Microlearning

4 important microlearning trends driving its popularity in the workplace

Posted on: April 25, 2022

Microlearning is becoming increasingly popular in corporate environments for digital and online training, but what’s driving the emerging microlearning trends?

We know there are numerous advantages of microlearning, from better learning engagement to increased knowledge retention, but these advantages have been known for years. The specific trends driving the growth of workplace microlearning are more nuanced. 

1. Labor shortage

The ongoing labor shortage shows no signs of slowing. In 2021, the U.S. saw an unprecedented 57.3% turnover rate across all industries. Now more than ever, employers need to get people up to speed more quickly without adding risk to business as organizations struggle to attract, hire and retain staff. There’s not a lot of time available for traditional formal training. 

Microlearning can help in this capacity because—when it’s done correctly—it supports the flow of work while causing minimal disruption to the organization. Lessons are short, easily accessible and targeted to reinforce the most critical information—a far cry from traditional learning methods. A new employee can learn in just a few minutes a day—before starting their shift, during periods of downtime or on their own time (this is ultimately up to the organization and dependent on local requirements). 

Axonify, for instance, supports employees from the moment they begin the onboarding phase. Each employee receives an onboarding checklist with an organized list of microlearning lessons and tasks, and they’re awarded points for completing those tasks. As the employee gets acclimated to their role, they continue learning with new, customized lessons each day, all of which are custom-tailored via adaptive learning. There are question-based lessons, interactive videos and even games to support the learning. Throughout the span of the employee’s career, they never stop developing their skills. 

2. Pace of change

People are already burned out and overwhelmed (our own research has found this to be the #1 reason for the current high turnover trend), things continue to change quickly and organizations need to fit training into busy workflows without disrupting operations. Contact centers are a perfect example. Technologies, productions, regulations and customer concerns are constantly evolving, and contact center reps must be constantly prepared to meet these changes while navigating their already grueling workplace demands. 

Streamlining operations—including ongoing training—has never been more important. Microlearning is once again invaluable here for several reasons. Microlearning helps guide the movement of learned material from short-term to long-term memory, helps to increase learning retention when the knowledge is continually reinforced and helps curb the problem of mental exhaustion or cognitive fatigue. 

So for team members who have to constantly expand their knowledge in a fast-paced environment, microlearning just makes sense. You can easily adjust or expand your existing learning materials and enable learners to remain up to speed without sacrificing productivity.

3. Digital transformation

A rapid digital transformation is happening before our very eyes. Since the pandemic began, 74% of businesses have accelerated progress on digitizing their operations by months or even years, and analysts expect the outcome to have permanent ramifications. This transformation extends to corporate training. 

Technology is now the face of workplace learning. Consider that BYOD is becoming increasingly important in today’s fast-paced, tech-savvy work environments. Research shows that using personal devices for job-related tasks can save employees time and increase their productivity. Microlearning courses fit well into this framework, especially when utilized as part of a mobile learning platform like Axonify. 

More devices (including handheld mobile devices) are in the hands of frontline workers, and L&D can now reach people they couldn’t reach before. This means L&D needs to design content that can be experienced using these devices within the flow of work. 

4. Employee expectations

Despite the fact that the employees are facing more challenges and pressures than ever before, customers expect your employees to have the answers—always. It doesn’t matter if the employee joined your company six years ago or six days ago. 

Continuous skills development is a key part of the employee value proposition and a requirement for ensuring that your employees are able to keep pace with customer demands and also grow within the rapidly changing organization. 

This development needs to become part of the job so it’s easier for everyone to access—not just top performers who can be scheduled out of the workflow to attend programs. In an age of increased employee demands where time is at a constant premium, microlearning provides the opportunity to expand development opportunities.

The microlearning trend is here to stay 

Regardless of the reasons why microlearning training is catching on, one thing is for certain: It’s not going anywhere. In fact, we can expect to see the trend continue to grow as more eLearning developers recognize its value and more employers recognize its benefits for solitary and collaborative learning environments. It’s even becoming more sophisticated thanks to innovations like artificial intelligence that customizes the learning experience for each trainee. 

If you’re not already harnessing the benefits of microlearning in your own workplace, this is one trend you won’t want to ignore. A growing body of research affirms the benefits of microlearning for both short-term and lifelong learning, and now is the perfect time to jump on board.