There's an ongoing need for reskilling and upskilling for employees today. But traditional day-long, or even hour-long training sessions can be hard to attend given busy schedules. E-learning and, especially, microlearning, offer a different, quicker, and more readily accessible source of information to fill in skills gaps, or explore new areas of interest.
The perks and potential of microlearning came to the fore during the pandemic as companies of all types and sizes needed to find different ways to train and keep employees up-to-date whether working on- or off-site, or deployed to various other locations.
Even prior to the pandemic, though, certain types of jobs challenged many employees to take advantage of traditional forms of training. Blue collar workers, for instance, are often on job sites and without ready access to computers—or training rooms.
Microlearning offers an opportunity to learn quickly and conveniently wherever employees may be and whatever types of devices may be most convenient and accessible to them—including their smartphones.
Microlearning is a form of e-learning. It’s learning that is offered in brief—or “micro”—chunks to make it easy and convenient for learners to access and view content.
Omer Usanmaz is CEO and co-founder of Qooper, a company that runs mentoring and peer learning programs. Microlearning, says Usanmaz, is “a type of learning that is designed to deliver small, focused doses of information.” It works well, he says, in settings “where employees need to be able to learn new skills and processes quickly.”
Using varied formats including videos, podcasts and interactive modules works well to engage learners and maintain their attention. “Microlearning modules are typically shorter and more focused on specific tasks,” Usanmaz says. “As a result, learners are more likely to pay attention and retain the information they learn.”
Microlearning allows employees to get the information they need, when they need it, while on the job and can serve as both a training aid and refresher.
But, despite its many benefits, to be most effective microlearning—like other forms of learning—needs to be developed and delivered with learner needs in mind.
“People want short, fun, concise, and highly emotive pieces of content,” says Jackie Ferguson is VP of content and programming at The Diversity Movement, a DEI consultancy. “Microlearning that works well is filled with storytelling elements and trusted content, while also being engaging.”
Importantly, says Ferguson, “whether it’s an office tower, home, or factory floor, microlearning works best when it fits naturally into the person’s workflow.”
Kevin Kelly is director of cloud career training programs, Amazon Web Services (AWS). AWS, says Kelly, offers a variety of training and skills development opportunities. “We employ micro learning formats, including video, rich media/graphic presentations, microcopy, apps, gamification, self-administered tests, quizzes and challenges.”
Kelly says that microlearning works well when it’s applied toward the right training goal. For instance, he says; “Typically shorter form content works best for introductory or cursory training and concept learning. Game-based training is ideally suited for applying new knowledge and skills in a virtual, but practical application environment. More sophisticated technical or business training can be complemented with microlearning elements such as polls and quizzes, but the core content is typically longer form.”
It’s important for employers to consider the type of delivery that will work best in their organizations and for their employees.
“While computer/laptop or broadband issues might be challenges for some blue collar employees, everyone has a phone,” Ferguson notes. She recommends thinking about the microlearning experience from a mobile perspective.” In addition, she says: “Blue collar workers could utilize onsite facilities for microlearning that are carved out in smaller chunks throughout a shift that might help overcome access issues or even if they lack access to a computer at the worksite.”
Today’s microlearning platforms also offer employers the opportunity to review and monitor employee progress to see if they’re completing required training on time, and to analyze the time of on-demand training that they use most often, for instance.
GoJob offers free online training and onboarding to new temp workers joining a company--short, online courses that include tests for workers to assess their performance.
Microlearning offers ample opportunities for organizations and their employees to leverage real-time, always available learning options through a wide range of e-learning platforms that can be accessible on devices ranging from desktops to laptops to smartphones.
It’s a flexible option that’s ready-made for today’s remote, hybrid and flexible learning needs and perfect for blue collar workers in a variety of settings.