Millennials have grown up with devices, they are comfortable with them, and they demand that they deliver very quickly. This new rapid demand and rapid delivery, it is said, is the major cause of the human attention span decreasing by 4 seconds since 2000 – to an average of 8 seconds, according to a recent Microsoft study.
Traditional teaching and learning is phasing itself out. Even some people in the education industry are finding some sympathy with this belief. Moving current institutions to newer learning will be slow, however, even with technology in the classroom. But business is not restricted by the bureaucracy of education, and it ought to jump on new technology and newer learning methodologies – specifically micro-learning.
Team members are no different in their desire and need for information. More and more they see long training sessions, workshops, and huge manuals to read as an outdated and tedious practice. What they want is short spurts of learning in bite-sized chunks that they can engage in on their own time. They are not opposed to training and new learning – they just want more control about how and when they do it. Employers need to respond to these needs and know that technology can meet them. Micro-learning is cheaper, more efficient, and ultimately, more effective. Here are some ideas for using on-line microlearning:
Employees are not children. Forcing them to sit through sessions where manuals must be read and that reading is monitored looks and sounds like primary school. With micro-learning each section of a manual can be designed into an engaging module or Modlette using video or voice enhanced slide-share. A series of multi-choice questions can monitor what learning has taken place. And this learning can take place at any venue where internet is available.
A new piece of equipment has been introduced that will be utilised by several employees. Each employee can schedule his or her own time and access the training module while actually using that piece of equipment. Faster and more efficient; and any new employee who joins the team can train himself without taking the time of another employee.
Micro-learning encourages people to learn using short chunks of learning in ways that are engaging and often interactive, if the modules are developed well. Giving the learner autonomy empowers them and provides a sense of trust and responsibility.
Remember how members of your team get their information outside of work. They get it in small chunks. They watch a video, access an Instagram or Facebook post; they search a Trade-me site, they check their emails many times a day, along with their social media accounts. Everything comes into the brain quickly, and it comes in small pieces. Tech users’ brains are trained to focus for short periods of time, absorb quickly and move on to the next bit of information or entertainment.
Businesses need to take advantage of this. The cost is the development of the Modlettes. No down-time while large numbers of employees sit in boring seminars, where they tune out quickly and move to their own devices.
Admittedly, not all employee training can be through micro-learning, but much of it can, so employees can be empowered to train/educate themselves.