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Microlearning: what is it? And why adopt it?

In a fast-paced work environment, time has become an extremely valuable resource. All HR processes must adapt to this new order of things, and training is no exception. Employees want to learn quickly, go straight to the point and get into action quickly. To meet these new requirements, micro-learning seems to be a particularly appropriate solution. What does it actually involve? And why adopt this approach?



What is microlearning?


Microlearning breaks the codes of traditional face-to-face training, making training modules more accessible and easier to integrate into employees’ daily lives.


Microlearning: definition


Microlearning is a form of learning based on the consumption of micro-training content. It consists of offering learners short sequences – between 30 seconds and 5 minutes – on a defined subject, to enable them to quickly acquire and apply new knowledge.


These micro-contents can take different forms: texts, images, videos or audio content, and are generally interactive.


Microlearning is characterized by its “on demand learning” format. Employees have access to training at any time, whenever they want, in an easy way. With this solution, all they need is a smartphone to learn anywhere, anytime.


How does microlearning work?


Microlearning consists of creating short training content that is easy to assimilate for learners. Thus, each module focuses on a specific notion, with a clearly defined objective and a single message. 


This approach to microlearning is not without significance. Indeed, a number of scientific studies have shown that our brain’s attention span is limited. Furthermore, research has shown the importance of working on a concept several times to optimize its memorization and anchoring.


In concrete terms, microlearning applies these conclusions to the world of training in the following way: key notions are introduced over a short period of time and then repeated on a regular and spaced basis. This approach aims to make learning more efficient, as learners are likely to retain the information provided in this way better and longer.


It is important to note that microlearning is not simply a summary of a “long training”. It is another learning approach in itself, aimed at facilitating the assimilation of information and oriented towards action.


Related: “Learning in the flow of work”: why should you adopt it?



Microlearning: what are the benefits for the learner and the company?


Microlearning is attracting more and more companies to train their employees. Focus on the advantages of this approach, for both the company and the learners.


Ultra-customized content


Microlearning offers a personalized and unique learning experience. Employees choose for themselves the notions they want to learn more about, the topics covered, the concepts they want to revisit, etc. They are at the heart of their training process and create their own path. Moreover, thanks to its digital format, microlearning allows learners to learn whenever they want, on the device of their choice (computer, tablet, smartphone).


Real-time training


Whenever the learner needs to know a technical move or go deeper into a specific subject, microlearning allows them to get their answers directly and be able to quickly apply what they’ve just learned. This is why microlearning is sometimes called “Just in time learning”. For both the learner and the company, this real-time learning allows great agility, which has become essential in the professional world.


A more engaged learner


With the ability to create their own learning path, to learn what they need when they need it and to be able to apply it directly, learners are generally more engaged in their training. As true actors in the process, they manage their own skills development. This freedom and responsibility are often sources of additional motivation and involvement for employees.


Short content adapted to busy days


The small, short learning units characteristic of microlearning can be accessed at any time by the learner, and regardless of location. This is known as “snackable content” which is content that can be consumed in small doses at any time and fits perfectly into employees’ busy schedules. Microlearning capsules last no more than five minutes.


An economical and quick-to-create format


The very short format of microlearning capsules is intended to be very quick to produce, compared to the design of a classic face-to-face training course, for example. By focusing on a single notion and a single message, each content can indeed be created in a few minutes. On the other hand, microlearning reduces training costs for organizations. It avoids the costs associated with instructors, travel or even the equipment of training rooms. The only tool needed for microlearning is a hosting platform (an LMS, for example).


Measurable impacts


With microlearning, employees can have an overview of their course in real time. Acquired notions and those to be reworked are easily identified, so they can benefit from instant feedback. This training solution therefore allows the company, as well as the learner, to effectively measure the impact of each module and the progress being made or to be made.


Related: Is LXP the future of LMS?



What is the impact of microlearning on the future of work?


Motivating employees is one of the major challenges for companies, including training. However, motivational factors tend to evolve over time, which does not help structures to offer their employees only training that is in line with their desires and needs.


To get as close as possible to this objective, microlearning is a great ally. Indeed, thanks to the instant feedback that this approach provides, companies are more able to understand the needs of their learners. Training content can then be adapted and optimized according to what motivates employees, in order to strengthen their commitment.


In addition, microlearning promotes agility in training. Micro-content is quick to develop and requires fewer preparation logistics, enabling companies to respond more quickly to learners’ skill acquisition needs.


Finally, the future of training is firmly focused on “superlearning”, an agile learning process that allows professionals to keep pace with changes in jobs and skills. Microlearning is a way of working towards this goal. In the long term, it will enable us to develop a “super” team of employees, hyper-resilient and capable of adapting to the changes of today and those to come tomorrow. In this way, the possibilities offered by micro-learning can also boost the employability of employees.


Related : Upskilling, reskilling, cross-skilling: understanding the difference


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Illustration credits: https://www.istockphoto.com/fr/portfolio/AnnaSivak