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All You Need To Know About Microlearning For Corporate Training

What is Microlearning?

Microlearning is learning created in small, bite-sized chunks,  completed in a handful of minutes. It’s very popular in eLearning, especially for employee training. According to estudent.org, microlearning is set to become the most popular form of eLearning within the decade. Microlearning includes modules, videos, readings, or any other vehicle for online learning, just shorter. 

Simply put, micro learning is eLearning in bite sizes

It can be an incredibly effective way  to train your employees using eLearning. 

(To learn more about eLearning, check out our article eLearning: Modern Online Learning Explained.)

But before we start getting into the nitty-gritty of microlearning, let’s take it back to the basics. 

What do you need to know to get started with microlearning?

What You Need To Know To Get Started With Microlearning

Before you start using microlearning for corporate training, there are a few things you should know. 

Like some helpful stats on why microlearning is an excellent choice for training your employees. 

For instance, fun fact, according to EdApp, microlearning courses have an average completion rate of 82%. This is in comparison to an average completion rate of 15% for MOOCs (massive open online courses), as a whole, according to information cited on Sell Courses Online

According to Software Advice, as cited by Knowledge Force Consulting, 48% of employees would use a phone or tablet to complete training. And as Knowledge Force Consulting continues to then point out, LMSs and other forms of modules and microlearning are designed to be doable on mobile devices, which is part of what makes microlearning so convenient. You can do it anywhere (as long as you can connect to the internet, anyway). 

Gamification can be a critical aspect of eLearning in general, including microlearning. According to Review 42, those who used gamification score higher in skill-based assessments by 14%. This is something to keep in mind for corporate training, particularly considering how often employee training is skill-based. 

Now, you know the facts. But there are still some things you’ll need to consider before starting. For instance, 

  • What is the microlearning coursework for? Or in other words, why do your employees (or at least some of them) need to be trained? Maybe it’s for onboarding purposes, learning about a new product or method, brushing up on their job knowledge, being promoted, etc. 
  • What platforms are you using for microlearning? You need to consider how or where you’re going to host microlearning content (or if you aren’t making content yourself, where you’re going to find it). An LMS is an excellent choice for microlearning, or eLearning in general, because of the incredible amounts of options available for content creation and customization and other administrative features, like tracking, analytics, etc. 
  • How are you going to make sure the coursework is completed? You’ll need to know if your employees are completing the training you’ve assigned them, so you’ll need a way to track just that. As stated just above, LMSs offer monitoring capabilities. However, if you’re not using an LMS for some reason, you’ll need to see if the platform you are using also has tracking capabilities. And if it doesn’t, you’ll need to find another way to figure out if your employees are finishing their courses. Or just get an LMS. Some courses include certificates once the course is completed (this is another feature common in LMSs). 
  • Are you creating the coursework or using existing training methods? Whether or not you’re making the training content for your employees, or finding it, may partially depend on the purpose of the training. For instance, onboarding training can be particular to your business, and you may need to create some of that training yourself. However, some types of more formal training can be found rather than created. 

5 Vital Microlearning Features

micro learning modules

If you want to ensure your employees are getting the most effective training possible using microlearning, then you’ll want to make sure the microlearning you’re using has these features. Some of these features are standard to most learning platforms (including LMSs); others are important specifically for microlearning. 

Feature

Description

Example

Shortened Time to Complete

By definition, microlearning modules, videos, etc., don’t take much time to get through. That’s the whole point of it. In fact, microlearning sessions usually take less than 10 minutes to complete. 

A training module that’s part of a more extensive course An informative training video, etc.

Tracking and Analytics

Tracking and analytics are an essential part of any training, so you know completion rates, the efficiency of your course, etc. Microlearning (like eLearning) can just make collecting this easier because depending on the platform, it will do this automatically for you. 

Completion rates, user stats, etc.

Gamification

As previously mentioned, gamification can be an essential part of eLearning in general, including microlearning. Gamification causes 72% of workers to work harder, with 95% saying they enjoy those elements at work, according to Review 42. So include them in your training. 

Games, quizzes, competitions, leaderboards, polls, etc.

Creation and Customization

You need to be able to create and customize your courses, especially a longer course that needs to be broken down into shorter microlearning-sized modules. You should be able to create and customize the content, elements included, and overall look of the content. 

Adding text, videos, graphics, your business’s branding, etc

Responsive on Mobile

Online learning is a before-bed, phone activity for 46% of users, according to Research.com, so it’s important to make sure whatever platform you’re using to host your micro learning courses is responsive on mobile

Automatically adjusts sizing and spacing on modules to preserve the aesthetic integrity

Source 1, 2, 3

Benefits of Microlearning

what is micro learning

There are a lot of benefits to implementing microlearning into your corporate training. Some of those benefits include:

  • How time effective microlearning is 
  • How cost effective microlearning is
  • The rates of knowledge comprehension and retention from microlearning

Time Effective

Microlearning is time effective. It probably is obvious how short microlearning is. However, there’s a bit more to it than that. 

It’s not just that microlearning is done in short bursts, with shortened training sessions or courses. That only saves time if those shorter modules or videos add up to make considerably shorter courses. 

