How to Develop Microlearning in the Workplace
Everyone can benefit from more training—but how do you fit it into your sales team’s busy work schedule when there’s limited time for coaching? The answer might be simpler than you think. It’s called microlearning, and it’s proven to work. In fact, according to the Journal of Applied Psychology, absorbing information in “bite-sized” portions—where the “micro” in microlearning comes in—makes the transfer of knowledge 17% more efficient.
What is Microlearning
Microlearning is a teaching method that utilizes short bursts of information over a longer period of time. Microlearning is thought to increase long-term comprehension, with short, repetitive exposure to new information. Microlearning is short, to the point, and easily digestible. Often, people utilize short videos or quick training modules that allow for fast, teachable moments.
When you onboard a new employee, they often need macro-learning so that they can get all the information they need to get started on their job. But later, when they need more development or reminders on how to do things, microlearning works best! Plus it doesn’t take up quite as much of their time as a long training session or a standard learning course.
Why Microlearning: The Benefits of Microlearning
With microlearning, teams are able to use minimal employee time while gradually helping them to further develop skills necessary for job improvement. Studies have shown that taking in smaller slices of content at a time allows for better retention and performance.
Exposing learners to longer content types all at once doesn’t allow for the same interaction between those learning and the new information being received. Because of this, it’s easy to forget parts of the information while retaining other portions. Microlearning, however, allows for a high level of interaction with learning material, and leads to better (and longer lasting) absorption of shared information.
How to Develop Microlearning
To develop microlearning at your organization or within specific teams, look at how your training and coaching initiatives currently run, and first see how you might be able to break it up into smaller chunks. Oftentimes, you can take any existing training materials and simply break them up into shorter sections to convert them into microlearning courses.
If you have standing coaching meetings, think about sending out small question and answer sheets to challenge your reps to small bouts of research. For example, if you utilize a sales coaching solution like Ambition, you can set up the software to automatically send out a short quiz about how to approach difficult sales and ask your reps to answer all questions before the scheduled meeting. You could also send them short videos to watch prior to meetings. Videos of about 3 minutes or less are ideal for microlearning, allowing your sales reps to take a brain break and absorb some new info at the same time. Whatever you decide to do, keep it consistent and tailor it to your team’s individual needs.
Employing short, interactive learning challenges keeps your sales reps engaged in the content and allows them to learn on their own. Each microlearning module should take no more than 5 of your sales rep’s time! So you can be sure they’ll be able to pick up some new skills while keeping the work flowing and the sales closing.
How to Use Microlearning
You can use microlearning for everything from career development to teaching a team member how to use a specific tool. Great uses for microlearning include:
Reminding a team member of specific job functions
Reinforce larger coaching initiatives
Practice or improve under utilized skill sets
Demonstrate how to use a particular tool or software
Support performance initiatives and growth opportunities
Again, it’s not ideal to use microlearning for onboarding or training someone on a new job. That requires longer bouts of information delivered more quickly. But after someone has been successfully integrated into the team, you might utilize microlearning to support what they learned during onboarding to ensure that they continue to have all the information they need to do their job effectively and autonomously.
Types of Microlearning
There are various types of microlearning mediums you can employ to give your team short bursts of all the information they need. A lot of these content types can be easily recycled or repurposed, too! So that you can use them for multiple team members or even different teams.
We already mentioned one of the most popular microlearning content types: video! Usually microlearning videos are about 3 minutes or less in length, and they focus on one topic at a time. You can break up longer videos into short segments to meet the needs of microlearning initiatives, or you can create shorter video content specifically for the purpose of microlearning.
Most infographics are great examples of microlearning material! They allow viewers to quickly take in information utilizing clear visuals, statistics, and small snippets of written information. Another great benefit of infographics is that they are easy to glance at and revisit when necessary. So learners are able to save them and keep them on hand for easy reference.
PDFs don’t just make helpful guides for customers and prospects—they also make for great microlearning material for your sales team! Even better if it’s an interactive PDF that allows for more engagement between the information and the learner. Just remember, if you utilize PDFs for microlearning, keep them short and sweet. If your PDF starts to get too wordy, it’s not conducive to microlearning.
Microlearning eBooks and Flipbooks
You can put together short eBooks, flipbooks, or even presentations for microlearning, just make sure that the information is quick and to the point. These mediums are great for delivering timely topics, and you can easily make them pretty interactive and visual for better engagement.
If you’re already employing sales gamification at your company (or you’re considering starting to use it), you can utilize mini games as microlearning to teach sales skills to your team. These games can be small face-off challenges between reps, a quick game of sales bingo, or really any small contests or competitions that are intended for targeted learning outcomes.
You can challenge your team with short quizzes to get them thinking about specific topics or check their memory on certain job functions. These quizzes could even be part of your coaching initiatives! You could create a little quiz for before, or after, 1:1 coaching sessions with your reps to test comprehension and create a touchpoint for interacting with information.