While it’s no secret that human beings have short attention spans, a study by Microsoft researchersrevealed that since the year 2000 (when the mobile revolution began), the average attention span dropped from 12 seconds to 8 seconds. That’s one second shorter than a goldfish!
So, how do you grab your learners’ attention, and more importantly, how do you hold their attention once you’ve got it? One of the best solutions to this conundrum is simple: microlearning.
Over the last few years, we’ve seen a sharp rise in the number of organisations integrating microlearning (aka micro-learning or micro learning) into their strategies. Why? Well, it’s now widely accepted that learners retain more information when it’s presented in short, convenient, focused, chunks (usually under three minutes’ long).
The purpose of microlearning is to deliver a learner-centric experience, designed in rich media formats that can be accessed conveniently, completed quickly and achieve real behavioural change. Human beings already absorb microlearning in their day-to-day lives (e.g TED talks, Lynda tutorials or via explainer videos usually delivered on social media), and because the levels of engagement are so high, it only makes sense to take advantage of it. Microlearning can be incorporated into:
- Videos and visuals
- Motion graphics
- Short scenarios
Usually, microlearning is followed by quizzes and instant feedback to ensure optimum learner retention. Importantly, as Workstar’s, Head of Sales & Client Relations, Sue Fell says, “Microlearning is fantastic, but it’s vital that it serves a meaningful purpose, is instantly applicable and that your organisation designs the learning to meet specific outcomes.” This is why it tends to be more successful in informal, just-in-time settings that focus on performance and behaviour.
So, if you’re not on board with microlearning yet, here are 5 reasons why you should consider incorporating it into your strategy.
1. It’s short!
Did we tell you how short humans’ attention spans are? If you’re delivering longwinded, complex pieces of learning, your people will be overwhelmed, confused and bored. When you remove the clutter, your topics and concepts will be sharp, focused and up-to-date, and your people will be more engaged.
2. It inspires change
Effective microlearning enables people to reflect on and assess their skill gaps. If the learning is targeted and executed successfully, it will then usually inspire them to make changes to fill those skill gaps. The learning is easier to complete, and the benefit for you is that your people will be on a continuous journey to improve their productivity and performance.
3. It’s cost effective
One of the greater benefits of microlearning is that costs for producing microlearning are usually signigicantly lower than the costs for comprehensive, longform courses. Microlearning allows organisations to respond to rapidly shifting trends or desired outcomes a lot faster, and because by definition the learning is shorter, it’s able to be authored, designed and updated a lot quicker. It also removes the need for costly printing expenses, and is delivered in a way that learners respond to better: digitally.
4. It’s less disruptive to your employees’ schedules
Your employees are busier than ever, and they simply don’t have time to participate in learning that takes hours, or even days. One of the advantages of microlearning is that less time commitment is required and it won’t interrupt your time-poor employees. Also, because microlearning is usually delivered digitally, your employees can engage with the learning anytime and anyplace: on the train to work, at home, on a lunch break, or “just-in-time”. This approach delivers a more personalised learning pathway, and gives your people the power to engage with the learning on their own terms (and therefore ensures less resistance to the learning).
5. Your employees will remember their learning
Back to our original point: we all have short attention spans! When learning is presented in short, sharp spurts, learners are more likely to absorb information more effectively. Similarly, when the learning is immediately reinforced with interactive questions or games, you’ll find your employees will be able to maintain optimum attention levels.