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Managing Microlearning in the Workplace: How Companies are Changing the Game

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The average attention span has decreased from 12 seconds to 8 seconds since 2000, which can present a major challenge when it comes to engaging employees in learning. Traditional handbooks, manuals and extensive training sessions may no longer align with employee mindsets, but microlearning does.

Microlearning consists of short, focused training that runs 2 to 6 minutes in length. Rather than trying to cover a huge span of information, microlearning homes in on specific action-oriented behaviors or takeaways employees need to retain from each session. Employees are typically able to access sessions as desired or needed on any type of device, with the ability to review or repeat them at any given time.

Microlearning Styles

Microlearning is available in a wide scope of options, letting companies select the style that works best with their employees and culture. Microlearning styles include:

  • Infographics, which visually summarize key points for higher retention and recall rates. Interactive infographics allow you to layer additional information to create short learning guides.
  • E-books and flipbooks provide visual appeal and interaction, with or without audio and video to heighten the impact.
  • Videos are a highly popular microlearning style effective on their own or as part of a series. Explainer videos outline a specific concept in a highly focused manner, while expert videos provide short doses of advice and insight. Interactive videos allow user participation for enhanced engagement.
  • Webcasts, podcasts, reviews and PDFs offer on-demand learning opportunities users can access when they need a quick refresher right before a task or on a regular basis.
  • Gamification provides microlearning through questions and challenges for which workers receive points and scores.

Microlearning for Promoting a Culture of Safety

As one of the largest distribution networks for millions of products across the world, Walmart wanted a way to decrease the risk of accidents and injuries while promoting a culture of safety. It turned to a microlearning platform that uses gamification.

The voluntary participation rate for the platform averages 91 percent, and the company has seen a 54 percent reduction in recordable distribution center safety incidents as well as a 15 percent rise in employee safety knowledge.

Microlearning Comprehensive Employee Training

The home décor retailer At Home likewise increased employee safety with microlearning, while also using it for compliance, onboarding, leadership and other training needs. The company has since seen a 36 percent decrease in safety incidents and a 90 percent decrease in onboarding time for new employees.

Microlearning for Onboarding

With more than 100 newspapers under its control, Berkshire Hathaway Media Group needed an effective means of offering onboard training to the sales teams for its more than 100 newspaper across the nation. Microlearning provided it, along with a 98 percent satisfaction rate from participating employees who said the content was both useful and immediately applicable to their daily work.

 Why Microlearning Works

Convenient, fast and aligned with today’s microscopic attention span, microlearning is producing notable results across a variety of industries. Not only are employees highly satisfied with the easy, engaging manner of learning, but management and executives are highly satisfied with its effect on the company’s bottom line.