Numbers Don’t Lie: Why Bite-Sized Learning is Better for Your Learners (and You too)
Bite-sized learning or Microlearning. It is the latest buzzword in the eLearning world.
Designers and developers discuss it when they meet around the water cooler. HR and training managers have found ways to implement it in their learning strategies. The top brass of companies is no longer questioning its efficacy.
Day-long PowerPoint training sessions are passé; microlearning is a new (and effective) way to train adult corporate learners. And the sooner your company adopts it, the happier your learners will be. Learner satisfaction, of course, translates into more business for you.
But being the prudent person that you are, you will want to see “the numbers” before you decide to board the bus. So here are the numbers:
1. Microlearning makes the transfer of learning 17% more efficient.
According to the Journal of Applied Psychology, learning in bite-sized pieces makes the transfer of learning from the classroom to the desk 17% more efficient. A 2002 study conducted by the BBC also corroborates this finding. Here’s why microlearning is more efficient than traditional longer-duration courses:
- When bite-sized learning content is easily and readily accessible, learners can take it at their own pace, wherever they are, and most importantly, when they are “ready.”
- Because bite-sized courses are more focused, learners don’t have to clutter their memories with irrelevant information. This makes retention easier.
- Learners have to digest only small chunks of information. This makes comprehension easier without spending too much effort.
- Because microlearning content addresses only 1-2 learning objectives, courses, on an average, yield 4-5 learned takeaways.
2. 8 out of 10 L&D professionals favor microlearning because their learners prefer it.
According to the findings of a survey on Learning and Development professionals, a whopping 94% said that they prefer microlearning to traditional time-consuming eLearning courses because their learners prefer it (Boyette, 2012). The C-suite too has realized the efficacy of microlearning in addressing the needs of Millennial learners. Read about this experiment to gauge learner preferences.
Millennial learners demand that training is
- Customized to their needs
Microlearning fits the bill perfectly.
3. Microlearning creates 50% more engagement.
Learner disengagement and boredom kill the chances of success in an eLearning program. Microlearning is the solution, as the learners themselves have pointed it out.
According to a report by Software Advice, The LMS Features that Drive Employee Engagement IndustryView, more the 50% of the 385 employees who took part in a survey indicated that they would use their company’s learning tools more if the courses are shorter. According to them, longer courses are not only more challenging to digest and retain but taking them also gets in the way of their daily work.
Tip: Create your bite-sized courses to resemble social media content—on-demand, engaging, and media-rich.
4. Learning in stretches of 3-7 minutes matches the working memory capacity and attention spans of humans.
The human brain is not wired to maintain focus for hours on end. It learns better when the content is delivered in short bursts with the courses well spaced out to help cement the learning. Repetition also aids retention. Microlearning is well-suited to this delivery format.
Microlearning is the need of the hour more so because of the way the average Millennial learner functions in his daily life. Here’s what a study carried out by the University of California-Irvine has found:
- Your employee works on a task for about 11 minutes before he is interrupted by a ring or ding of the phone, a popping email, or his co-worker who has come up to his desk.
- Within that span of 11 minutes, he engages in multiple short and quick tasks that average about 3 minutes each.
- If the task involves consuming digital information, he spends just 20 seconds browsing one piece of content before he clicks or flicks through to the next.
The average learner cannot retain focus for long and has become accustomed to consuming short pieces of content in shorter bursts of time.
Recommended resource: Microlearning infographic by Grovo.
5. Microlearning courses can be produced in 300% percent less time and 50% less cost than traditional courses.
According to learning architect Ray Jimenez, bite-sized learning courses can be produced faster and at less cost than traditional courses. Here’s why:
- There’s no need to pay for the instructor’s time, buy or rent physical classrooms and pay for the utilities, and spend money on classroom equipment.
- It is easier and less time- and resource-intensive to update digital information than reprint training manuals and conduct supplementary classroom training sessions.
- It is easier and less time-consuming to roll out microlearning courses because they are modular in nature.
Here are some more benefits of adopting microlearning.
It is hard not to be convinced by these numbers. Adopting microlearning creates a win-win situation for both you and the learners. It is not late to go small now.
Jimenez, Ray. Ph.D "3-Minute e-Learning" 2006.