By now you probably know that micro-learning techniques can help overcome the ever-shortening attention span of our workforce, and increase absorption and retention of the material. Gone are the days of hour-long training videos, courses that cover a dozen competencies at once, and learners sitting at the computer for hours on end. With its minimalist focus on course length and competencies covered, micro-learning is quickly solving several historical challenges of e-learning.
But there are two additional benefits of micro-learning that might not be so obvious. And, they could have an even more significant impact on the effectiveness of your training programs and on the success of your employees.
Micro-learning Promotes Blended Learning
At DiscoverLink, we have always promoted the idea that e-learning should be part of a blended learning approach, meaning that content covered in e-courses should be quickly put into practice or enhanced by on-the-job trainers. We know that e-learning by itself is not sufficient to meet all of the training requirements in a hospitality environment. So as we develop new courses, we always consider that there is a point when the learner needs to stop absorbing information and begin to apply it in order to retain the knowledge long term.
Micro-learning promotes blended learning by allowing for practice time between courses, also known as the “learning-then-doing” approach. It enables just-in-time training, where learning occurs just before the point of need. The skills an employee needs to know on Day 1 are likely to be a very small subset of the skills they need to know on Day 30. By focusing on only the new skills they need to know to be successful each day, you can avoid the scenario where a new hires are bombarded with hours upon hours of e-learning on their first day, and end up retaining only a fraction of it, or worse, quit out of frustration. Micro-learning is a perfect solution because you can add a few skills each day, allowing for practical application of the learning after each lesson. Not only does this approach improve retention, but it also helps the learner master the skills more quickly and, thus, become shift-ready sooner.
One of our early forays into micro-learning was at the request of a client who asked us to build 22 very specific, short courses that provided their skilled employees with advanced material to be taken over time. To achieve mastery of certain tasks, the employee was required to take one of the short courses and then work on a series of action items to master it – in other words, learning, then doing. The response to this approach was overwhelmingly positive. Employees thought the skills were easy to master individually, and the company benefitted by taking their employees to the advanced level more quickly.
Micro-learning Enables Continuous Development
As we went on to develop shorter courses for our clients and for our Content Library, we saw additional benefits in the micro-learning approach. For example, micro-learning programs can be used as part of a development process or as eligibility criteria for promotion. Instead of waiting to be promoted before starting training for the position, micro-learning can be an effective way to lead up to a promotion. This not only provides career paths for top performers, but it also means the newly-promoted person is ready to hit the ground running on Day 1.
With access to small bursts of information on specific topics, high performers can start learning their next position in short stints before they are promoted. Micro-courses take just a few minutes to complete and are easy to fit into even the busiest of schedules. Employees who don’t get excited or motivated by these quick learning opportunities may not take the initiative to complete the entire program (and you probably don’t want to promote these employees anyway). However, those who do complete the programs enthusiastically are your high potential performers who want the new position and are willing to do the work! Completing any of the micro-learning assets will benefit an advanced employee, but mastering all of them shows you who may be best suited to be promoted.
So What Are You Waiting For?
With clear advantages like better retention, faster time-to-competency, promotion of blended learning, and continuous development, now is the time to take the leap into micro-learning, if you haven’t already done so.
If you’re not sure how to get started, here’s an easy way: DiscoverLink has just introduced its first end-to-end micro-learning program, called Train the Trainer. This progressive development program focuses on each of the six key competencies required for a high performing employee to become a trainer. Its modular design lets you choose specific elements to fit into your own program or you can use the whole program as is.
Whatever you do, take steps today to start transitioning your long, old-style training programs to micro-learning assets. Your employees will thank you and so will your operators.