Instructional Design

Benefits of Thinking Small With Microlearning

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Think about it: It’s pretty rare that anyone gives their full attention to anything nowadays. Business or pleasure, most people split their focus between a couple of different things. (Think about how you scroll through an Instagram feed while watching TV or text during a conference call.) The days of getting learners to focus on one thing, and one thing only, for hours are long gone. Shorter attention spans, louder distractions, and smartphone pings all contribute to the growing need for microlearning.

Short bursts of information steadily drip-fed through the right channels create the ideal learning environment for perpetually distracted learners. Not convinced? Here are some surprising microlearning benefits–just make sure you pay attention. 

Learner Respect

With so many things competing for your learner’s time and attention, the quality of the information and how you are offering it to them needs to be worth their time. If learners detect that their time is being wasted or they’re not being credited for their existing knowledge, it’s a sure-fire way to lose focus. Microlearning breaks down information so learners can absorb it in bite-sized, manageable ways. Most people are already busy; microlearning reduces the load so it’s easier to process.

Continuous Process

Having a clear start and stop in the learning path means information can easily go stale over time. If you need to redo a course each time information is updated or policies change, it makes every preceding learning event feel like it was a waste of time. However, microlearning can be a continuous process. Sending out bits of distilled, timely information ensures your learners always stay up-to-date, without having to stop what they’re doing. Microlearning makes training less of an event and more of an organic experience. 

Learner Buy-In

Learners are the ultimate critics, and it’s hard to get two thumbs up when you’re asking for hours of their schedule. Time, boredom, and making learners feel like you’re patronizing them are the enemies of good eLearning. By repackaging information so that it’s quick, interactive, and clever, you can be certain that learners will become more satisfied and more likely to participate. 

Total Autonomy

Every learner is different, so why do training courses force them all through the same experience? Autonomy is the key to making learners feel respected. Learners are able to pick, choose, and plan their own learning paths based on what they already know. They can brush up on weak skills and skip modules they’ve already mastered. With bite-sized learning, creating a personalized experience gives every employee the chance to be an active participant, rather than a passive (and distracted) viewer. 

It’d be almost impossible for you to snag learners’ attention for long periods of time. The modern brain simply isn’t built that way anymore. But, if you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em! By strategically breaking up and delivering little bites of information through microlearning, you respect your learners’ busy lives, split focus, and enable them to learn and scroll through Instagram at the same time.