Understanding the Benefits and Limitations of Microlearning-Based Training for Business

Small is the new big, and corporate learning is no exception. Learning is no longer limited to classroom environments or heavily structured learning. People, especially professionals, prefer learning on-the-go or in spurts to support their multitasking endeavors and convenience.

This ease can be achieved with modularized learning that is to-the-point and interactive. One technique, Microlearning, breaks large chunks of information into bite-sized nuggets to make content more comprehensible and to promote better employee focus.

The average employee only spends close to 1% of their workweek on learning and prefers to consume knowledge in short bursts; microlearning is a clear solution for the shorter, more concise transfer of knowledge and retention.

What is Microlearning?

Microlearning is a method that incorporates purposefully small learning units and short-term learning activities. This method is usually used in e-learning and related fields in mediated environments. Microlearning meets specific learning goals in less time with better outcomes than the standard, in-depth training.

Microlearning is delivered using various media: video, audio, social media, FAQs, and short-form written content are just some of the common avenues of delivery.

On average, Microlearning content lasts between 3-10 minutes. If your content is longer, you may want to consider splitting it into smaller modules. Here are other characteristics of Microlearning:

  • Focus on specific skills, concepts, ideas, or topics.
  • Using a variety of mediums: text, presentations, infographics, video, audio, and gamification.
  • Usually designed to be delivered via multiple devices like mobiles, tablets, laptops, etc. (Anytime, Anywhere, Any Device).

Accessible from Anywhere

Whether your employees have to work from home (in the current COVID-19 scenario) or have to digest a quick bit of technical information on their way to a presentation, Microlearning has got you covered with anytime and anywhere access.

Small learning modules can be designed for when a learner has time. This flexibility allows for cost-effective information distribution, no matter where employees are located (without time zones impending learning).

Better Attention Rate

The digital age has impacted how we process instantly available information and our individual attention spans. Microlearning makes learning modules easy to process and gives a learner the option to come back later.

When learning is broken into 3-10 minute segments, it appeals to shorter attention spans and increases the overall knowledge retention rate.

Higher Completion Rates

With increasing workloads and looming deadlines, it only becomes more challenging to complete lower priority learning sessions.

Employees complete learning tasks that are small and easy to finish. Thus, Microlearning promotes a higher completion rate and closes skill gaps faster with minimum effort.

Easy to Create and Update

Business learning content needs to be kept up to date as businesses continue to change. The content must reflect this change and be held at par. With microlearning modules lasting only a few minutes, it is easy to update content on-demand.

Budget-Friendly

Organizations are increasingly investing in more effective and fruitful learning methods. It becomes challenging to complete highly professional training for an upcoming project within weeks with a fixed budget.

Microlearning helps address this concern with online training that is significantly less expensive than in-classroom training.

Increased Employee Engagement

Microlearning helps demonstrate to employees that you care about their learning in a way that elevates engagement.

Software Advice has reported that 50% of employees are more engaged by taking microlearning courses than more extended and monotonous training that impacts their daily work. Employees tend to disengage when uninterested.

Here’s a depiction of how the audience engages with shorter video lessons versus longer conventional video lessons.

What is Microlearning? The Definitive Guide [2020]
Image Source: Valamis

Boosts Knowledge Retention

Based on research conducted by the Journal of Applied Psychology, “learning in bite-sized modules makes the transfer of learning 17% more efficient.” With this newly absorbed material that bolsters retention, learning can quickly be applied to real-world problems.

Promotes a Learning Culture

The success of employee learning in an organization depends on how happy and informed the employees are. Microlearning is a continuous endeavor that replaces a one-time learning experience.

Microlearning allows employees to be informed of IT compliance or company policy changes even long after the onboarding process.

Benefits for Instructional Design and Technology

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By far, the benefits of Microlearning outweigh its limitations. However, it’s not a panacea, and there are applications for which microlearning is not suited.

Not Ideal for Complex Concepts and In-depth Training

Technical concepts are more complex, and learners need to align ideas with extensive and practical hands-on experience. Microlearning offers minimal scope for in-depth and hands-on training in less time.

It is better to deliver high-level ideas and cover more complex material; you will need to break it into modules covering specific topics.

Tips for Developing Microlearning

Check if Microlearning is the best approach for your Content

If your subject matter is complicated or requires an in-depth study, Microlearning may not be the correct approach. Complex concepts and learning based on ideation will need a more discussion-oriented learning approach.

Capture the Key Ideas

You cannot copy and paste a chunk of the entire Content and call that microlearning. It would be best to take out the content's main ideas that capture the essence of the core topic or skill-based training.

Add Diverse Media to your Content to keep Learners Engaged

Using just text can cause your learners to lose interest. By embedding videos, animations, infographics, and interactions into your content, participants align more with the relevant, interesting, and relatable content.

Using Micro-assessment to Check Progress

Instead of having a long comprehensive quiz at the end of the training, put in short knowledge checks at the end of your module to ensure learners are aligned to your training goals.

Employ Microlearning to supplement Formal Training 

Many employers make the mistake of completely doing away with formal training and implementing a microlearning-only approach. Using microlearning strategically is critical.

Consider adding microlearning between the formal training sessions as an augmentation to aid retention and enhance skill acquisition. And use it to support continued interaction with SMEs after the formal learning intervention has concluded to keep the flow of knowledge open and the forgetting curve to a minimum.

Radiant Digital has been successful in utilizing Microlearning effectively for the learning needs of our designers and customers. Call us to learn how you can too.


The Benefits of Internal Podcasts for Communication & Learning

Social distancing has become the new normal during the outbreak of Covid-19. Thanks to the convenience of technology, most enterprises are carrying out internal communications remotely.

