We all know the feeling of attending a less-than-engaging workshop or course. You’re passively slouched, chugging coffee, playing with your pen, and struggling to keep your eyes open during lecture-style training. You know it’s likely useful information, so you do your best to pay attention, but it’s painful, it’s drawn-out, and you’re clock-watching the entire time. Not an ideal learning experience. And within a few days, you’ve probably retained almost nothing.
The reality is that most of us just don’t learn effectively by sitting still and listening to a talking head. But that doesn’t mean that continuous learning isn’t important! No matter what industry you’re in, keeping up means being agile and able to adapt—and doing that successfully involves constantly acquiring new knowledge and skills.
For employers, this means that getting employees’ attention, and clearly demonstrating the value of learning, is more important than ever. Digitization and technology development means that the world is moving faster. The results? Employees are time-strapped and want to receive information on a need-to-know basis in concentrated blasts—old-school learning just doesn’t make it onto the priority list.
So how do you get employees excited about learning when they’re distracted, overwhelmed, and impatient?
The answer could be microlearning. Micro-what, you ask? Micro-learning involves delivering short, focused learning opportunities in an impactful and easy-to-digest format. When taken together, these short learning opportunities can add up to big learning outcomes for employees.
Micro-learning is everywhere these days, we just didn’t have a name for it. For example, ever wondered how to peel garlic like the pros?
If you watched that video, you’ve just experienced micro-learning a la Jamie Oliver. It’s fast, it’s focused, and it’s attention grabbing… and while you probably don’t want your employees honing their garlic-peeling skills on your time, the same concept can be applied to just about any training topic.
While we may think of micro-learning as high-tech training delivered via all the latest gadgets, it doesn’t have to be. Many organizations don’t have the budget, or the expertise, to develop videos or online training modules for employees. The good news? The same concepts can be applied in person. Instead of using lengthy traditional training sessions that release a fire-hose of information on employees all at once, try focusing the content into separate modules for a bigger impact. By cutting those longer sessions up into single-topic, ultra-focused, short learning opportunities, your team is much more likely to absorb new ideas and apply new skills.
Why is micro-learning a good idea?
Micro-learning is quick and accessible. It doesn’t take a big time commitment, it’s engaging, relatively inexpensive, and easy to tailor to your organization. As tech users, our brains have been trained to absorb information in little snippets. We all refocus and redirect constantly during the day, and micro-learning takes advantage of that ability. Whether delivered in person, or through multi-media or on-demand formats, micro-learning engages a wide variety of learning styles.
The takeaway? Shorter nuggets of information doled out in attention-grabbing fragments have a bigger impact, and are more likely to be retained and applied.
Your Engaged HR Assignment:
Micro-learning can come in many forms, and it doesn’t have to happen through a screen! For in-person micro-learning on a variety of people management topics, sign up for one of our free fast-paced and focused Lunch & Learn sessions.