Microlearning is more important than ever

Microlearning has been a popular subject of debate within the training profession for years. 

What is it? Does it work? How long should it be? Is “microlearning” even a real word? 

Microlearning was so popular that business leaders were asking for it without even being able to explain what it was. They were on the right track, even if they didn’t know why. The hype may have faded a bit nowadays, but the idea—designing training so that it focuses on what matters most and fits into the everyday workflow—has become essential in the face of ongoing business disruption. Frontline employees echoed this sentiment when we asked about the quality of their workplace training and support this year.

Here are three troubling findings from our 2020 State of Frontline Employee Training Report that demonstrate why microlearning is more important than ever.

48% received training for a new role or task.

Time is the ultimate obstacle. Employees don’t have time for training because they have to focus on their work. L&D doesn’t have time to create new courses because management has to execute changes immediately. As a result, more than half of employees don’t get the training they need to do their best work. Sure, some people may pick it up on their own. But others will struggle, make guesses and put themselves (and your business) at risk. Microlearning is the key to overcoming this time crunch. It fits into the brief moments employees have available. Microlearning content is focused on just what people need to know, which cuts down on development time. With microlearning, you can make sure every employee gets the training they need to take on new responsibilities and do their jobs safely, consistently and productively. 

Check out the Axonify Content Marketplace, the largest frontline-focused microlearning collection anywhere.

34% described their training as easy to understand and remember.

Employees are people first. They can only take in and retain so much new information. Unfortunately, this distinctly human trait works against them on the job. Customers and managers expect them to know everything at all times. Employees are therefore required to complete courses that are overstuffed with information, take hours to complete and result in very little learning. Microlearning fixes this problem because it’s based on the science of how people actually learn. Content is easy to understand because it’s super-focused on what employees need to know and hyper-relevant to their everyday work. Then, new information is reinforced during brief daily training sessions to make sure it stays top of mind until the employee needs to use it on the job.

Read more about the science behind microlearning effectiveness from Training & Development Magazine.

32% said training helped them feel confident in their ability to do their jobs.

It’s not about what you know. It’s about your ability to apply your knowledge with confidence in order to make the right decision. This is how you keep people safe. This is how you make the sale. This is how you bring customers back. Unfortunately, traditional training fails to build employee confidence. How confident would you feel when making a decision based on something you just kinda remember from a course six months ago? Microlearning allows you to reinforce employee knowledge AND confidence in just a few minutes every day. How much more prepared would you feel when making an important decision after you practiced that topic earlier in the day? That’s the value of microlearning.

Learn how companies around the world deliver microlearning sessions in just 2 to 3 minutes per shift with Axonify.

Microlearning began as a fad. Vendors were more interested in telling you that they “do microlearning” than explaining what it is and how it works. Now, several years later, we know that microlearning works. But, like any other workplace strategy, it has to be done right. You can’t just break a two-hour course into twelve 10-minute modules, call it microlearning and expect a better result. Instead, L&D must design training that (1) focuses on what matters most and (2) fits into the everyday workflow. That’s microlearning. And that’s more important than ever. 

Be safe. Be well. Be kind to the frontline.

JD is one of the most prolific authors and speakers in workplace learning today. His practical approach integrates science, technology, storytelling and pure common sense to enable employees, improve performance and drive business results. For 20 years, JD has executed strategies for global organizations, including The Walt Disney Company.

Let’s work together to drive frontline performance in all the right ways.