Is microlearning good for business? Benefits and outcomes
Executive Summary: Microlearning is an instructional approach that delivers small, focused pieces of information in a way that is easy to understand and remember. Microlearning is beneficial for businesses because it allows employees to quickly acquire new information and skills in a way that is easy to consume and retain. This makes it a great fit for employee training programs. Microlearning in business allows employees to learn at their own pace and on their own schedule, which increases the chances of them completing the training. Overall, microlearning in business can improve learning outcomes and increase productivity, making it a valuable investment for businesses. This article details the use of microlearning in business as an L&D solution. It explains the scientific theory behind the effectiveness of microlearning, and some real-world applications of microlearning in business. It also highlights the benefits of microlearning as an L&D strategy for businesses.
In recent times, there has been an increased chatter about microlearning in business. Microlearning is an exciting, unconventional method of learning that has caught the world’s attention. From Instagram Reels about financial management tips to video tutorials about DIY home repairs, there seems to be a quick and easy way to learn anything you want to know, in just a few clicks.
There are chances you’re reading this article to find a simple training solution that engages and motivates your employees. Implementing microlearning in business can be an ideal solution to your training needs.
Microlearning in business is a solution that is suited to both corporate and manufacturing sectors. From sales, marketing, production processes and shop-floor operations, microlearning can be used in many different training scenarios. For example, video tutorials on better content design are excellent for marketing training. A short eBook or quiz is great to train new factory workers on a company’s production process. This shows that microlearning can be a successful training solution wherever you need it.
One of the biggest questions in our fast-paced world is how to balance the need for continuous learning and the constraint of a time crunch. Microlearning in business solves this problem. Information is delivered in “bite-sized” pieces that can be consumed within five and fifteen minutes. Well-crafted and well-edited, these pieces of content are easily digestible and often, even a pleasure to lap up. All the food references above can tell you one thing: microlearning can be done easily at the workplace, even during coffee breaks (it may even make your employees less inclined to chit-chat in the break room).
What is Microlearning?
Microlearning is a learning paradigm that concurs with the laws of human attention. It involves distilling and dividing complex topics into short units of content that can be viewed or read from anywhere, and at any time. Study materials for microlearning are created to be consumed typically within five minutes, allowing the learner to access the material wherever and whenever necessary.
People forget nearly 90% of what they have learnt within just 7 days, unless the concepts are reinforced. That’s why employees swamped with documents, presentations, and classroom sessions are not likely to learn much.
However, time constraints make it difficult to reinforce vast concepts.
What can you do instead? Arm your employees with one concept at a time. Studies show the human attention span is only 8.25 seconds, so keep your training concise.
RapL is your software for that.
What makes microlearning effective in business?
Microlearning is based on the theory of the ‘Forgetting Curve’, which was the result of Hermann Ebbinghaus’ studies on human memory. German psychologist Hermann Ebbinghaus wanted to understand memory, and specifically the reason human beings forget things. For his experiments, he used a list of random syllables, which he would try to remember at different times. His findings gave him insight into how memory is strengthened, and one tends to forget less. Ebbinghaus’ studies led him to conclude the following:
- Relevant or engaging concepts are more easily retained: If it is difficult to stay awake during a class or lecture, chances are it will be challenging to recall what is taught. This, however, will change if the concept is highly engaging. It’s much easier to retain relevant and interesting concepts.
- Memory reduces with time: Re-learning concepts continuously boost memory. Retention tends to be higher with repeated revisions. Thus, repeatedly reviewing learning content is important to ensure that it does not eventually fade from memory.
- Physiological factors affect learning: Sleep, stress, and other physiological aspects of today’s lifestyle greatly affect our memory. This is because these factors have a strong effect on the brain and its functioning, which in turn impacts learning and retention abilities.
- Presentation is integral to effective learning: When concepts are presented in an organized and understandable format, it is easier to learn and recall them. This is because it is easier for the mind to comprehend and assimilate information when presented neatly.
Ebbinghaus’ findings led to the development of the ‘Forgetting Curve’, which illustrates how memory declines over time, and how information can be lost or forgotten when it is not continuously re-learned.
As the graph depicts, over 70% of knowledge is lost within three days of learning. Repeated re-learning can solve this problem, which involves several revisions of the study material, done regularly. Microlearning in business makes this possible. It presents important knowledge in a compact way, often in blogs, articles, and short videos that can be easily viewed on the go. Information obtained in this manner is easy to absorb and review, which in turn increases retention of newly-gained knowledge.
In addition to making the acquisition and retention of information easier, microlearning in business offers several benefits that can enhance training and development. This new and unconventional method of training can make the learning process more enjoyable for your employees.
Let’s look at some real-world applications of microlearning in business, and its influence on employees.
Practical applications of microlearning in business
Microlearning Courses Effectively Increased Confidence & Accuracy in the Work of Dairy Personnel.
In recent decades, the dairy sector in the United States has shifted toward larger farms with more cows. This means there are more employees per farm, many of whom are foreign immigrants with little or no farming experience. This leads to obstacles, such as language and communication hurdles, which are worsened by the poor educational backgrounds of most new farmers.
In such cases, it is difficult to train employees in protocols and SOPs. These are essential for consistent processes and high product quality. It is also challenging to ensure standardized management operations, which are critical on these farms to minimize errors.
