Nowadays, the topic of digital learning is increasingly gaining popularity among companies and brands. According to Deloitte Human Capital Trends’s newest research, “reinventing careers and learning” is the #2 issue in business (followed only by reorganizing the company for digital business), creating urgency and budget in this area now. 83% of companies (more than 10,000 respondents) said that this is important and 54% said the problem is urgent. Companies are starting to buy all sorts of new tools for digital learning, and rebuild a whole new infrastructure to help employees learn new things. Therefore, it is important to dig deeper into new digital ways for education which businesses could implement throughout their experience. One of such ways is represented by microlearning.
Main features of microlearning and its benefits & challenges
While there’s no official microlearning definition, all microlearning-based training shares one key characteristic: brevity.
This form of training was born out of the necessity to create quick, accessible training for employees—right when they need it the most. Since most employees only have 24 minutes a week (or 1% of their workweek) to dedicate to training, creating small, actionable learning opportunities is vital.
So, why do we need micro-learning?
- it’s not tied to the particular place: there are digital tools that allow us to be free from the workplace;
- feasible for almost any age;
- corresponds to rapid changes in the external environment: easily adapts even to small changes;
- has convenient tools: any platform is suitable for micro-training;
- makes it possible for a person with any intellectual level to master the material: broken into small pieces;
- has the test instruments.
Among other benefits of microlearning we can highlight speed and cost for the development of microlearning tools. Time is money, and micro-learning saves both at different levels:
- Employees save time because they gain new knowledge faster.
- Organizations also save time, because creating and updating micro-courses is faster than traditional courses.
- Organizations also save money. Training expert Ray Jimenez claims that the development of micro-learning modules is 300% faster, and the cost of creating content is half as low as when developing traditional eLearning.
At the same time the concept of microlearning is not suitable for all cases. For example, when there is a large amount of material that needs to be studied and understood in detail, such small isolated pieces of learning may not help to put together a whole picture.
Such a way of learning is more appropriate for those who already have some knowledge in a particular sphere and need to improve cognition somehow, or for those who just need to learn some piece of one aspect. Nevertheless, while it’s not the best solution for every training need, it’s a surprisingly effective one for corporate and commercial training.
Types of microlearning
Videos are a great way to explain processes and concepts within a few minutes. You can include infographics, animations, and other visual aids. People perceive information quicker and easier, they can watch the video as many times as they want or come back to it if they ever feel the need to.
The most important factor: short videos ≠ micro-training
Not every short video could be considered a micro-learning video. In micro-training, the following formula works: 1 module — 1 thought — 1 skill. In other words, 1 video for 5 minutes should reveal 1 idea and give the tools for the trainee to develop 1 skill.
For example, Bolt Learning is a UK-based company which provides online training solutions, including a platform with short online-courses expressed with the help of videos.
Text information (facts, statistics, concise bullets, trends, etc.) as a usual classic way of learning/microlearning can also be digital.
Company Highbrow Inc. (the USA) develops a learning platform which provides day-to-day 5-minute lessons sent via email in the mornings. This way of learning helps a person to start the day with new acquired knowledge on lifestyle, health, wellness, and personal development along with the business.
Games and Quizzes
Microlearning and game-based learning are highly effective acting together. Instead of dry examinations, work-related challenges can be made into games or quizzes.
For example, IMC AG (Germany) developed its separate product IMC BizQuiz. It is an exciting learning game in quiz format which users can play by themselves or in competing teams. The app allows users to analyse results to identify employees’ knowledge gaps.
Moreover, gamification is now considered as one of the main trends of 2021 in microlearning. Among other trends, there are:
- Series of consequent short interactive videos for businesses that helps to answer critical questions often asked by employees. These videos can be compiled on the company’s internal platform by the workers for quick access.
- VR/AR technologies for the employed staff that are now becoming more accessible for the companies and help to complete micro-learning activities by improving employees’ abilities or learning new, unfamiliar concepts.
- Audio/video training,which can be listened/viewed at home or on the way to work. It’s useful in the sense of reducing the time of employees combining some tasks in their spare time, and also reducing the time of employers, which they might have spent on educating employees.
- A great trend for 2021 is online training scenarios that are used to test the expertise and decision-making of learners to prepare them for real-life circumstances – something that is very useful in working with clients who attempt to close sales or prepare for a safety exercise etc.
Some famous organizations have already successfully implemented different microlearning tools. For example, IBM and Unilever launched their own platforms for the employees so that they can train by themselves at any time instead of waiting for scheduled training sessions every time they had a project.
Our company Altabel Group also has experience in developing different e-learning solutions for the companies, such as teacher-guided VR tours application, VR gaming and educational application for children, web portal for online courses, IoT learning cloud platform, video learning platform etc.
So, should any need in new digital learning tools arises in your organization, please don’t hesitate to contact me directly. We would be happy to help your company implement a new digital stage of education!