Microlearning: The Good, The Bad And Why It Needs To Be Contextual


Microlearning: When You Need It, Where You Need It

When developing training for workers, talent specialists have a lot to consider. With time, work environments continue to get more hectic and attention span continues to drop for most employees. So, what is considered an effective method of knowledge transfer in such a complex workspace? Microlearning! Now among the fastest growing trends, microlearning is being increasingly adopted by organizations. In this article, we will walk you through all you need to know about it.

What Is Microlearning?

Microlearning is small bursts of training material provided to achieve a specific goal. As the name suggests, it gives small doses of information that can be absorbed quickly by end users. The main idea behind this methodology is to transmit details electronically around a specific topic in a short amount of time. There are several ways to deliver such knowledge to users; it can be video, audio, walk-through, how-to guides, short text summaries, demo snippets, gamification of data, infographics, etc.

The Good

Microlearning comes with several advantages. Let’s look at how you can benefit from this learning methodology:

  • Easy to remember
    It is common knowledge that people often forget a lot of what they have been taught, so much so that the retention rate is almost as low as 30% of the total information after a single day. You can overcome this challenge with the help of microlearning as it gives small, bite-sized details that are easy to grasp and remember.
  • More flexibility
    Often the flexibility of microlearning is underestimated by organizations. But, it is noteworthy to mention that end users can access information anytime, anywhere with learning management systems and software adoption systems available in the workplace.
  • Easy to update
    Staying up to date with training and learning material is essential to organizations. Microlearning facilitates exactly this by being easy to update through cloud-based business technology. On the other hand, in-person training on new and updated technology would disrupt productivity and be just as time-consuming as the first time around.

The Bad

Even though we have established that microlearning transforms traditional training methods, there is still some room for improvement. Let us go over some common challenges that arise when you adopt microlearning in a business environment:

  • Self-education is a hurdle
    Organizations and training specialists often have unrealistic expectations from employees when introducing learning management systems in the work environment. Learning management systems often require employees to actively seek out information when they want to. Although that sounds like an ideal learning situation, workers and end users are unlikely to spend their free time self-educating.
  • Not relevant to work situations
    Even though microlearning provides short bursts of information, it is often given at the wrong time. People often require guidance when they find themselves unable to complete a task, but microlearning isn’t available at the moment of need. Including microlearning resources at points where employees struggle most is the best way to get them to engage with it.
  • Ineffective without context
    We’ve already mentioned how microlearning is easy to grasp but, if it is not available in the context of the work you’re doing, it is just as ineffective and frustrating for staff as any standard training methodology. This is often the case with microlearning as it happens out of context and users find themselves going back to the learning management system to recall the initial information that was delivered to them. To improve retention rates, businesses need to make microlearning accessible within the business software itself!

Contextual Microlearning Is The Future Of Enterprise Training

After identifying the shortcomings of microlearning, I think we can pinpoint the missing piece in this puzzle: context. Enterprise training has transformed manifold over the years and microlearning has become an integral part of it. But, contextual microlearning is what will overhaul the learning experience for all.

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Just delivering microlearning through the means of a learning management system or intranet is insufficient. However, when brought to you in context and across your company systems, employees and end users will have access to information exactly when they need it without disrupting their workflow. Thus, contextual microlearning is the way forward and is here to pave the path for both enterprise training and productivity.


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