Depending on what’s being trained, corporate IT training might need to be more thorough than microlearning can offer. But, in many cases, microlearning is the perfect match. Sometimes microlearning can be great for performance support or a short refresher.
Then there are the cases when it’s the ideal solution for minor or common performance issues that need to be addressed. An example of this is a project we worked on to reduce help desk calls and help employees resolve issues themselves.
The project was to take the most common calls to the IT help desk and build a video that walked employees through solving the issue. Those videos were available before calling the help desk. If the employees still called the help desk, they were able to use the videos to send to employees to reduce the call time and help improve support.
Each video in that example was microlearning even though that term hadn’t been invented yet. But now that the term microlearning is a thing there are many ways it can fit into a corporate IT training strategy.
But microlearning can be a million things and seems to be defined differently by every person. So what is microlearning and can it truly be a valuable strategy for solving corporate IT training problems?
As far as if it can be the single solution, that’s up for debate. But it can be a good tactic in a larger strategy. Imagine instead of spending hours taking lengthy training sessions or sifting through a knowledge base or a bulky and virtually useless user guide.
While microlearning might not be the ideal sole tactic, it’s great because employees can engage in short, bite-sized topics focused on a specific topic or skill. This is what microlearning offers – a concise and targeted approach to learning that allows employees to get exactly what they need when they need it and nothing more.
Leveraging modern learning experience platforms and multimedia tools to deliver engaging and interactive content, microlearning could be ideal for any organization’s corporate IT training. By breaking down complex technical concepts into easily digestible microlearning, employees can get what they need when they need it either as their sole training or in support of more robust training.
There will always be a need for employees to be trained in technical skills, therefore it’s important to find effective strategies that work together. Microlearning, with its bite-sized format, flexibility, and personalized approach, can be a great strategy for corporate IT training.
It’s a great way to empower employees to either reinforce or acquire necessary skills efficiently and when needed to help them stay ahead when company technology is always changing. If you’re curious about how microlearning can revolutionize your organization’s technical training initiatives, read on to explore the various ways it can prove to be a game-changer!
What Is Microlearning?
Chunking has been part of the instructional design methodology for decades. Every instructional designer should know what it is. But that’s usually used in the context of grouping related material into chunks.
Microlearning on the other hand breaks those chunks apart and then breaks them apart again. That means you’re left with very specific training that focuses on a specific task or workplace goal and only that one.
In other words, microlearning shouldn’t have a list of performance (not learning) objectives. Most microlearning will be built with just one performance objective and help employees achieve it. It’s not about the time, length, or anything else but rather what it’s trying to accomplish.
So, if one single performance objective takes 15 minutes to do then that is still microlearning. But typically it isn’t super long and runs from one to five minutes. You can see an example of a microlearning video that we built to help people put alt text into images in Microsoft Word. It’s just one performance objective and nothing more and the video clocks in at just over four minutes.
Microlearning breaks down complex concepts into easily digestible pieces. By presenting information in a concise and targeted manner, microlearning delivers only what employees need at the moment and can be combined for more complex needs.
One thing to keep in mind, though, is that microlearning is not always a replacement for longer courses. Sometimes it’s necessary to tie together many objectives into one course that ties everything together in a seamless scenario that tells a story and helps employees perform.
While microlearning is beneficial and a great addition to an overall corporate IT training strategy, it’s not a replacement. A good overall strategy will help employees grasp technical concepts faster and retain them for longer periods while being able to easily access them for support in the future.
The Benefits of Microlearning in Corporate IT Training
When paired with other training content, microlearning can be highly effective. Yes, it can be effective on its own on occasion but in most cases, it’s supplemental material rather than the primary method of training.
However microlearning fits into your overall corporate IT training strategy, many benefits can be gained. Microlearning is a valuable strategy for corporate IT training and here are some of the benefits that you’ll likely see when it’s done right.
Microlearning is typically extremely flexible. Sometimes employees don’t even need to log into an LMS to access it. In the example of the videos we built for common help desk calls it was easy for employees to access the videos. If they called the help desk anyway then they got a link to the video. There’s no logging in, clicking, or anything for many types of microlearning.
A good example of microlearning and how it’s flexible is contextual help. The goal of contextual help is to provide only what employees need when they need it in an application. That means it’s always a click away when employees click on the help menu.
Even better, contextual help can pop up right when employees are likely to need it. Either that or it’s a descriptive link where employees will see it and can get help. This combined with a video is extremely flexible for how employees can access microlearning and how it can be delivered.
Heck, a podcast can be microlearning and something that could be available during an employee’s commute. Not only that but a podcast could be a great way to combine technical topics with soft skills.
It’s also flexible because the bite-sized format of microlearning makes it more manageable to fit into a busy schedule without feeling overwhelmed.
The bite-sized format of microlearning makes it easier than ever to learn a new skill on the job without a lot of overhead. The more overhead you add into training (open learning management system, find a course, enroll, etc.) the less likely employees are to even use training.
Microlearning breaks topics down into smaller modules that can be easily understood and remembered. That means it’s easier than ever for employees to learn something new and apply it to their jobs quickly.
There’s nothing worse than training that isn’t relevant to your job since relevance is king (or queen) of training. Long training risks going into too many topics that aren’t relevant to everyone taking the training. That means employees will tune out and mist the important pieces of information for them when it’s surrounded by irrelevant content.
With microlearning, employees can choose to focus on the specific skills or topics that are most relevant to their roles. This tailored approach not only saves time but also ensures employees acquire the knowledge and skills they need to excel in their positions.
Because employees can access training content that’s relevant and bit-sized they’re more likely to remember what they learned. Our brains are known for only holding a limited amount of content in our working memory.
