7 Ways Microlearning Will Change Employee Training

Published on 05 Jul 2018 - Updated on 27 Feb 2020

If you haven’t heard about microlearning, it’s time to see what this buzzword can do for your business.

Do you strive for success? Do you wish finding the answer to a question at work was as easy as watching a 3 minute YouTube video?

Well, it can be! But first…

What is Microlearning?

Microlearning can be thought of as a way of teaching and providing knowledge material to employees (or anyone really) in short, focused modules.

It is like taking the overall concept you need more information on and breaking it into small learning units. Also known as brief learning experiences.

Scrabble blocks spelling LEARN.

Microlearning and Digital Technology

In today’s technology-driven world eLearning is more popular than ever. The eLearning industry is expected to triple in size by 2025 and micorlearning is a big part of that.

From online high school curriculum to digital training to earn certificates and mobile-friendly learning apps. Add the millions of how-to videos available on YouTube and the phrase “just google it,” you’ve got access to information 24/7.

Microlearning takes traditional eLearning to the next level. It is a type of learning designed for access via any device, from smartphone to laptop or traditional desktop. Instead of hours of assigned reading online and a syllabus with weekly assignments, or a week of training before you actually start your job, microlearning focuses on what you need to learn now. This focused learning approach is usually less than 10 minutes. Many people say microlearning should be between 2 and 6 minutes in order to effectively sustain learner engagement and provide highly focused content.

Now you’re asking… How does this apply to my business?

Let’s go over seven ways microlearning is changing employee training.

Microlearning has been the way of the internet for quite a while. We have been microlearning almost every day – from watching how-to videos on YouTube to reading 600 to 1000 word blog posts in order to get more information on a topic. Getting this information when you need it is what makes microlearning most effective. In the business world, giving information in the form of microlearning before your employees need it can also be an effective technique.

1.  Videos and Infographics are Perfect Examples of Microlearning

The obvious example is YouTube. Tons of 2-6 minute videos on almost any topic you can think of. From FTP to cleaning grout, you can learn and then put that knowledge or skill to the test.

YouTube logo.

Have you spent more time looking at an infographic than you spent skimming the rest of the article? Infographics are an excellent vehicle for microlearning. These types of graphics are not only visually more appealing than a page full of words but can convey information in a fraction of the time.

For example, say you need to upload a file to your new ExaVault business file sharing account, Just check out this infographic:

Microlearning infographic on how to upload a file.

Take a few minutes to look this over, and now you’re ready to upload files!

Once you have an infographic that successfully provides useful information, keep and reuse it. Store the graphic where employees can access it, and microlearning has infiltrated your employee training. No handbook on uploading files – just this one graphic.  

Videos and infographics are changing employee training because they are heavily visual compared to training documents. Videos and infographics can be easily shared, explained and even updated as needed. These microlearning aids will hold employee attention long enough to convey the pertinent information. Videos also often lead to discussion among employees who have viewed them. A healthy flow of communication is always a positive in business.

2. Fit Learning Into Your Workflow

No more pre-scheduled training days. No more losing workdays to training or having to juggle shifts around employee training.

With microlearning available as a tool for employee training, businesses will want to take advantage of how easy it can be to fit learning into the workflow.

Microlearning gives flexibility to employee training. Flexibility allows individuals to learn at a time that suits their schedule best with fewer disruptions to customer service and other time-sensitive tasks. Microlearning gives employees a chance to learn and then put their new skills to the test in a more meaningful way.

Microlearning gives employees access to quick fixes and can fill knowledge gaps that will improve their overall skill-set. Productivity increases after an employee implements what they just learned to solve an issue right away.

Allow employees 5-10 minutes to step away from their current work and engage in a bit of microlearning. They will go back and complete the task to client satisfaction and continue using that new skill in the future.

This can even improve communication in the workplace as others may run across the same issue and can be directed to the microlearning tool or get direct help from their now knowledgeable coworker.

Microlearning works best when it is suited to the learning style of the individual. While videos and infographics are great, in some cases individuals learn best by sharing a new skill, and others learn best from engaging and talking with another person. Either way, this can be done in under 10 minutes with the right microlearning assets.

