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How Can You Use Microlearning To Increase Employee Engagement And Performance?

September 20, 2016 | By Asha Pandey

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To achieve high employee engagement and performance gain, your training must be precise, and easy to assimilate and apply on the job. In this article, I will outline how microlearning can be used for formal training and performance support to achieve higher employee engagement and performance.

Increasing Employee Engagement And Performance With Microlearning

In this article we will discuss how to increase employee engagement and performance through the use of microlearning techniques. But first…

What Are Some Of The Challenges That Learning And Development Professionals Face?

1. Pressure On Training Budgets.

This is a challenge we all are familiar with. With variables in the global economy, there is an increased pressure on training budgets. This leads to an increased need to maximize the impact of the budgets you get.

2. Demonstrate Impact On Business And Positive ROI On Training.

Budgets are hard to come by and when they do get allotted, they come with the related commandment – “Thy shall make the most of these and generate the required ROI”. It’s a double whammy that Learning and Development professionals are up against so often – obtain budgets and then make sure that every penny spent results in a better return on investment for the organization.

3. Dwindling Attention Spans.

Employee engagement and performance has a lot to do with employee attentiveness. Organizations today face the challenge of capturing and retaining the attention of employees. The short attention spans of employees notwithstanding, there are distractions at work too adding to the trouble. The spoilers come in many forms – untimely interruptions, information overload, social media activity, and so on. Organizations are therefore under pressure to address this challenge and deliver their trainings in formats that can capture employees’ attention and keep them engaged throughout.

4. Increasing Millennial Workforce And The Challenge Of “One Size Does Not Fit All”.

Times are changing and so is the learner profile. Millennials are becoming a significant part of the workforce in several organizations. This learner group in particular has a short attention span and traditional learning methods do not quite resonate well with these learners. Their preferences and expectations are different. With this learner group coming into the picture, there is a consensus growing in the learning industry of an overhaul of learning strategies and the need to design learning approaches that appeal to them.

5. Innovative Approaches – Quick To Deploy And Update.

To bring about higher learner engagement, Learning and Development professionals need to keep investing in training approaches that are not only innovative, but quickly deployable. Also, the solutions should offer the flexibility of quick updates.

What Do Learners Want?

The wish list from learners is:

  1. Flexibility to learn on the go (trainings must run on their smartphones and tablets).
  2. Must be fun (not preachy or boring).
  3. Must be short and effective.
  4. Must be packaged for easy application on the job.

What Do Organizations Want?

Many of us may be familiar with the exponential nature of forgetting. As shown in this diagram featuring the “Forgetting Curve” (by Hermann Ebbinghaus), adult learners forget 80% of what they learned in 30 days!

EI Design Forgetting curve

Organizations look to implement approaches that can flip this Forgetting curve to a Retention curve (that is, increase stickiness of learning and improve its application). They need a learning strategy that can increase both employee engagement and performance.

So What’s The Solution?

One of the approaches you can use is microlearning-based training. With microlearning, you can create a sticky learning experience, which goes a long way in turning the “Forgetting Curve” to a “Retention Curve”. You can achieve this by offering microlearning nuggets:

  1. As a supplement to the formal training (to reinforce the primary information).
  2. In the form of Performance Support Tools (PSTs) as an extension of formal training.
  3. To bring about behavioral change (leading to a transformational gain).

Here are further insights to help you understand its strength and how you can use it to increase employee engagement and performance:

What Is Microlearning?

Microlearning is often referred to as bite-sized learning. It is a short learning nugget (3 to 5 minutes long or shorter) designed to meet a specific learning outcome. While it can be used for formal training, it is majorly used in informal learning (with a focus on performance gain).

Microlearning nuggets are designed for and delivered in rich media formats. Their brevity and accessibility on multiple devices (including smartphones, tablets, desktops, and laptops) makes them an ideal fit for just-in-time training.

How Can It Be Delivered?

You can take a pick from several innovative formats. All of these are multi-device formats (supported on desktops/laptops as well as tablets and smartphones). Some of the popular formats are:

  1. Mobile apps for learning and assessment.
  2. Videos.
  3. Interactive videos.
  4. Whiteboard animations.
  5. Kinetic text based animations.
  6. Interactive PDFs.

Where Can It Be Applied?

You can use microlearning for formal training as well as for Performance Support (learning aids/job aids that are within the learners’ work-flow and facilitate easy application of this learning on the job). We have created microlearning nuggets for varied training needs such as:

  1. Soft skills/behavioral change.
  2. Compliance.
  3. Professional skills.
  4. Application simulations.

I am sharing 5 examples on how you can use microlearning. Going through these examples isn’t going to take much of your time because they’re being shown as a microlearning nugget (told you, they’re brief and to-the-point!). View it and see how you can use similar nuggets to increase learner engagement and performance.

Gains for the organization: Organizations have a lot to gain by adopting microlearning-based approaches. Apart from increasing employee engagement and performance, microlearning:

  1. Can be developed and deployed quickly. It also provides the flexibility to make frequent updates and make them easily.
  2. Can be used for formal as well as informal learning.
  3. Helps organizations achieve higher learner completion rates.
  4. Not only creates high impact learning but also results in better application of that learning on-the-job.
  5. Combats the challenge of dwindling attention spans.
  6. Is ideal for the millennial workforce.

Besides being short, fun, available to learners on-the-go, easy to internalize and apply; microlearning based training can be applied easily to most of your training needs. I hope this article provides the cues on how you can use microlearning-based training to increase employee engagement and performance. Check out our award-winning solutions and approaches to enhance the impact of your corporate training by booking a free demo/consultation, or you can write to me directly at apandey@eidesign.net.

For more insights on microlearning-based training, you can go through my articles

You can also refer to my eBook Why You Should Adopt Microlearning Based Training.


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