How microlearning can help you skill up fast

Microlearning is one of the best and most effective ways to skill up fast in 2021. The microlearning approach is a learning strategy that emphasizes focus on one new skill at a time, allowing you to gain clarity while acquiring specific knowledge.

Especially effective in today’s busy, fast-paced society, microlearning means you’ll learn the most essential parts of a skill in a short amount of time without losing focus.

In fact, a study from the University of Applied Sciences in Germany showed that microlearning is actually 17% more effective for gaining knowledge than typical training or classes.

The name ‘microlearning’ says it all: micro means small or tiny, and when you apply that to acquiring knowledge, you can quickly absorb bite-size or small chunks of key info in less time for a better learning outcome. Read on to find out why — and how — it works.

1. Small, digestible chunks equal faster, interactive learning

Smaller things are easier to digest, both literally and figuratively. When you focus on just one small skill, task, or piece of information in short bursts, it’s easy to absorb and retain the info. This allows you to gain knowledge at a faster rate, going in small, easily retained nuggets. This style of obtaining knowledge can greatly appeal to the learning needs of most people, regardless of your learning style.

Microlearning ‘courses’ can be as short as just 3-5 minutes, or as long as 15. They can range from live presentations, video courses, audio bursts, or app interaction. Take Blinkist, for example. This app offers learners short and concise podcasts, book summaries, and other manageable content ideal for those who really only have time for the cliff notes version of things.

2. Learn important soft skills with a microlearning platform

Soft skills often fall to the wayside in today’s world. When hiring, you may forget that you not only need employees who are skilled in their field of work, but also have soft skills like advanced communication, problem-solving, or can be team players. Likewise, if you’re vying for a job, you may forget how much these skills actually matter.

In some cases, soft skills are just as important as knowing how to enter data into a CRM or design a website. And a microlearning strategy is especially apt for teaching these skills.

Let’s take leadership, for example. Offering a brief, focused session to your team about how they can be efficient leaders will not only pique their interest (most people want to advance within their company), but the concept of learning a practical skill that can benefit them in all aspects of life will grab their attention. Short sessions improve the learning experience and ensure they retain the info. And voilà, you’ll have a whole new team of budding leaders on your hands.

3. Microlearning jives with today’s modern learners

It’s no secret that most professionals this day in age are busy — probably way too busy. The thought of a full-day formal training session or corporate training course is not what a businessperson wants to do. They’ll likely check out mentally, try to do work on their phone, and lose many of the concepts taught.

Effective microlearning fixes this — and it’s not just for millennials. Most people can squeeze in a short 10-minute session that focuses on just one key skill for a condensed learning experience without getting distracted or bored.

Professionals of all ages and learning styles are more likely to pay closer attention in real-time, find the information appealing, and retain it if they know it’s just a bite-sized amount of knowledge.

Excellent examples of this are language learning apps. Duolingo’s daily lessons are just five minutes long, making it easy for a busy, modern millennial to hop on their phone and get a quick dose of Italian or Spanish language learning each day.

4. Retention improves when information is focused

Microlearning content is based on simple logic. If you’re learning just one thing, your mind is much more apt to remember it. If you’re learning 20 new things, you may forget one (or many, and your attention span will wander. Jumping from topic to topic districts learners and the effort to remember constantly changing info is often moot.

According to the forgetting curve, we constantly lose information over time, but a more focused learning objective can help retain concepts.

Video microlearning is an easy way to ensure a short course stays focused and on track. A short, 5-minute video on a topic such as scheduling social media posts, or how to read a feature of Google Analytics is not only visually stimulating thanks to the video itself, but keeping the focus to just one skill ensures learners retain this information.

5. More directed focus points help learners meet goals and solve problems

Sometimes, important information is diluted and mixed in with so much other information, the key skills or points are lost. With microlearning, the focus is always on one thing, making it not only easier for learners to pick it up quickly, but also easier for them to retain and apply this acquired knowledge to problem-solving or to meet goals.

If you’re creating a microlearning course for a team or group, consider the problems that need to be solved or the goals that need to be met. Focus on that exact solution — that’s the skill or information you’ll be teaching. Microlearning can be especially effective when timed just right. For example, the right time to remind or offer new tips on cybersecurity for your team may be after a hack or breach, when learners can see that info they’re being reminded of or taught can solve (or prevent) a future problem.

Research shows that microlearning allows companies to teach employees certain skills faster and helps cut costs, too. Many elearning courses work best with microlearning, so if you’re looking for a virtual way to teach or learn a skill, an elearning, microlearning session is just the thing. Using an elearning program like iSpring Learn is ideal if you need to hold short microlearning sessions for a team, group, or company.

6. When you’re mentally stimulated, you’re excited — and this leads to faster learning

Mental stimulation often occurs when you’re extra focused. When you’re focused and very into what you’re learning, you’re excited. When you’re enjoying yourself or like the topic you’re learning about, you’re more likely to learn faster and truly absorb the information.

Microlearning also reduces the possibility of mental fatigue, that brain fog you feel when you just can’t seem to focus or absorb any more information. Again, when your brain is stimulated, but not overly stimulated by excessive information, it’s easier to maintain clarity.

Spacing out small lessons helps your mind overcome possible brain fog. In fact, a study by Research Gate showed that microlearning is one of the best ways to overcome cognitive fatigue and retain information.

Bottom line

The concept of microlearning may seem almost too simple, but that’s why it works so well. Human brains are complicated, but also basic in the fact that focusing on just one skill or task increases retention. If you’re looking to skill up fast, microlearning is the way to go.

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