We all know how easy it is to allow designated learning activities to fall to the bottom of our to-do lists, deeming them less important than the tasks our ‘actual’ jobs demand.

So much so, that it’s easy to forget the impact that time focused on professional growth and development can have on our ability to perform in our existing (and future) roles.

Therein lies the challenge faced by L&D departments around the world.

How do we motivate our employees to engage in personal and professional development whilst performing as expected in their job roles?

The simple answer is to actively cultivate a culture of learning in which growth and learning are not only encouraged, but facilitated.

I know what you’re thinking… easier said than done, right?

We agree, so we began to think about the different methods of learning that could be utilized in the workplace, ensuring your employees not only manage to find the time to fulfill their learning needs, but actually want to.

A popular suggestion in the many discussions had in our recent Experience Matters MOOC, the Micro Learning approach is being implemented by those who encounter challenges in balancing their CPD ambitions with their professional obligations.

Could Micro Learning be the solution many organizations have been searching for?

What is Micro Learning?

Micro Learning is a holistic and learner-centric approach focused on workplace performance and key skill development; a discipline becoming more widely adopted amongst global organisations that are embracing online learning.

True to its namesake, this approach encourages the use of micro, bite-sized chunks of learning material or activities (e.g. blogs, articles, short videos and online quizzes), typically taking up no more than five minutes to complete.

The Benefits

Aside from the obvious benefits of its ability to comfortably allow small chunks of learning to happen around other professional obligations, Micro Learning is advantageous to the modern employee for a number of reasons.

It Works With Other Approaches

Although Micro Learning does not by nature account for the ‘bigger picture’ of each individual learner’s experience in a data driven sense (in the way that, say, Adaptive Learning does); it can still be very effective when used in parallel with an existing corporate learning structure.  

For instance, Micro-Learning complements a ‘just-in-time’ learning approach within a learning ecosystem that is actively capturing learner data (xAPI, anyone?). By recommending small, manageable learning activities at the time of need (as directed by that learner’s individual data output) a learner is able to address skills gaps quickly and effectively as they appear.

It’s (Seriously) Accessible

Micro Learning is essentially designed to be consumed in the same way that you engage with digital media – just replacing the memes and videos with something useful.

Multi-device delivery provides greater flexibility to the learner and facilitates  the addition of small chunks of learning into their daily routine. It also allows learners to make use of time that would previously be unused, such as their daily commute.  

Better Retention

We’ve all sat through lengthy seminars, talks, presentations and the like only to realise post-event that we zoned out somewhere in the middle, spending the rest of the day hoping no one asks us to summarise.

Don’t be too hard on yourself – this is known as Primacy and Recency Effect – a psychological school of thought that suggests it’s human nature to be able to recall the beginning and ending of things (talks, articles, videos – you name it) far better than the middle parts.

Micro Learning content works to negate this effect by, well, not really have a middle. By delivering learning content in small, accessible chunks we’re able to process the core concepts in a way that is far more memorable than attempting to digest lots of detail in a single sitting.

Of course, detail is not necessarily lost or missing from Micro Learning, it’s merely broken up into manageable nuggets of knowledge to be piece together at the learner’s convenience.

To join in the discussion on Micro Learning and other topics, and to find out more on how to create meaningful and engaging learning experiences, jump into our free Crash Course In Learning Experience Design today!