By Karl Kapp
Microlearning, which is a way of delivering content to learners in small, very specific bursts over time or as needed, has become important from a learning and development perspective for a number of reasons.
- Short Time Bursts—The short time bursts needed for microlearning means that the learning can occur at various times without pulling a person away from their work tasks for long periods of time. When crafted carefully, a microlearning event can last between 3-5 minutes. This means minimal disruption to a person’s work activities.
- Narrow Topic Focus—The focus on only one topic at a time means the learner can concentrate on only learning one thing at a time. It provides a targeted delivery of instruction and reinforces one objective or concept which makes it easier for the learner to learn and retain the knowledge they need.
- Delivered Anywhere—Microlearning can be delivered on virtually any device. With the ubiquitous nature of cell phones, the learner can learn during what is normally referred to as downtime. It can be while waiting for a machine change over or while waiting for a meeting. Microlearning expands the opportunities a person has to learn information.
- Personalized—With microlearning, a person can choose what they want to learn whenever they want to learn the content. They can pick and choose the order in which they consume content and are not bound by an instructor’s preferred order. The learner is in control of the learning process.
- Less Learning Interference—Since the learner is only concentrating on one topic or objective which is often of the learner’s choosing, the focus is on learning that one thing. This means that other subjects or topics will not interfere with the learning. The learner is focused on one thing without interferences.
Microlearning can be an effective tool for delivering just-in-time instruction as well as for reminding learners of rules and regulations. The short, quick nature of microlearning means that the learner can focus on the topic at hand when and wherever the learner happens to be. Microlearning should be an element in any organization’s learning curriculum.