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What is Microlearning and should you care about it

There are a lot of types of trainings and ways to learn new skills. A growing trend in the e-Learning industry is the so-called Microlearning. What is it?

To answer that first we have to step back a bit and look at the world of education a bit more globally. Wise people way that in order to succeed you must always continue to learn. And that is true, especially in today’s ever-changing world. Completing school and college is not enough to be on par with all of the latest knowledge in any field.

This is more so obvious in IT. By the time you’ve finished mastering one platform, there’s already at least one new version of it. Sometimes the changes are not that major, but other times, they are and you need to learn a lot more about them. New technologies and advancements also create a constant need of learning.

New times, shorter attention span

So, education is changing. More and more people realize they have to treat it as a constant part of their lives instead of a period of time before they start their career. But as education changes, so does the perception of information. Most people don’t like the traditional format of education – spending hours on time in classrooms, reading huge books.

Today people are flooded with vast amounts of information of a constant basis. That’s not even counting the enormous info we get to crunch while browsing social media. Without realizing, we are going through so much data each day, we really do forget more than we actually know and remember. That constant flood of information changes the way we consume it. Back in the day people liked long reads and posts. A few years ago, as online video got popular, we loved longer clips.

Now articles have to be shorter than ever, otherwise most people simply don’t read them. They just don’t have the time. At best they “save it for later” and that later never comes. The same with videos. Now the most popular format is about 2-2.5 minutes long.

So, where does this preference for shorter, but powerful content leave education? How can we learn a new platform or a programming language or a system the company is deploying amidst this ocean of other information?

Microlearning as a possible solution

This is where additional trainings come. Especially e-Learning and the latest incarnation in the form of Microlearning. Let’s just say from the start. Microlearning is not ideal for all cases and types of content. At best it could be a great addition to a bigger training course. But there are also cases where it will work beautifully for a complete training. In order to know which case is right for you, you need to know more about Microlearning and have clear goals of what you want to accomplish with the training.

Microlearning focuses on giving the most important information about a topic in the most easy and quick way. It also gives the opportunity to complete the course at your own pace. You don’t have to follow a particular timetable during the day. You can even complete lessons on your smartphone as you ride the subway to and from work. This gives additional motivation to learners to actually check out the course. Plus, the content can be tailored to better suit specific preferences. Some people like to read, while others prefer visual learning and more images.

There’s also the option to make the content more interactive. There can be gamification elements, achievements and so on. This often is very appealing to young workers who can quickly get very engaged with the content.

Microlearning is also a great way to improve learner retention. You can set up an additional course to a more complex one which people can then go through at their own pace. Plus this type of learning gives a better sense of progress since you get more done in a shorter timeframe. This also helps keep learners engaged with the content.

The shorter, interactive lessons respond better with the current trend of bite-size information, too. It also helps workers get through the content as they go about their already busy day. Once again, Microlearning is not a format for all types of trainings and courses. It’s an alternative which has it’s own advantages. The disadvantages can vary depending on your goals. You should definitely give Microlearning a look and you might want some professional help from our team when you decide which approach is best for you.

Photo by NEC Corporation of America with Creative Commons license