention span is at an all-time low. To compound that issue, employees’ time is also more crunched than ever, while distractions account for 759 employee hours each year!
Blended learning, which combines on-demand courses with follow-up discussions or lectures in a more traditional classroom setting, allows trainers to impart information to learners while also respecting learners' need to train at their own pace and on their own time.
Providing employees with self-directed learning opportunities in addition to mandatory training helps to foster greater engagement in learning, increase retention of information, and develop smarter, highly skilled employees.
In 2018, expect to see blended learning more widely utilized by many companies.
As the workplace continues to evolve and employees are needing to expand their skillsets, niche learning in specific areas like information technology and cybersecurity will generate demand for highly specified training content.
According to a report by the World Economic Forum, “skills instability,” or the need for employees to learn new skills quickly, will effect 29% of the workforce by 2020, meaning that smart companies are investing now in niche training content.
There are many different levels for incorporating gamification into an employee training program, whether it’s creating more competition and engagement with points and leaderboards, or offering full-on virtual reality training simulations.
Using the psychology of playing games has been proven to create better retention in training, so many companies are exploring the various options for engaging their employees in training through making it more competitive, whether that’s with themselves or with their colleagues.
In 2018, we’re expecting to see more discussion and more technology enabling gamification techniques to be used in employee training programs.
Like you, we’re moving into 2018 with enthusiasm and focused goals for delivering effective employee training. Do you have clear goals in place to measure the success of training and development in your organization?