13 March 2017

Top 3 reasons why microlearning benefits millennials


Every day, we engage in microlearning. So why is it that millennials prefer this style of learning and how can it improve training in your business?

Whether we’re sitting on the train flicking through news headlines, browsing through Twitter or scrolling through social media on your mobile device, we naturally digest information quickly before running out of attention and moving onto the next article, headline or topic that catches our eye.

According to Microsoft's survey on Canadian media consumption, the average attention span of humans has fallen from 12 seconds to eight seconds since the year 2000, and is now lower than the nine-second attention span of a goldfish.

Interestingly, the timeline shows a correlation between a decrease in the human attention span and an increase in mobile phone usage.

So, if smartphones are shaping the way we learn, wouldn’t it be ideal to accommodate for this in the workforce?

If we look at millennials, who have grown up with smartphones and have the natural tendency to digest small bite-size pieces of information on a daily basis, it becomes obvious that traditional training methods may not be as effective as once thought.

To encourage this new generation of learners, companies are now turning to microlearning.

What is microlearning, anyway?

In a nutshell, it’s a form of training that aims to deliver small bite-size pieces of information to learners.

  • Generally, in the form of short, two-minute videos that can be delivered anywhere, on any device.
  • The content is often highly specific and designed to be short and punchy. To be effective, the videos shouldn’t feel like lectures or homework and should deliver the point, often with repetition, in an engaging way.
  • Ultimately, the goal is to reduce the duration of lessons, to ensure learners are engaged during the entire process. This can then be backed up by subject matter experts and thought leaders.

Research and personal experience have lead me to conclude that there are three reasons why your business should look at breaking up its training content.

#1 Natural microlearners

Brought up in the age of smartphones, millennials prefer information to be quick and to the point.

  • If you deliver on this, you not only align with an ever-shortening attention span, you also engage your audience more effectively and improve retention as an outcome.
  • This will lead to an increase in learning efficacy, with research showing the delivery of shorter material leading to 20% increases in retention over traditional longer material, such as two-hour ‘fall asleep at the desk’ inductions or training sessions.

#2 Time savings

It’s cheaper to create micro-lessons as they’re shorter.

  • This makes it less time consuming for both developers and viewers. When you’re training on a particular topic, you have to think: what do they really need to know?
  • Everyone knows the real learning is done on the job, so why not provide a bullet-point framework for them in training, so they can focus on applying this effectively.
  • This is especially useful for small startups or younger new entrants starting businesses on a budget.

#3 Learning empowerment

Letting younger employees have more control over when and how they learn empowers them to take responsibility for their learning, and helps them feel more respected and trusted.

  • Microlearning doesn’t occur in a seminar room on Monday morning between 9 am and 12 noon. It happens on the bus on the way to work, or from the comfort of your home or bed before you get up in the morning. It fits easily into the moments between activities in busy lives.
  • The result? Empowered employees who feel part of a progressive learning culture, where they can learn in their own creative ways. The positive effect will make your company attractive to work for and improve your talent pool.

What next?

If you have ever wondered if your employees really read through the whole 20-page manual or feel as though your training could do with a shake up, why not consider what more you can achieve with a next-generation mobile-enabled online solution like Velpic.

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