That means we forget anything extra extremely quickly. With microlearning, training content can be so short and to the point that it’s almost impossible not to retain the information. Just don’t make it too easy to consume too much content or else the issue of content overload will still occur.
Because microlearning content is typically short and sweet it also is likely a lot cheaper than other forms of training. Of course, it can be just as expensive especially when you start adding up different pieces of microlearning. One training video is relatively affordable but 5 videos can easily rival the cost of one eLearning course.
One form of microlearning that’s extremely affordable is performance support. A handful of job aids and quick reference guides can be just as effective as an eLearning course in some circumstances with a fraction of the cost.
When done with intention and the goal of maximizing value, microlearning is a great way to move the employee performance needle while saving money too.
Just like how self-paced courses are scalable, microlearning is also. So you can offer all the other benefits of microlearning while scaling infinitely with little additional cost. Think about that, you can provide training for all your employees nearly instantly with most forms of microlearning.
This is such a great method of training for large organizations with a lot of employees. Geographically dispersed? No big deal, microlearning can work wonders and is also easier to translate too!
Relevance Is Key
While relevance was also a benefit, it’s also key to successful microlearning content. If you’re creating microlearning content that doesn’t help employees apply their one learned task to their work then it’s as good as useless.
Microlearning is at its best when it’s targeted and is directly applicable to employees’ roles and responsibilities. By focusing on specific skills or topics, microlearning ensures that employees receive the most relevant information without wasting time on irrelevant content.
Microlearning enables employees to keep up with rapid technology changes and is relatively easy for an organization to deploy. Because technology changes so fast and employees need to keep up, microlearning is a valuable way to deliver corporate IT training.
As new technologies emerge, technical microlearning can quickly be developed and deployed to train employees on these advancements. It’s also a great way to create resources that employees can look up at a later time when they need support in their jobs.
The agility of microlearning ensures employees stay up-to-date with the latest technical skills and always have support resources to do their jobs using company tech. That will undoubtedly give the organization a competitive edge in the market.
Some Ways Microlearning Can Be Used In Corporate IT Training
Sprinkled throughout this article we’ve made mention of some of the ways we’ve used microlearning for corporate IT training. I’ll reiterate my favorite use because it can be so effective. That is the short training videos we created on specific hot topics that the help desk got a lot of calls about.
There are a lot more examples, though. I also mentioned contextual help and how that’s a form of microlearning. Combining the hot topic training video method we used with contextual help is another method we’ve used for microlearning for technical topics.
Inside of a custom company application was a help menu which we used a digital adoption platform to deploy. In that help menu was an option to open the help desk chat quickly. The problem is that it was too easy to open chat and people stopped looking for solutions to their problems.
With the contextual help features, we were able to change the in-app help menu that opens the help desk into features that instead offered self-service help for the most common issues. Now employees were less likely to simply open chat because they could easily solve their issue for what they were likely chatting about.
By using microlearning in creative ways with other methods of support help desk calls can easily be reduced by 50% or more. Contextual help combined with a short microlearning video can resolve most employees’ issues quickly and without any other intervention.
Here are some other ways microlearning can be used to make corporate IT training more effective and quicker.
We’ve created many short videos for product updates to both communicate to employees about changes as well as show them how to use new features. Microlearning is an effective way to help employees learn what’s new and how to use new features quickly without taking much of their time.
If an update is small it could even be an email or job aid (or email with a job aid attached) to tell employees about a system update. These forms of microlearning are the perfect way to tell them what’s in it for them and then show them how to take advantage of the new feature.
Product updates in IT are always going to be a thing therefore microlearning is a great way to help navigate digital transformation.
Courses are great for getting new employees up-to-speed or current employees training on a new system, but after that what happens? There’s no way everybody can remember everything they learn in a training session whether eLearning or instructor-led.
Microlearning comes to the rescue when employees need to brush up on a specific skill or maybe they don’t perform it enough to remember. Microlearning can be the perfect method of maximizing performance improvement and employee retention.
It can be used as a refresher, to space learning over time, and as a resource available only when employees need it. Microlearning is the perfect way to reinforce employee skills.
There’s a lot to learn when employees start a new job. It’s like drinking from a fire hose.
For specific topics that are regularly asked over and over again by new employees, microlearning topics could be the perfect solution to have answers available where new hires can look them up.
In IT help desks, many of them have internal knowledge bases to share answers to common questions and this is an example of microlearning. Heck, even a quick reference guide at McDonald’s on how to make the perfect cheeseburger is a form of microlearning.
Just take a step back and look for opportunities to create microlearning that will benefit employee’s performance. That’s when training starts to make a huge impact on performance and earning real value in the organization.
While microlearning has been around for a long time, the term is relatively new. That doesn’t change how impactful it can be for employee’s work. It’s a valuable strategy for corporate IT training too.
Its bite-sized format, flexibility, high relevance, cost-effectiveness, and scalability make it an ideal tool for delivering targeted and relevant training content. No matter what form of microlearning is deemed best for each solution, it can help increase employees’ performance significantly.
Whether you use it for reducing IT help desk calls, sharing product updates and features, reinforcing skills, or helping employees onboard, microlearning offers a versatile solution for meeting the evolving training needs of the corporate world.
It’s the perfect solution to use in addition to more robust training methods and can increase their effectiveness tenfold. When it makes sense microleaning can be the ideal solution for training employees.
We’ve used microlearning in many different forms to increase employee performance. Schedule a free consultation with us and we’d love to discuss how we could help boost your employee’s performance with microlearning or other forms of digital training solutions.