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In today’s rapidly changing, highly uncertain and complex digital environment, the rate at which an organisation learns is a critical enabler of competitive advantage. But the reality is modern learners are able to commit only 1% of their work time towards learning and development (L&D). Combine this with the fact that by 2025, 75% of workforce will comprise millennials - a generation obsessed with instant gratification– and you will see why microlearning, that enables just-in-time on-demand outcomes is becoming the lynchpin of modern corporate learning. The method refers to short, bite-sized chunks of information on a single topic (typically under five minutes), delivered via mobile devices that users can access anytime, anywhere.
Here are four reasons why organisations must embrace microlearning to keep their workforce ahead of the competition:
#1 Match the pace of today’s business: Emerging digital technologies and disruptive market changes mandate that employees learn, adapt, and evolve more quickly than ever before. Microlearning courses focus on relevant ‘application points’ that enhance a worker’s proficiency in a particular area, without overloading him/her with information. Another big advantage is that micro learning is a natural fit with mobile learning - being short, microlearning courses can be easily accessed anytime, anywhere, and on any device. Airtel 101, the telecom giant’s digital innovation program, banks heavily on its interactive and gamified microlearning platform to foster employee learning and upskilling. Airtel 101 comprises numerous modules for various training topics, designed in the form of quizzes that bring about an element of healthy competition, besides enhancing learner engagement and understanding of telecom.
#2 Seamlessly sync with human cognitive capacity: Microlearning matches an average human brain’s mental makeup which is wired to consume information in short bursts. Humans are also better visualisers than they are readers - 93% of all human communication is visual. This explains why microlearning modules besides focusing on one topic at a time, follow a ‘show, don’t tell’ approach. The comfortable cognitive load, in turn, translates into 20% higher information retention and 50% higher engagement compared to long-form learning modules, leading to improved workforce productivity and training efficacy.
#3Enables 300% savings in time and 50% in cost of learning: Thanks to the staggering time and cost benefits, microlearning moved from #5 spot in 2015 to #3 in 2017- in terms of top area of interest for L&D leaders, according to the L&DGlobal Sentiment Survey. Due to their brevity, microlearning courses can be produced quickly and updated on the go, whenever a new technology changes to operational strategy or software/product upgrades come up. Additionally, these courses are mobile-friendly, saving L&D organisations the cost of investing in heavy classroom infrastructure such as HD display screens, voice devices, and more.
#4 Support wide-ranging formats: At the core of microlearning’s appeal for modern learners is the flexibility it offers. Learners can consume and engage with micro content in whichever mode they prefer – text, videos, audio, quizzes, games, interactive GIF images, etc. After videos and gamification, podcasts and webcasts are emerging as the latest microlearning tool in the area of employee training as they lend a conversational perspective to course material. Famous Indian actress Madhuri Dixit, leveraged the power of microlearning in her venture Dance with Madhuri, an online dance academy, where she delivers dance and fitness training through bite-sized video tutorials.
The bottom line
Applying microlearning to employee training is imperative in a rapidly evolving world and changing learner expectations. But its success lies in defining clear objectives, organising and analysing content that matches objectives, and selecting the right format according to learner preferences and job roles. As with any other approach, organisations must gather feedback, fine tune, test and re-test until they arrive at the magic microlearning formula best suited to their needs, to create tomorrow’s leaders and drive competitive advantage.