Microlearning – A saviour in times of skilling urgency

Innovative strategies, such as microlearning, can offer just-in-time, robust skills training to employees to make their L&D more efficient and engaging

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In today’s era of digitalisation, improving existing skills and developing new ones is an urgent and pressing need, especially when the impact of skills gaps is directly on the bottom line. The urgent need for skilling is quite evident with the World Economic Forum predicting that 50 per cent of all employees will need reskilling by 2025, as adoption of technology increases.

These unprecedented times have paved the way for accelerated adoption of many innovative L&D strategies. One such strategy is microlearning, which has stood the test of time and disruptions, promising a quick and impactful way to skill employees.

Why microlearning is impactful now

Microlearning, as the name suggests, is a way of offering short, crisp and focused content nuggets to learners, at the time and place of their need. While it is hardly a new idea, its power has become increasingly clear during challenging times such as now. When done in the right manner and context, microlearning can be a highly effective method of training.

Today, people check their smartphones every single minute, and Zoom fatigue has become a real thing. Naturally then, the demand for bite-sized digital learning is rising across the business world. Modern learners lead busy lives and are keen to access e-learning courses on-the-go, and at the time of their need/convenience — be it prior to meetings, while travelling, or even over breakfast. In order to gain the right kind of pull for training, L&D needs to target these small windows of opportunity, and microlearning is the perfect fit for this.

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How microlearning is the right choice to build skills

When it comes to building skills, microlearning offers multiple benefits by helping learners retain information:

1. Suitable for learners with shorter attention spans

Given that remote or hybrid working is the norm in most organisations, employees are multitasking all the time and have shorter attention spans. Always in a rush to meet stringent deadlines, they hardly have the time to attend longer online training sessions. This makes microlearning the best way to offer much-needed skills training to such a workforce.

2. Enables training through mobile devices

The shorter duration of microlearning content makes it a perfect fit for delivery on mobile devices. These bite-sized learning modules can easily be accessed on the smaller screens of smartphones and tablets. At a time when remote workers are increasingly relying on mobile learning, microlearning is a great way to deliver skill-development programmes.

3. Imparts varied levels of skills training

When it comes to skills training, there is no ‘one-size-fits-all’ approach. While some learners may need just basic skills for their roles, others may require advanced skills. It helps if learners can access the skills training programmes that are relevant to their needs and enable them to perform their jobs better, rather than wasting time over training programmes that may not benefit them. Microlearning modules with bite-sized learning curricula can help impart skills training for varying levels. Learners have the option to pick the modules that are the most relevant to them and skip the rest.

Ways in which microlearning can be leveraged to boost skills development

There are several engaging and innovative formats that are multi-device, which can be picked up based on the nature of content to create engaging microlearning:

· Making the best use of bite-sized videos

One of the most effective and engaging ways of imparting skills training is videos. There are multiple ways in which micro e-learning videos can be used to build different skills. For instance, bite-sized videos can be used to offer just-in-time support to service technicians, who can quickly watch a short video on their mobiles on how to service a particular equipment. Bite-sized videos can also be used to enhance communication skills. With the help of videos, learners can be guided on different aspects of communication, such as verbal/non-verbal communication, body language, tone, gestures, and so on.

· Utilising micro problem-based learning modules

Bite-sized learning modules that have problem-based elements, such as scenarios and case-studies, are an effective way to stimulate critical thinking and enhance problem-solving skills. For instance, pharma companies can offer their learners real-life case studies where drug makers were penalised for violating FDA norms. This will help them understand and analyse what went wrong and how to avoid such situations.

· Harnessing the power of gamification

In times of remote learning, when learners are facing a lack of engagement, gamified bite-sized courses are highly effective to impart skills such as leadership abilities, in a fun and engaging manner. Companies can deploy short web-based, gamified business simulations to accompany regular training sessions. These simulations can effectively help learners hone their soft skills, such as decision-making and negotiation.

Takeaway

Microlearning strategies perfectly suit skills development initiatives, as they cater to the varied learning styles of learners with small, crisp content nuggets. At a time when in-person learning and training are not feasible, including microlearning in the L&D strategy can be an impactful solution to ramp up learning at scale.

The author, Amit Gautam is the Founder & CEO of UpsideLMS and Plethora. He is a learning technology enthusiast and a passionate leader. An IIM and NIT alumnus, Gautam is the key idea generator for UpsideLMS & Plethora’s product teams, a Sales and Marketing orchestrator, a learning technology solutions consultant for clients and prospects, and a mentor for all the function heads at his company.

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