In 2019, Hesse et al. published a study in the Journal of Dairy Science. Their research tested whether using microlearning in this business is the solution to this problem.
A total of 243 farm owners, employees, and veterinarians from 35 farms were invited to take 3 microlearning lessons for colostrum management as a topic. Participants were also required to provide feedback in a survey. The conclusions from the survey were:
- 92% participants accessed the materials within the first course. 90% and 92% accessed the materials of the second and third course respectively
- 59% launched the course in their leisure time. This reinforces a core evolutionary insight: humans are learning machines and are always on a quest to improve their skills. It’s often the medium of learning or content delivery that prevents them from pursuing their learning goals.
- 80% stated they could work more accurately after taking the course
- 76% underestimated the time they would spend on the course
- 89% accessed background information related to the topic, and obtained more knowledge they were otherwise unaware of
- 78% of employees felt more confident after completing the training
These observations indicate high engagement, because most participants interacted with the course material, and over 50% did so in their leisure time. Additionally, most participants felt the course had benefited them, as they could work more accurately and confidently after taking it.
Microlearning in the Travel Industry: staying competitive in a rapidly changing environment
One of our customers, a leading Online Travel Agent (OTA), was fighting to stay ahead of the competition. They were adding new product lines at a bustling pace. This meant employees had to be up-to-date with business knowledge and SOPs. With a growing product line and workforce, knowledge management became a challenge.
This is where RapL was brought in: RapL’s model of continuous and personalized learning helped employees remember and implement knowledge in their everyday work. Knowledge delivery was faster, easy to implement, and had lower costs. The continuous learning suite also allowed our customers to deliver conceptual knowledge to their employees in real-time. Educating employees about new product features and services prepared them to hit the ground running. The refresher courses helped them recall business procedures, SOPs, and the code of conduct in a much more effective way.
- Employees spent 30-45 minutes in traditional training. Engaging with 3-5 minutes of micro-courses helped them retain their knowledge better.
- 30+ topics were deployed through the automated training
- 150+ users engaged in 2700+ hours of training and completed more than 450 scenarios
- Periodic surveys with learners indicated that there was an in-depth understanding of knowledge.
Source: OTA-industry – RapL
To explore another practical application of microlearning in business, check out our article on microlearning for sales training.
Now, let’s look at some benefits of implementing microlearning in business.
Benefits of microlearning in business
Some interesting facts about microlearning in business, proven by research:
- The short duration of microlearning content reduces mental fatigue caused by longer lessons. This results in 4x higher engagement rates and better knowledge retention. *
- According to a recent Gallup poll, 58% of employees indicated they would be more motivated to use their company’s online learning tools if the content was in a microlearning format.
Let’s look at some benefits of microlearning below:
- Instant application of knowledge: When faced with a problem in the workplace, employees can quickly refer to microlearning content and find the information they need. After watching a 2-minute video or reading a short blog, they can instantly apply that knowledge and solve practical problems much more efficiently.
- Increased learner engagement: Microlearning drastically improves learner engagement from about 15% to 90%.* This is because long learning sessions can be difficult for even those with excellent attention spans. People are much more willing to sit through learning or training when they anticipate only having to do so for a brief period. People are often conditioned to focus on information for shorter periods, and microlearning uses this to keep learners engaged.
* Source: ThriveMyWay.com
- Self-paced upskilling: By providing information in bite-sized chunks, microlearning eliminates the need to match a predefined structure and speed. Employees can progress at their own pace and review what they want to focus on, without delaying the rest of the learning.
- No more time and productivity constraints: Tight deadlines and productivity goals may also be factors for your employees to put their training courses on the back-burner. They may feel overwhelmed at the sight of hours-long lectures or seemingly endless pages of reading, and may decide to focus instead on their immediate deliverables. Microlearning tackles this by offering quick pieces of content that can be viewed during short breaks, walks, etc., keeping them more engaged in the training, and less intimidated by it.
- Customized learning: Because microlearning uses short pieces of information, it becomes much easier for employees to chart their own learning path. By using material relevant to their job role or problem, they have the flexibility to learn what they need, and when they need it.
- Continued reinforcement: As microlearning content can be viewed quickly and easily at any given time or place, it makes continued reinforcement of knowledge much easier than conventional methods. Employees can refer to the study materials at their convenience, which makes it easier for them to review it as many times as they choose.
For more insight into the benefits of microlearning in enterprise training, check out our article on Spaced Repetition and Microlearning.
In conclusion, microlearning in business is a powerful tool for delivering information in a way that is easy to consume and retain. It is particularly useful for learners with limited time or attention, as well as those with specific learning needs. At RapL, we specialize in assisting businesses in developing and distributing microlearning courses. Our dedicated teams are committed to providing top-notch content. Our training platforms guarantee that employees will have an enjoyable experience while taking on new challenges. We invite you to contact us at email@example.com to learn more about the benefits of microlearning and how we can help your organization.
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Dear reader, thanks for being with us all the way till the end. We suggest 2 things from here
1. Speak to us if you want a microlearning strategy deep-dive: Microlearning is extremely effective, if approached sensibly. Microlearning is the answer to today’s shortening attention spans and we know how to make learning successful via microlearning. Drop your context here and we shall partner with you for the rest.
2. Lap up more content: We have written some intense literature on how microlearning is the superglue between people and successful business operations. Access all of it here.
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