With countless schools and offices having to operate remotely in 2020, and people spending more time at home than ever before, e-learning can provide invaluable education opportunities. Whether a college student needs to finish their course requirements, a retiree wants to pass the time learning a new skill, or a business wants to train their employees, e-learning can come in handy. Even once social distancing comes to an end, our very digital world can greatly benefit from e-learning tools. To make the most out of these tools, there are techniques like gamification and microlearning that course creators can take advantage of. Microlearning for employee training in particular has some benefits worth examining.
What is Microlearning?
Before looking at the benefits of utilizing microlearning in training, it’s important to understand what microlearning is. Microlearning is a short format for content that is intended to drive a specific learning outcome. Most often, microlearning is seen in e-learning platforms hosted on smartphones, computers, and tablets. One of the goals of microlearning is to make the content learner-centric, easily accessible, and quick to consume.
Essentially, this is an educational approach that focuses on providing small learning units that only include the necessary amount of information required to help the user meet a certain learning goal.
What are the Benefits of Microlearning?
Before adapting microlearning techniques for e-learning content creation, you may want to know what the benefits are. The three main benefits are better engagement, retention, and saving time and money.
Regarding engagement benefits, the numbers don’t lie. From the get-go, employees are more likely to be engaged in microlearning. When surveyed, 58% of employees stated they would be more likely to utilize online learning tools provided by their company if the content was broken up into multiple smaller lessons.
When it comes to engaging with the content, shorter e-learning modules can help take advantage of an employee’s focus limitations. The University of California Irvine found that on average employees work for just 11 minutes before they typically become distracted by outside stimuli such as emails or phone calls. During those 11 minutes, employees tend to work on very short and quick tasks that last about three minutes. Microlearning can provide busy employees with the option of making e-learning work for their hectic schedules and environment. Not only can microlearning allow the user to engage fully in a lesson for a short period of time, but because the lessons are easier to complete, they can retain the content better.
Saving time and money on e-learning content is a nice perk. According to the author of 3-Minute E-Learning, learning architect Ray Jimenez, PhD, microlearning can actually decrease development costs for training courses by 50% and can increase the speed of developing them by 300%. This is because this digital form of digestible content is much easier to reuse and refresh than more traditional in-person training. Another benefit of having shorter bits of content is that it can make it faster, easier, and more cost effective to localize your training to your employees’ native languages. Being able to adapt e-learning content to different languages and cultures through localization can create a better and more effective e-learning experience.