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What is microlearning and why will it work in your company?

Microlearning is gaining on popularity these days. It is the answer to the demographic changes and the needs of the digital society. With a person’s average attention span of 8 seconds , there is a crying need to rethink training methods.

A popular joke among professionals presents two managers talking at work about a training for an employee. The financial manager says ¨What if we invest in him and he leaves the company…¨. ¨What if we don’t and he stays…¨, answers the other. It seems that most of companies have successfully gone through the questioning of the training needs. No doubt, in the fast-paced, technology-dominated world employees need trainings. The more relevant question is how to make most of trainings, so both employees and employers maximize their gains.

Changing learner’s profile

According to Forbes, a learner profile is undergoing serious changes nowadays and it has a huge impact on the training model. Forbes points out to some of the demographic and social changes. Growing mobility of workforce can be treated as a constant now. Increasing number of millennial employees is another important aspect.[1] Acc. to PWC millennials will constitute half of the global workforce by 2020.[2] Millennials bring some expectationswith them,  such as needs for development and training, preferably in flexible hours, so they can choose time for training themselves e.g. while commuting. Forbes also points out that most of the workers are not available at their desks even up to 50 or 60% of their time during their workday, because of on-the-go schedule, flexible time or remote work. Additionally, one can see that there is a need for highly qualified staff on the market and employees are expected to have broad knowledge and learn fast.[3]

Why current methods are not enough?

When one thinks of a traditional training session with a coach, problems such as time, cost and efficiency pop up. Long training sessions take much of employees’ time. It’s already a challenge to organize them amid busy working schedules. The cost cannot be overlooked because training needs for different employees are various while budget limitations do not change. Efficiency of a whole day training event can be sometimes questionable. Trainings can be interrupted by external factors and the attention span has also its limitations. Success of the session depends on the effectiveness of the instructor. [4]

Computer-Based Training (CBT), quite a popular tool, has also some basic disadvantages such as: not enough of interaction, not suitable for teaching soft skills or simply being monotonous.

Other training methods such as mobile applications seem not to work in companies which claim “bring your own device” policy (BYOD). Smartphones, for example, have different operating systems and the factor can exclude some of the staff from training.

Even online trainings, reported by the ASTD “State of the Industry” as extremely popular these days, have some disadvantages. They are usually generic trainings and not tailored to companies’ needs. Moreover, they are expensive to create. Companies’ hardware can impede training. Participants sometimes feel awkward to ask questions online and impersonal nature of the training can act as a disadvantage. [5]

Microlearning as the option

According to eLearning Industry, microlearning becomes more and more popular and it is claimed to be a milestone in learning. Microlearning is today’s answer to millennials’ learning needs but its appeal is much broader. It uses the advancements in brain science and progress in technology. Microlearning is self- paced, on demand training which allows a learner to take frequent, bite-sized microlessons, so called learning nuggets. The popularity of the tool can be attributed to mobile technology and game-like formula. It’s designed to be used on the move, so by its very nature it is short – up to 5 minutes or less. It is packed with essentials. Videos seem to be much more preferred over other mediums, but there are other options available: audio, presentations and games. The aim is to concentrate upon one objective per training. Small chunks of knowledge supplied regularly in an attractive format seem to work better than traditional methods.[6]

There are many advantages of microlearning use. Its concise form helps to keep dwindling attention span. It engages learners and allows them to complete even a few microlearning modules. No stress, no feeling of being bored or overloaded with a long training session. Concepts are memorised better  because a microlearning module concentrates on one specific aim. Microlearning sessions are constructed in such a way that they help to overcome Ebbinghaus’ “forgetting curve”, the phenomena of natural knowledge loss over time if no attempt was made to repeat it. Microlearning sessions can be taken at any time, any place. They do not distract an employee from the work, since they don’t cause long breaks. They combine new material with repetition. For a company they are much more affordable than training sessions. They are quick to develop and update.[7]

eLearning Industry claims that microlearning has versatile usages. It can be used for employee’s onboarding or getting the professional knowledge about the company and its products. It can be used for trainings of the staff working in retail industry, helping them to explain the working of a tool or a product specifications. It can also be used for compliance trainings to teach the staff e.g. safety procedures. It can be used to develop professional skills trainings. The possibilities are numerous. All materials are presented in an up-to-date, attractive and easily digested way.[8]

Microlearning in practise

Currently growing number of companies use microlearning as an efficient way to train their employees.  Connectmedica™ sees a high potential in microlearning and incorporates it in the tools which are developed. Designed for pharma industry Highp platform is such an example. It is a communication tool between the sales representative and the customer. Highp allows to send personalised messages via SMS, e-mail or push-up notification. It allows to publish interesting educational materials such as video or audio (2-3 minutes long). Supplying up-to-date concise knowledge in an attractive packaging is important, but equal emphasis is put on the retention of the material. The microlearning Highp training is linked with a short test to check knowledge. Highp platform is all about mobility. Apart from possibility to open messages on tablet, PC or Mac, it can also be opened on smartphones. It is a perfect tool to be used on the way to work in a car or on a bus.  A special automation system allows to put the messages in a que. Progress of an individual can be checked and one can see whether a lesson has been finished or abandoned. It is vital that system can be customised for each employee so they learn exactly what they need instead of having “one fits all” training.

Highp microlearning is an up-to-date solution which can be used for onboarding and just-in-time training. The technical capabilities of users are not important. Every smartphone user is able to use it since the platform is intuitive.

It is important to stay updated esp. in the fast changing and competitive industry such as pharma. Highp is the platform that gives most advanced tools and makes sure that microlearning is interesting and efficient. Highp is eagerly used by professionals who have busy schedules and who know the real value of time. It does not overburden them with long training sessions but offers essentials which are needed. Highp has been trusted by numerous leading pharma companies.

 

[1] https://www.forbes.com/sites/theyec/2016/04/13/five-trends-pointing-to-mobile-learning-as-the-future-of-corporate-education/#40e31665141c

[2] https://www.pwc.com/gx/en/financial-services/publications/assets/pwc-millenials-at-work.pdf

[3] https://www.forbes.com/sites/theyec/2016/04/13/five-trends-pointing-to-mobile-learning-as-the-future-of-corporate-education/#40e31665141c

[4] http://trainingtoday.blr.com/article/most-effective-training-techniques/

[5] http://trainingtoday.blr.com/article/most-effective-training-techniques/

[6] https://elearningindustry.com/bite-sized-learning-future-of-elearning

[7] https://elearningindustry.com/bite-sized-learning-future-of-elearning

[8] https://elearningindustry.com/microlearning-examples-in-corporate-world

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