It’s also how easily it can be slotted into your employees’ schedules without having to take time away from their work. 

A short video or module can be completed during an employee’s free time, in between tasks, or while waiting for a meeting to start or receive feedback. 

Cost Effective

eLearning, in general, is cost-effective. Think about it. You’ll need to pay for the platform you’re using to host your microlearning, but there aren’t other associated costs. You won’t need to pay employees for the time they’re spending on training rather than working (at least not as extensively). You won’t need to pay for your employees to travel somewhere for training. You won’t need to pay for an instructor to come to your establishment to train your employees. 

(Unless you’re buying your courses, of course. Then you’ll have to pay for those.)

Instead, with higher retention rates and finishing rates and shorter times spent on actual training, you’ll be reaping better benefits, cost-wise. 

eLearning Industry, for instance, cites an example of IBM saying that it made $30 in increased productivity for every dollar it spent on eLearning. 

Knowledge Comprehension and Retention

Let’s lay down some stats for how effective eLearning, particularly microlearning, are for knowledge comprehension and retention rates in corporate training.

For instance, Shift eLearning cites data found by the Research Institute of America that retention rates increase 25% to 60% with eLearning and sit at only about 8% to 10% for traditional learning. 

According to EdApp, the retention rate of traditional learning is only 15%, whereas the retention rate of its microlearning courses is 70-90%. 

Although the retention rates of traditional learning vary, it’s clear that eLearning, and microlearning, in particular, increase them. 

How to Use Microlearning Videos In Employee Training

micro learning videos

One of the popular forms micro learning takes in employee training is videos. Videos are a great way to include information, graphics, and demos in a way that can be done in modules or web conferences. However, in a video, someone can engage in the training in a way that combines the two, both modules and web conferences, but plausible. Employees can go through the video at their own pace. They can pause the video and look up anything they don’t understand. They can also watch a video while doing other more tedious or mindless work tasks. These types of benefits have been outlined in the table below. 

What Micro Learning Videos Offer

Benefit

Explanation

Challenge

Casual learning or coursework

Videos can be used as a one-off training video, like a TedTalk for instance. Or a series of videos can act as modules that make up an entire course, like the way HubSpot Academy does it. 

A Harvard Business Review article called Where Companies Go Wrong with Learning and Development illustrates that effective courses have multiple sessions to them, and are immediately applicable to your work in a sort of learn, apply, repeat the cycle. Casual videos in particular don’t necessarily allow for this. 

Ability to control the speed of the learning

With videos, you can pause it, rewind it, and sometimes even speed it up or slow it down. Because of this, users are able to complete the videos on their own time and are able to look up concepts they’re unsure of. 

Learners will need to engage with a ‘microlesson’ 5 times before the knowledge is retained long-term, according to EdApp. And some users may not bother engaging with the video in this way, and will instead just let it play, whether or not they’re fully grasping all the information and concepts within.

Asynchronous learning

Videos also allow users to finish them on their own time. If they want to watch the videos together with their peers, they can, but it’s not a necessity for those who prefer independent studies. 

In 2019, eLearning Industry reported that self-paced eLearning was expected to decline by $33.5 billion in 2021 because users weren’t engaged and finishing courses and providers were looking for other ways to make them so.

Multi-tasking

Now, they say it’s not actually possible to multitask. But, we’d argue that if you have a mindless task to complete at work – maybe inputting data, building boxes, stuffing envelopes, etc – you can watch a microlearning video at the same time. 

Although, as previously cited, retention rates are higher with microlearning, this may not hold true if you’re not focusing solely on your training while doing it. Also, you may do your other tasks incorrectly if you are focusing significantly more on microlearning than them. 

Source 1, 2, 3, 4

The Examples

We’ve outlined below different examples of different types of training microlearning videos can be effective for. 

Formal Training

Any sort of formal training at work, including onboarding, can be done using micro learning videos. Maybe this surprises you. Maybe you thought training using videos is really only for informal or casual training. 

However, think of something like HubSpot Academy, as mentioned in the table above. HubSpot offers great courses that offer certificates and are made up of video modules. 

Performance Support

Performance, support training videos, can include any videos that help your employees learn how to do a task as they need it. If you have training videos available for your staff to aid them in their tasks, that can be an effective way to have them follow the video step-by-step so they can learn and complete the task they need help on. Because videos can contain demos, this could be easier to use than a typical how-to guide. 

Promotion and Awareness

Managerial or other training for promotions is a great example of training that can be done through the use of microlearning videos. Video modules can take employees through all the necessary information and skills they’ll need, and the employees will be able to peruse the videos in their own time, so they can still effectively do the position they currently hold. 

Expanding On-the-Job Knowledge

Microlearning can be a great way for employees to expand or keep up on their job knowledge. Whether it’s just watching the occasional educational video or fully completing online educational courses comprising several shorter videos, your employees can learn more about their job positions or just ensure they’re maintaining their job knowledge. 

And this kind of training can be directed by a manager, supervisor, owner, or boss of some sort, or it can be self-directed. Employees can be taking part in microlearning casually if they come across an interesting YouTube video that’s relevant to their job and more formal courses they’ve signed up for. 

