4 eye-opening statistics that reveal the value of microlearning for company training
Microlearning isn’t a new concept, but in recent years it has become extremely popular in the worlds of online learning (think Udemy and LinkedIn Learning) and company training. In spite of this popularity, though, recent business trends and eLearning statistics indicate that microlearning is still underutilized given the immense value it provides.
So what is microlearning? In short, microlearning involves delivering learning materials in short, bite-sized chunks. A typical microlearning lesson might be delivered in just 3 to 5 minutes a day, focusing on the essential information that’s needed in the moment. As microlearning lessons are completed daily over a week, a month or a year (and beyond), those short lessons result in extensive learning.
So do you really need to implement microlearning courses into your learning strategies? Consider the following microlearning statistics and data, and decide for yourself.
1. The use of microlearning increased by 40% during the pandemic
As previously noted, microlearning is on the rise—and in a big way. In 2017, about 27% of retail businesses used microlearning principles for training, as did 22% of finance and insurance businesses and 26% of businesses overall.
But that was five years ago. So where does microlearning stand now? A survey from the Brandon Hall Group found that microlearning actually increased by 40% during the pandemic. There may be several reasons for the 2020 surge. For instance:
- More companies are training remotely and relying on technology
- Record high turnover is forcing organizations to streamline their training efforts
- L&D teams are more determined than ever to maximize learner engagement and knowledge retention amid current workplace challenges
But while 40% is an impressive jump, remember that only a small percentage of companies were leveraging microlearning to begin with. So if you’re considering a learning management system with microlearning capabilities, you can still achieve a relative competitive edge by giving your employees a straightforward framework for learning engagement and success at a time when employee satisfaction is paramount.
2. Large companies are dedicating nearly three times as many hours to training as they did just five years ago
In 2017, employees at large companies (organizations with 10,000 or more employees) averaged 42.2 hours of training per year. In 2020, the number of hours shot up to 102.6, according to an email survey from Statista. This increase was not observed in small and midsize businesses, which saw only modest fluctuations in learning hours between 2017 and 2020.
What this means is that, though microlearning is valuable for companies of all sizes, large companies especially can benefit from implementing a microlearning strategy. Microlearning amounts to fewer hours of required training and therefore less productivity sacrificed and fewer company resources exhausted. Microlearning can even help reduce development costs.
3. Time is the #1 barrier to workplace learning
According to LinkedIn, 63% of Millennials and 58% of Gen Zers would like to learn a new skill—but they don’t feel like they have the time. This is an especially big problem in the workplace, where unprecedented productivity demands preclude many employees from expanding their skill sets and pursuing expanded job roles and opportunities.
But while it’s often a headache for ambitious employees, it can be an even bigger problem for the managers who want to keep their teams learning and growing. It’s not just about career advancement. In today’s economy, it’s more important than ever for employees (especially frontline employees) to stay sharp, adapt to rapid workplace changes and be ready to take on new responsibilities at a moment’s notice.
The fact that microlearning enables learners to keep up with these demands is perhaps the #1 testament to its value in the workplace. Employees are constantly learning and growing with the help of short lessons delivered within the flow of work. As employees master their essential proficiencies, they’re gradually introduced to new, supplementary concepts that help them expand their skills and become experts on essential training concepts both inside and outside of their primary roles.
4. You forget 50% of what you learn within 20 minutes
Psychologist Hermann Ebbinghaus conducted some of the first major experiments related to memory and recall in the late 1800s. He proposed that human memory is subject to a “forgetting curve,” suggesting that most of the information we absorb is quickly discarded. A typical Ebbinghaus forgetting curve suggests that people forget more than 50% of their newly learned material 20 minutes after the knowledge is imparted. The learned percentage falls to 40% in nine hours and 24% in 31 days if no reinforcement is present.
But the research also reveals that memories can be retained through repeat exposure. If the information is reinforced in time-spaced intervals, it makes the transition from short-term to long-term memory.
This is exactly how a quality microlearning program works. Although microlearning modules are short, the information is continually reinforced until mastery is achieved—and even then, it’s occasionally repeated to ensure long-term retention. That’s how microlearning is able to achieve more learning with less of a time commitment.
Microlearning is a game-changer for corporate training
Here’s a bonus statistic: Microlearning is one of the keys to Axonify’s unprecedented 83% participation rate. Frontline employees voluntarily log on and complete their lessons every day because the learning is engaging and convenient—and because the system employs other proven learning engagement strategies like gamification.
Remember that it’s not enough to simply make lessons short. An effective corporate learning strategy:
- Should fit into the flow of everyday work
- Should be adapted to each employee
- Should be engaging
- Should support mobile learning
- Should follow the principles of brain science.
Only then will it make a real difference for your training program.
If you’re still on the fence about this learning format, or if you think it’s just a trendy buzzword that will never replace traditional training methods, try it out in your own workplace. As long as you follow the best practices laid out here (make it engaging and adaptive, make it mobile-device accessible, make sure it fits into the natural flow of work), you’ll be amazed by the results.