Microlearning in the modern corporate workplace: An overview

Today’s corporate world relies on speed, efficiency, and accuracy—a combination of factors that can only be achieved through mastery. Employees today stay competent and relevant by finding the balance between being the jack of all trades and a master of one. They do this through continuous training and education. 

One of the most effective training methods used by companies and employees today is microlearning, a holistic learning approach that delivers bite-sized content of topics, skills, and ideas to focus on addressing a particular skill or knowledge gap.

The adoption of microlearning in the workplace 

Many companies across the globe are now promoting continuous learning in the workplace through microlearning. And many more will follow suit in the near future. In fact, according to global market research firm Technavio in its Global Corporate e-Learning Market report tackling the Adoption of Microlearning to Boost Growth, various trends and market drivers will affect microlearning’s market growth between 2018 to 2022. 

Technavio confirmed that microlearning would soon positively impact the e-learning market and the corporate world over the forecast period, thanks to its mobile-friendly learning solutions for employees and participants with short attention spans. “The increasing use of wearable gadgets and mobile learning in developing countries are some other major factors that will boost market growth during the forecast period,” says a senior analyst at the global research firm. 

Considering Microlearning’s positive trajectory, it’s safe to say that companies across the globe are seeing the positive effects of microlearning in transferring knowledge, retaining knowledge, and honing a skill. 

Microlearning for team training 

Microlearning is an excellent e-learning method for individual professionals with a specific goal, but it’s an even better option for team training with a common goal and purpose. Companies today utilize microlearning solutions to deliver lessons and activities for a particular group of employees with the same learning need. The delivery of these solutions is much easier compared to other e-learning methods because microlearning’s content is customizable. 

Here are the ways microlearning successfully deliver team training in the modern workplace: 

Providing learning levels with increasing difficulty

Microlearning can easily provide learning content with varying levels of difficulty to a group of employees. Companies can easily provide activities, lessons, and scenarios building on the employees’ knowledge and practice application.

Optimizing tailored mobile-ready content

Companies can easily offer on-site and remote learning solutions to a large group of employees since microlearning promotes and provides mobile-ready content. They can read modules, watch videos, and listen to podcasts anywhere. 

Applying interactive content

Microlearning’s interactive content can increase employee engagement, regardless of the size of the team. Microlearning solutions can explain lessons and conduct activities through engaging content, such as games, infographics, and simulations. Compared to typical modules given by many e-learning solutions, engaging content such as these can attract the attention of many. 

How effective is microlearning in improving skills, transferring knowledge, and promoting engagement in the workplace

Microlearning has been proven an effective learning approach to improving students’ learning abilities, preparing them for more advanced subjects and ultimately, the real world. But how effective is microlearning in improving professionals that are already in the real world? 

In general, Microlearning makes the transfer of learning 17% more efficient. But we also need to consider the learning environment of the individuals participating in this learning approach, as well as their short-term and long-term goals. Students participate in microlearning to improve their learning abilities and knowledge retention. Professionals, meanwhile, have their jobs and careers to think about, so they use microlearning for skills improvement and career development.

As these professionals’ intent to participate in microlearning is backed by life-changing and lifelong motivations, they prioritize improving their skills above everything. As an exchange, companies witness better employee engagement and productivity.

One study conducted by Software Advice, a company that specializes in advisory, research, user review services, has proved that microlearning increased learner engagement rates in employees. In a survey consisting of 385 responses from random full-time employees within the United States, Software Advice revealed that 58% of employees would be more likely to use their company’s online learning tools if the content is in shorter formats. This study proves the effectiveness of microlearning in motivating employees. 

Another study related to microlearning revealed that 100% of employees will take continuous learning and training activities if there is a game involved—something that microlearning can better offer compared to macro e-learning approaches, as most micro sessions come with short video lessons and games. 

Additional training is often seen by employees as a burden on top of their actual workload, so adding a gamification aspect to their training can definitely change their mindset. This study, without a doubt, proves the effectiveness of microlearning in improving employee engagement.

Another data proving the effectiveness of Microlearning in addressing employee skill gaps came from a published book written by Dr. Ray Jimenez, a globally renowned learning architect based in California, USA.

According to Dr. Jimenez, Microlearning increases the speed and development of employees by 300% using only 3-minute rapid e-learning methods. That, in itself, is already impressive. But Dr. Jimenez even proved that the fast development of employees helps companies reduce development costs by 50%.

Given these data and statistics, it’s evident that Microlearning is one of the best development strategies in workplaces and other environments with a similar setup. It is effective in improving technical skills, as well as other personal behavioral skills.  

Types of workplace learning solutions through microlearning

Microlearning, as an umbrella term for a new type of e-learning approach, uses various methods to deliver information and teach a particular skill. The method, of course, depends on the type of skill or knowledge needed to be acquired and other personal preferences. Refer to the list below to see the most effective types of microlearning solutions for a specific type of learner in the workplace. 

Type of Learner 

Recommended Microlearning Solutions

Newly-hired employees

  • Introduction videos about the company, a specific role, or the actual business operation

  • FAQs about the company or business operations

Group Compliance Training

  • Informational videos with short quizzes (preferably gamified) 

  • Activities depicting real-life scenarios relevant to the company’s business operations

Employees Who Need Software Training

  • How-To learning references compatible with desktops, laptops, and mobile devices

  • Screencast videos featuring experts or the company’s key members

  • Activities depicting real-life scenarios relevant to the company’s business operations

Employees Who Need Soft Skill Training

  • Informational videos with short quizzes (preferably gamified)

  • Audio podcasts featuring relevant problems with solutions

  • Activities with real-life scenarios and personalized outcomes

  • Process-based interaction among employees and other members of the company

  • Activities with branching scenarios, a learning method where the employee becomes the decision-maker

Employees Who Need Sales Training 

  • Introduction videos or modules featuring the company’s product or service

  • Activities with branching scenarios

The chart carries recommendations based on learning needs. Still, these microlearning solutions are effective in transferring knowledge and teaching a skill if applied properly, regardless of the learning need.

When choosing a particular method, employees and companies should always remember that less is more and bite-sized is better. Aside from the aforementioned learning modes and approaches, microlearning works better because of its size and duration. 

Is microlearning enough?

Microlearning is the future of continuous training and education. Learning and development (L&D) and human resource professionals have already proven the effectiveness and benefits of microlearning in improving an individual.  Is microlearning alone, however, enough to address the knowledge and skill gaps of professionals?

Microlearning and its short-form content are enough to provide initial training and knowledge transfer. It can already meet those needs. However, if the company or the individual’s goal is to achieve optimal knowledge retention and long-term behavioral changes, microlearning can’t stand on its own. It’s best to pair microlearning with post-training reinforcements, a combination of science-based strategies that can provide long-term support to the learner.