5 Tips to Build Effective Microlearning Modules

micro learning

If you are looking to use microlearning to train your employees, and you’ll need to create the training modules yourself, we’ve got some tips for you on how to build them effectively. 

These tips include

  1. Decide which information needs to be included based on the required training
  2. Understand how best the training can be divided into shorter modules if it’s a full course
  3. Consider the employees that will need to partake in training
  4. Decide the materials that should be included in the training
  5. Create the necessary materials done as professionally as possible

Information Included

The first step of creating a training course made up of modules is to decide which information needs to be included in the training course. Presumably, if you’re creating microlearning modules for your employees, you already know what your employees need to be trained on.

However, now you need to think about that training and decide, point by point, what information needs to be included in the modules for your employees to have the complete picture they need to complete and implement the training. 

Dividing the Content

Now that you know what exactly to include in your course, you need to break it down into what will be included in each module. You’ll need to pay attention to the natural topics and knowledge breaks in your points. This will help you understand how to divide the content into the necessary modules. 

You’ll need to make sure your modules flow naturally and make sense. The knowledge or skills your employees are learning should be built upon with each module. Whether that’s learning in chronological order, going deeper into topics, or other ways of building on the knowledge, you need to make sure that it’s done in a sensical way. 

Consider Your Employees

Are your employees' tech literate? What abilities do they have for learning new platforms or completing online courses? How much do they already know about the topic they’ll be trained on? Are there differences between the knowledge the employees have? 

These are the types of questions you’ll need to be asking yourself when building your micro learning modules. 

You need to create modules that’ll be effective training vehicles for your employees. For that to be the case, you’ll need to make sure that your modules are easy for your employees to navigate. (This doesn’t mean your content needs to be easy if the training is on a challenging subject, but that the platform the module is hosted on, and the module itself, shouldn’t be a hindrance to your employees.) 

You’ll also want to make sure the content in your modules is interesting, engaging, and not regurgitating things your employees already know (unless the point of the module is to maintain or test employee knowledge). A training module that’s supposed to be training your employees in which the content is mostly things the employees already know is a waste of their time, which in turn is a waste of your company’s. 

Materials Required

You know what information needs to be included, how to divide it into modules, and how to best suit your employees’ needs. Now you need to consider the materials required to create your modules. 

  1. You need to establish which platform you’ll use to create your modules. An LMS, like Tovuti, is a good way to go. LMSs typically have various features that can be beneficial to you, like video or image elements, text elements, app integrations, app tracking, etc. If you’re struggling with LMS platforms and which to get, check out our article Learning Management System Guide: Tools, Benefits & More
  2. You need to establish what elements would be the most effective way to deliver your training. For example, you can use text, videos, images, infographics, audio, etc. 

Creating the Materials to Look Professional 

Now that you know what platform you want and what elements to include, it’s time to set up and/or create them. 

You’ll want your micro learning assets to look professional. If you’re unable to create them in a professional way for yourself, you can hire someone to do that for you. However, you’ll need to keep that in mind when you’re budgeting out costs for employee training. 

Best Practices For Microlearning

Some other best practices for micro learning courses include:

Test run your course: 

Before you make your course live for your employees, test run it yourself and with a peer (depending on how confidential the course is, and who your peer is) to do the last edit of your content, and ensure the coursework makes sense, especially from microlearning module to microlearning module. 

Allow feedback and ratings:

Some eLearning platforms, like Tovuti, offer features like ratings and comments for courses. Encourage your employees to use those functions so you can better understand how well the modules function from the point of view of the trainees. If your eLearning platform doesn’t allow for feedback and ratings, find a way to collect that data manually. 

Edit coursework if necessary

If something in your course isn’t making sense to your employees, and either they’re telling you so, or it’s something routinely being done incorrectly in the modules, make the necessary adjustments to your course so it’s easier to understand. It doesn’t matter how effective microlearning is if your course is incomprehensible. 

Ensure the course is up to/complies with any and all standards (legal, accessible, SCORM compliant, elements of gamification, etc.):

Make sure your course is up to industry and eLearning standards, like making it SCORM compliant (learn about SCORM compliance in our blog, SCORM: eLearning Standard Explained), and using elements of gamification. However, you’ll also need to make sure it complies with any standards or laws for (online) courses in your industry/area (especially if you’re going to make it publicly available).

Conclusion

what is micro learning

Microlearning can be an incredibly effective tool when training your employees. It saves time and money, increases retention rates, and can be used for various types of corporate training. 

So if you’re looking to start training your employees with microlearning, but you’re missing an LMS, don’t be shy, and reach out to Tovuti for to watch our demo and see exactly how to make microlearning work for your business. 

Author:
Tyson Chaplin

Tyson Chaplin earned his Master of Educational Technology degree from Boise State University in 2014. He also earned a graduate certificate in Technology Integration and holds teaching certificates in online teaching, special education, and history.

Tyson is an Idaho native who is passionate about technology and how it can help all people learn and better themselves. He has worked in both public and private sectors. Tyson enjoys cooking and traveling with his wife, Malia, and restores vintage video game systems in his free time.

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