While an array of collaboration tools like Zoom and Microsoft Teams are great for instant messaging and meetings, creating a podcast for employees can improve employee engagement organically and conversationally. Distance learning is a key area that is facilitated by internal podcasts in corporate teams.

Internal podcasts help you exercise innovation in a world where digital technology disruption is taking over. Leadership can create engagement, showcase the company culture, and bridge the communication gap between employees and executives with podcasts created by social distancing.

Why Internal Podcasts?

With most companies currently being cost-conscious, podcasts are very cost-effective to produce and set up, requiring little equipment. They have a short production time allowing more Subject Matter Experts (SMEs) to volunteer their time and share their knowledge, which we may not have had access to before.

Internal Podcasts also open doors for larger SME knowledge to be exchanged as more employees may share their expertise through this medium. Podcasts are convenient and comfortable when compared to training a larger audience in person.

Podcasts are a very intimate medium for employees that help “humanize” messages coming from management. They help clarify the HR and corporate training landscape for gamification, compliance training, and agility.

Benefits

These benefits of internal podcasts draw enterprises to integrating them into their corporate communications strategy.

Cost-effective to produce

Podcasts are quick, practical, and inexpensive to produce, with only basic communication equipment needed to be set up.

Relevant to our current state

With distance learning being at the forefront now, podcasts are an easy way to gain knowledge, connect, contribute, and sustain knowledge-building with the shortest learning curve.

Asynchronous Streaming

Users can listen to the podcasts on their time; podcasts allow users to record sessions and listen later during their commute or break. With this, the learning process becomes more flexible without needing extra supplies/equipment.

Familiarity 

Many people already listen to podcasts, so they are familiar with how they work. Employees will be accustomed to the format deployed on podcasts by their company, which ensures no surprises are thrown in at the last moment. Corporates also follow standardized engagement formats like One Host Show, Co-hosted Show, or interviews.

Information Security

Podcasts are created on the company’s internal network channel that is kept secure and robust through IP security. Companies can account for a reliable hosting service that provides password-protected directories with sufficient bandwidth and storage.

Content can be protected through encryption and uploaded to the files directory using File Transfer Protocol (FTP). Secure feed creation software can be used to create feeds in a secure environment. Podcasts can be uploaded in a private cloud environment or an on-premise cloud for secure access by authorized employees.

The podcast link can also be password protected during access using a browser.

Effective for Instructional Design 

As day-to-day milestones consume professionals, podcasts help define goals and objectives more informally for instructional design discussions.

The sound principles of instructional design can be applied strategically to training and performance support using podcasts. They can be used in audio scripts, questions to experts, and for illustrations effectively.

Instructional designers can formally define goals and objectives for development while discussing them informally through engaging storytelling or visualization.

Before implementing instructional design using podcasts, you need to,

  • Ensure that the flow and organization of ideas makes sense
  • Keep the writing clear and succinct
  • Define terms before using them

Engage Remote Workers

It is challenging for a global company to engage thousands of employees dispersed all over the world. Internal Podcasts update remote employees with the latest company news and information from time-to-time, thus preventing disengagement and isolation.

Some of these Go-to applications designed specifically for long-distance podcasting can quell miscommunication and promote more inclusiveness in a corporate environment.

Metrics-based Evaluation of Employee LMS

How will you make podcasts effective in maximizing employee learning? By merging podcasts and LMS, of course!

This is a proven way of taking employee training to the next level while giving the business leaders a more skilled workforce.

Podcasts complement Learning Management Systems where context and additional supplements can be added to the learning modules employees consume. You can evaluate in real-time how effectively an employee consumes information and applies it with performance metrics. You could also test their knowledge with a follow-up quiz in the LMS.

Managers can devise performance improvement plans based on these evaluated metrics.

Employees can listen to a pending lesson or explore a concept through a podcast episode played on their way back from work. This helps in productive & flexible learning with better retention of concepts at work.

Topics that Corporates can cover in podcasts

Curating the right podcast content for employees or partners can be a great way to engage them and provide important information in a consistent, easy-to-access delivery format. Topics can be designed based on a subject matter or department-wise.

Here are areas that you can focus on.

HR Communications

Everyone has access to the generic information provided by the HR department. As a business expands, departments become more segmented and siloed. New hire orientation, foreign language, and customs are some important topics of discussion in HR comms.

A more cohesive environment can be created through podcasts where policies, company goals, achievements, job-related information, and more can be shared.

Company Culture

Internal podcasts help teams become closer and unified when it comes to the company’s brand image. The synergy between departments can be improved while employees share a common platform to exchange views and create a positive environment. Podcasts also create a cross-content platform for HR, Marketing, Operations, and other departments.

Soft Skills

Soft skills help employees communicate their ideas, products, and processes succinctly and professionally. With a fun, informative, & upbeat approach, the soft skills podcast could improve employee interactions with customers or internally while showcasing their strengths.

This podcast also helps evaluate listening skills, conflict resolution capabilities, & content creation by employees. Soft Skills podcasts also focus on demonstrating specific software procedures and applying them to a wider audience. Interviews with experts are also another area that employees find useful with these podcasts.

Training

Podcasts can be used instead of formal training to continue the connection to the material. It helps extend knowledge retention as learners gain more from a series of short training sessions instead of an extensive one-time training session. They can also be used to supplement existing training models to aid quick learning and longer retention.

C-Suite Communication

The managementcould host a regular podcast to provide regular company updates on the organization's state, share the corporate vision, reiterate elements of the mission statement, discuss immediate plans, and allow everyone to align with the corporate roadmap and better connect to the management team.

Radiant Digital can help craft an internal comms strategy featuring podcasts for your training & change management needs, generate innovative podcast content, or help you implement podcast tools that are best suited for your business.

Call us today to learn how we can customize podcasts for you.