Corporate training must evolve constantly to address the changing characteristics of workers.
The current state of eLearning includes a focus on microlearning. This style of instruction acknowledges critical changes to the way people learn, especially with regard to attention levels. The development of hyper attention, where the brain rapidly switches between numerous sources of information, arose as a direct result of multi-tasking and a media-driven culture. People’s attention spans became shorter, but their appetite for knowledge grew. Training that utilizes microlearning techniques breaks down content into small chunks, typically between three and seven minutes’ worth of information, matching the brain’s working memory and attention span.
In 2014 alone, companies spent more than $56 billion on elearning programs, a number that’s expected to double by the end of 2015. Seeing a return on this investment is critical and microlearning should be a part of your elearning strategy – to help ensure your learners learn and return value to your business.
Here are a few benefits of using microlearning in your eLearning program:
- Flexibility: Microlearning content allows for flexible training, giving it an advantage over older training methods. Since microlearning content is only a few minutes long, users can quickly engage with the training and be done, whether that be during a lull on a slow work day or while they wait for a meeting to start. Because users are exposed to small chunks of learning, more often, they are better able absorb the material and avoid cognitive overload.
- Knowledge retention: A purpose of elearning courses is to train users for the tasks you want them to perform. Dr. Henry L. Roediger III, author of Make It Stick: The Science of Successful Learning, asserted that learning done in small chunks encourages knowledge retention by forcing users to frequently refer back to information they’ve already learned. This works the brain like a muscle, so over time, users recall what they learned more quickly, and the knowledge sticks. In a microlearning scenario, users only have to master one or two concepts at time, so they never feel overwhelmed or discouraged by the amount they need to learn. As a result, the learners are relaxed and more open to the information, which increases their retention.
- Multimedia interaction: Multimedia is a key component of microlearning because it increases the quality and density of the material with which users engage, while simultaneously holding the user’s attention. Rather than reading three or four screens of plain text, users watch short training videos or complete interactive activities that demonstrate the key concepts of the module. The Center For Learning at Vanderbilt University concluded that because human beings are hard-wired as visual learners, including multimedia in elearning courses and traditional educational environments drastically increases learner knowledge by highlighting important information, giving visual clues as to how complex ideas are related and recalling previously learned data.
- Gamification of information: Games aren’t just for kids anymore; this year, more than 155 million Americans play some kind of video game on a regular basis. The thrill of victory, the joy of progression, and the test of skills all contribute to why games are so attractive to people. The gamification of learning transformed user engagement with training management software by harnessing the fun nature of games and the naturally competitive spirit of users. Studies show companies that integrate gamification in their elearning programs have a 48 percent higher level of engagement than those that don’t, and users are ultimately more productive as a result. Microlearning is natural component of gamification because your training management software guides users through short bursts of information that they need to know, then reinforces the knowledge through interactive games as tests. Users come back to the games to improve their scores, climb leader boards and challenge their friends, refreshing what they learned.
Microlearning strategies work well with elearning training, and assist you in achieving your organization’s training objectives. Through the careful cultivation of content, a commitment to updating materials and proper incentives for completing elearning tasks, you will foster a learning environment where users are engaged and eager to learn.
If you'd like to discuss developing microlearning for your workforce or channel, contact us today.