Even when COVID-19 is a thing of the past (hard to imagine, we know), working remotely will be the norm for a large chunk of the workforce. In their survey of remote work in the U.S., PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) found that a majority of office workers want the option to work remotely. Post COVID-19, 72% of those surveyed said they wanted to work remotely at least two day a week; 32% said they didn’t want to return to the office at all.
Regardless of where they are, workers need to keep their skills current and learn new ones. But they need learning that works with their schedules—learning that’s available when the kids are Zooming or napping, or when the Slack channel stops buzzing. They need microlearning.
The “micro” in microlearning refers to learning in small chunks. While we’re all worried about the impact of kids being tethered to hours-long Zoom sessions, big kids also don’t do well in hours-long Zoom meetings, either. Think about that pre-COVID sales meeting or PowerPoint presentation in a cramped conference room—cramming ten ways to make a sale, or the ten tenants of a new corporate ideology—into a two-hour love-fest.
But what if that two-hour session was broken into ten shorter lessons that you could attend whenever you wanted? Would you retain more? Of course you would. That’s how our brains work. Chunking information into bite-sized pieces not only helps learners retain information; bite-sized learning also lets learners learn at their own pace – wherever they are, and with their device of choice, putting them in charge of their learning.
In this era of immediacy, we’re microlearning all the time. Cooking at home more and bored with stir fry? Do a quick internet search for a new chicken recipe. Just bought a new home and want to learn the best way to paint the walls? YouTube has zillions of experts who want to share.
What just happened there? In the previous examples, learning is immediate – but the learning is also related to a specific skill; cooking a dish or cutting in and rolling. That’s how microlearning works. In the corporate world, microlearning is best suited for informal topics such as troubleshooting a computer issue, learning a new software tool, onboarding, or learning about a new product offering.
And microlearning is most effective when it’s followed with a quiz or a chance for the learner to demonstrate what they learned.
There is no best way. Videos, articles, blogs, ebooks, audio clips, quizzes, simulations, gamification, infographics are all great tools – just as long as the content is delivered in chunks no longer than ten minutes.
In the best case, microlearning is adaptive, meaning that the learning is customized based on the learner’s performance and interests. Adaptive learning relies on Artificial Intelligence: learning based on neurolearning, predictive analytics, psychology – the things we do best here at ELM.
Remote learning is here to stay, and microlearning is a great tool to keep your learners learning!