The Pros and Cons of Microlearning

Designing Digitally


The Pros and Cons of Microlearning

The amount of information available today eclipses all past eras. There's more written about any single subject now than at any point in the past 50 years. The problem is that a lot of the time you get conflicting ideas. So, it becomes increasingly hard to trust one source over another. For this reason, corporations and other businesses are looking at microlearning in employee training to redefine traditional learning models into more efficient eLearning strategies.

Microlearning takes a difficult concept and breaks it down into bite-size chunks. This learning technique particularly applies to the growing millennial workforce that is super tech-savvy. One of the benefits of microlearning is that it empowers employees to quickly incorporate emerging technologies into their daily work through on-demand eLearning. Thus, your tech-aware employees will instantly fill gaps in skill or knowledge, becoming better prepared.

The Benefits of Microlearning

Expedites Innovation

Microlearning courses foster innovation. The more diverse the course materials and delivery method, the more efficient the course. On an organizational level, different people will consume different microlearning lessons on their handheld devices. This gives each learner a unique nugget of information that can later be shared with others. Learners are then able to bring interesting subjects to the discussion table. This cross-pollination of information can end up imparting wisdom to all team members. In this way, the microlearning experience grows organically and naturally incorporates innovative concepts and techniques throughout the organization. 

Encourages Anytime/Anywhere Learning

With microlearning, your employees are not bound to a classroom setting. They can choose to engage with the content from anywhere, at any time, and at their own pace. Making your microlearning modules available on different platforms makes it easy for learners to consume. Since microlearning is often informal training, it allows employees to self-direct,  focusing on the lessons they see as most valuable to them at any given point in their career. This self-direction and ease of access leads to a remarkably fruitful return on their learning hours. 

Provides High Engagement

Videos, presentations, slides, animations, etc. can and should be included in microlearning courses. This multimedia variety attracts the learner's attention and helps them stay engaged for longer. Since microlearning modules come in small chunks, employees are better able to devote time and effort towards module completion. These small pieces of content also allow learners to remain focused on a small piece of content at a time, without much time for distractions, repetitiveness, or boredom to get in the way of their attention. 

Avoids Overload 

A heavy course can lead to cognitive overload. This is because our brains are not able to process high volumes of information in a short timeframe. By comparison, microlearning segments are a breeze to work through. Designed into small bits of information, microlearning enables the learner to quickly assimilate key skills and knowledge without burning out. 

Boosts Information Absorption

This subpoint is directly related to the previous one. When our brains are more relaxed they are better able to retain and recall what they have learned. This, in turn, leads to higher on-the-job application. Research shows that learning that is done spaced out over a longer period of time, leads to stronger retention. Microlearning reinforces the learned material by giving the learner proper time to absorb the concepts and ideas presented in the course. Every lesson is interspersed among real-world activities, allowing for strong practical associations to be made.  

Works with Your Budget

The benefits of microlearning trickle down the production ladder. The company has lower employee learning costs, training time gets reduced, and employees are more readily focused on the course subjects. This reverberates into increased productivity, which leads to higher efficiency and, in the end, saves money.

The Drawbacks of Microlearning

Not Fit for Detailed Courses

If you're thinking of using microlearning to teach quantum physics, think again. This type of immersive learning is more appropriate for lighter subjects and more focused courseloads. Just-in-time objectives, easy topics, and pointed tasks are the base components of effective microlearning modules. 

Hard to See the Big Picture

When you view a cell through a microscope it is hard to construe what living organism you're looking at. The same thing can happen with microlearning modules. Their bite-sized nature can keep the learner from observing the bigger picture. 

Can Lead to Confusion 

Building on the issue of an inability to see the big picture, microlearning students might have a hard time connecting the dots. You must carefully design the course in such a way that the learner can link seemingly fragmented bits of information. To do this you first need to make sure the course learning objectives are stated, the organization is clear, and interconnected topics are reviewed together. Show your employees what skills they need to take away from the course and how they can be applied.

Say 'Yes!' to Microlearning!

We've covered the important pros and cons of microlearning. Now, your next step is to figure out how to design a module that pertains to your particular business and employee needs. To discuss microlearning and the different ways training can be delivered at your company, contact our team today!