Microlearning is one of the most exciting concepts in corporate learning and sales enablement today. The promise of improving how employees learn and retain critical knowledge is essential to business performance. But with so many definitions of microlearning in play, how can you cut through the hype to legitimize and justify the excitement? What criteria should you look for to make an informed decision about whether microlearning is right for your organization?
Let’s begin by looking at three key challenges of corporate learning programs and technology that microlearning can address if done right:
Today’s rapid pace of innovation and automation, coupled with evolving market dynamics, means that what employees learn every day can change in an instant. Relevant knowledge now comes and goes as fast as an email scrolls deeper into the digital caverns of Outlook. And because information is omnipresent and ever-changing, it’s harder than ever for employees to pinpoint the things that matter most to a business to meet changing market demands.
Because of these factors, old school “macrolearning” models like traditional classroom learning and electronic learning management system (LMS) equivalents — built on the assumption that that knowledge “accumulates” over time — can no longer keep up. Today, too much learning happens outside of training sessions and, as a result, employees are forgetting things that companies simply can’t afford them to forget.
The Internet gives us scale to automate and distribute content, but too often this results in an “information glut,” which ultimately leads to low engagement rates in learning and development programs. Every platform — email, social media, learning portals, etc. — is oversaturated with information, leaving employees feeling like there is simply too much to learn. They need help cutting through the clutter of this “digital junk drawer” to determine what they truly need to absorb versus what they can ignore. Without guidance and help prioritizing what matters most, employees naturally start to question the purpose of a knowledge reinforcement program. Does it improve their career? Is it necessary to be successful on the job? Will a lack of knowledge put the business at risk?
This type of questioning negatively impacts engagement levels and leads to employees simply “going through the motions” versus learning to retain knowledge. With so much at stake (and with people’s attention-spans challenged by content overload), getting engagement right is a game that organizations need to find a way to win.
With so many existing KPIs to keep track of, learning and development and sales enablement managers don’t always choose the most insightful metrics to measure the success of their training initiatives. Take completion rates as an example: just because someone has completed training does not mean they have mastered it or can apply it. Because of this, the real impact of learning on an organization can be uncertain. Did a particular learning action improve individual and team performance? Is existing learning curriculum really bettering behaviors, or are employees simply going through the motions? With so many things potentially threatening the health of the business, do organizations have the right visibility on gaps and hot spots today to be successful tomorrow?
There are too many definitions of microlearning. As a guide, best-practice microlearning is a continuous training process that breaks down complex or detailed learning content into small, digestible scenario-based challenges that are repeated over time. Scientific evidence affirms the utilization of the spacing and testing effects to deliver bite-sized amounts of information — repetitively and all in the flow of work via mobile devices — creates meaningful long-term knowledge retention and behavior change.
In addition to that, best-practice microlearning offers a comprehensive data set that highlights knowledge and skills gaps where employees need coaching, or even re-training in more severe cases. By surfacing valuable insights on knowledge and skills gaps, managers and learning and development leaders know exactly who, what and when to coach to improve individual and team results.
There’s a lot of empirical evidence that microlearning done right increases knowledge retention and employee engagement. Yet, it’s still somewhat misunderstood due to confusing messages on what “good” looks like. As such, it has not yet reached mainstream adoption, but that is changing as we see forward-thinking organizations incorporate microlearning into their programs and get measurable business results. It’s an exciting turning point for microlearning in the enterprise learning world!
That’s why we are equally as excited to kick off this five-part blog post series that debunks the most common myths of microlearning. In today’s complex business environment where employees’ attention spans are perpetually challenged, precision microlearning has the opportunity to make a meaningful impact at your organization.
Tune into our blog series as we debunk these common microlearning myths:
Through this series, we’ll walk you through common microlearning misconceptions and clear the air so that your L&D and sales enablement leaders feel more confident intertwining microlearning into their knowledge reinforcement and skills development programs. This, in turn, will boost the tenacity of your employees’ critical knowledge, which will improve business performance on all fronts.
If you’d like to get a jump start on demystifying these microlearning myths, download our webcast. To learn more about how Qstream’s mobile microlearning platform can help L&D and sales leaders improve their employees’ performance, contact us.