3. No Formal Setting is Required

Microlearning is ideal for mobile learners. Videos are perfect for sharing on mobile devices. Today’s employees can engage in microlearning on the go. With smartphones and other mobile devices, microlearning can happen during the morning commute or in between business meetings. Required job training can include a sign off after completion, or a short two-question quiz at the end that gets submitted back to the manager.

Businesses will have the opportunity to make changes in other areas after implementing microlearning for the majority of employee training. A formal setting such as a classroom can set the mood for disinterest from employees. They may feel like they are unnecessarily taken away from more critical work. Or, they may feel like the bosses are treating them like children.

Classroom with empty chairs due to microlearning.

Classroom space at the office could be revamped and turned into additional workspace, a larger breakroom, extra storage or a company gym. Employees could easily watch a short video about the new software application your company is switching to while working out in the new gym.

4. Microlearning is ideal for teaching new processes within your organization.

Has your company just started using a new software application? Carefully designed microlearning modules can get employees up and running with the basics. Use short, focused videos to explain more complicated steps one at a time. This method of employee training not only takes advantage of modern technology but reduces the fear of learning something new that many employees have when their company announces a significant change.

5. Niche Training

Create a work environment consisting of employees with more specialized training. Microlearning allows businesses to bring niche topics in front of employees without having to bring in specialists to present the topic. Videos created by a guru or in-house expert on the subject have several advantages:

  • Easy access to focused and specialized information.
  • Lean specific information that can be put to use right away.
  • Quick reference to refresh or reinforce skills.
  • Visual and interactive learning modules increase retention.
  • Information delivered by a subject matter expert carries more weight.

Improve your market share and service levels with knowledgeable employees. That extra bit of specialized information an employee has on a topic can make your business really stand out to clients.

6. Drive active engagement with the material.

Convenience and timing are two elements that improve engagement with learning materials. Microlearning provides both of these elements. As businesses alter their employee training to become more convenient and to take less time through microlearning, they will see improved engagement with the new knowledge.

Active engagement with learning means your group of employees is more likely to remember and utilize the information. Employees will feel more included in the process and willing to learn even more.

Employees who show excitement about what they are learning, are actively engaging with the material. Microlearning keeps the learner’s attention and prompts the individual to test their new skill right away. Knowledge that is easy to engage with, in turn, becomes more natural for the learner to share. As employees share what they learned, they are further promoting engagement with the material.

7. Microlearning works over time to build larger skillsets.

Realize your team has conquered something new without days or weeks of training. For example, an employee can go from creating a basic excel spreadsheet to super excel wiz with a few microlearning experiences. Although this may not be the case for every employee, it shows where additional or more traditional in-depth training would add value to your company.

A trained staff who have utilized microlearning to enhance their skills and develop a more robust understanding of topics and programs within the company are a valued resource. Kids don’t learn basic math overnight, but companies can now help employees learn a highly focused element of their job in less than 10 minutes.

File sharing and SEO are two examples where elements for success are continually changing. Use microlearning to keep key employees up to date on the current best practices. Incorporate watching short videos and reading blogs or news articles into weekly work schedules. As knowledge is accumulated, employees will produce better content and apply new techniques that will improve overall ranking and statistics.

Putting It Into Practice

Not sure where to start?

Migrate employee training to a microlearning based format. Start by setting up a file sharing service for your company to use internally or consider reorganizing your file storage solution.

Organize folders with microlearning videos, infographics, and other assets. Create folders for different topics, departments or associated applications. Doing this will allow for easy dissemination of learning materials to all employees. Taking the time to organize now will also make uploading and storing new microlearning modules hassle-free in the future. Having an organized place for employees to go to locate the information they need to excel at their job is beneficial to everyone.

There are many great file sharing services online that allow you to easily give employees access to microlearning tools. ExaVault has advanced business file sharing accounts with simple user management so every employee can have their own login and permissions. And with notifications, you can tell when employees have downloaded a specific file or video and be able to call upon that employee with their new skill when needed.

The Key to Microlearning

Let employees learn how and what they need.

As long as the content is relevant, needed or of interest to the employee, microlearning will be a benefit and will outweigh any disadvantages associated with this type of learning.

What does this equal for employee training in your business?

Success, go get it written on blackboard.

Are you ready for some microlearning?

Check out our how-to videos and start improving your ExaVault skills in under 2 minutes!

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