I have had the good fortune to work in the learning industry for four decades in roles ranging from technical classroom instructor to global business development. The world of learning has changed significantly over those years, but what hasn’t changed is the impatience that learners have to get what they need. Workers need learning and support in the nick of time without wasting that time.
Descriptors like micro are relative and must be assessed against the working environments of the employees consuming learning. One size does not fit all. To steal a title from one of Shakespeare’s great works, microlearning can be delivered as you like it.
At its essence, microlearning is learning that is consumable, bite-sized, and maintainable. It can also be characterized with the following “justs”…
Just in time
Just where needed
Just the right format
Just the right access
Just big enough
Just small enough
Too much of anything is not always good. There is a downside of over-training and the analogy to over-eating is both scary and apt.
- Too much consumption at one time can be painful and stressful, and the value can be lost
- Too much consumption is wasteful. We can only absorb, retain, and utilize so much.
- No one wants to clean up after. It can be messy and exhausting.
Business is about productivity, not learning. The challenge is to help employees stay productive, always learning, and constantly informed. By providing just enough information, just when needed, and just where needed, we don’t have to worry about losing or forgetting knowledge. We always know where it is and we can get it any time we need to.
Microlearning can be a critical component of an effective workforce performance strategy because it satisfies immediate knowledge needs to enable the desired performance and compliance. As technologies advance, microlearning can also evolve to match the needs and pace of business.
Microlearning strategies facilitate knowledge acquisition, employee learning and performance support, when and where needed. It is just enough and always available should learners need to partake more as demanded. However, it is just as important to enable employees to learn where they are and to have learning be integrated tightly into their work.
Businesses need to be agile in order to survive in today’s markets. Employee enablement must be just as agile. An effective microlearning strategy addresses the size of the assets to be consumed by the learner/worker as well as the relevance. In other words, personalization of the content to match the business need is vital if the content is to be consumed, retained, and utilized. Of course, size and format matter to exploit mobile devices and enable consumption anywhere and everywhere.
Business leaders and experts need the ability to serve their communities by creating channels of information relevant to those communities and messages that match their real-time need for information on the job. The breakthrough is to be enable this microlearning every minute of every day as needed as opposed to once a year or worse.
Just like with nutrition, sometimes an expert is better at prescribing what we need than we are in order to do our jobs well. SAP Communications Center by ANCILE is a new platform that allows business leaders, subject matter experts, and compliance managers to compose and push information to workers that matches the ‘justs’ – in time, enough, when needed and where needed.
The benefits of microlearning go far beyond the learner alone. There is real, measurable value for the business.
For more conversation on the subject, stop by the ANCILE booth at SAP TechEd && d-code in Las Vegas from October 20-24.
You can also join us for our free webinar series entitled, You’re communicating, but is your message being heard? coming up on November 19. Register for the most convenient timezone for you: