What is microlearning and why should you care about it?
By definition, microlearning combines the concepts of micro “tiny” + learning “acquisition of information.” In other words, it’s a training technique that delivers information via bite-sized chunks. Especially useful for skills-based learning environments, microlearning typically utilizes apps on smartphones or tablets to get short bursts of contextualized information to learners.
In fact, context-rich bursts of information are hard-wired into the way our brains function. Modern microlearning software is making waves in the training industry because it has taken hold of the importance of brevity in context and uses microlearning to make the greatest impact.
How You can use Microlearning in Training
For you, utilizing microlearning could mean that instead of requiring a four-hour class where your team members are seated at a desk the whole time, you deliver short snippets of meaningful training at your team’s convenience.
Because your learners will retain more, microlearning can use downtime more effectively to add knowledge and refresh skills. Here are some microlearning examples:
- Waiting for the rain to let up? Have your team go through GPS-related training modules on their phones.
- Got an operator waiting for police to shut down a road? He could be spending 5-10 minutes taking the next micro-lesson on the new screed unit.
- Need a refresher course on enclosed spaces for an upcoming job? Try the microlearning approach.
Because it is so important to deliver information in context, microlearning plays a hand in building relationships even as learners build knowledge. The ease of microlearning via software built for mobile means it can be adopted in almost any skilled trades environment.
Benefits of microlearning
Microlearning, without a doubt, is remarkably human. Whether you’re using it in a custom setting or on-demand, it is one of the most effective ways of communicating information. Here’s a lineup of the biggest advantages.1
- Promotes peer relationships
- Easy to access
- Allows learners to consume information quickly
- Dramatically improves knowledge retention
- Increases engagement
- Increases learner confidence
- Improves transfer of concept to the job at hand
- Reduces training time and costs
Limitations of microlearning
So far, we’ve talked only about the benefits of microlearning because they are profound. But microlearning can’t solve every problem out there. Ideal utilization of microlearning takes place when you want to add to a learner’s basic knowledge in small moments throughout the day. It’s not a replacement for the learner’s basic foundation.
Here’s a list of additional things that microlearning isn’t.
- Microlearning is ineffective if not contextualized
- Microlearning cannot replace/build core knowledge—it is not a standalone method
- Not all microlearning software is formatted for mobile
- Microlearning isn’t suitable for highly complex problems
- Microlearning content creation is not easy or quick
Why should you care about microlearning?
Microlearning is remarkably effective—and that’s the first reason you should care about it. Secondly, it can save you money on the development and delivery of training materials. Microlearning may even play a role in recruiting younger generations into construction.2
In addition, microlearning can help create more engagement for your team, and help learners retain what they take in. Some studies show that microlearning increases learner retention by up to 80%.3 What superintendent or foreman wouldn’t love to have a method for helping their team retain more of what they learn, without taking them away from the job site for long periods of time?
Microlearning is not a novel concept—it’s been around for ages.4 We humans have always responded well to short bits of information that are relevant to our work. Explore the possibilities of a microlearning platform designed for construction here, and see how you can utilize microlearning to boost your team and your business.
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Meet the Expert
Marilee Brewer's philosophy on heavy civil construction is that everything—even the Bingham Canyon Mine and the Willis Tower—starts with ideas put into words. An avid writer and researcher, Marilee brings inspiration, storytelling, and human candor to Dirt World information. Her writing focuses on providing content that enhances user experience, improves engagement, and ultimately increases revenue. A trained Linguist and social media storyteller, ask her for story and social media writing tips.