Is micro-learning the answer to an attention-deficit workforce?

by John Hilton30 Nov 2015
From the fun-size Mars Bar to Twenty20 cricket, it seems that things which were once big are becoming increasingly popular as small.

The same can be said, so it seems, for L&D.

In this era of a time-deficient, technologically-obsessed workforce, micro-learning has sprung up as a viable alternative for L&D practitioners.   

Indeed, Tammy Ryder, General Manager of People at Minor DKL Food Group, told L&D Professional that running their e-learning in small modules has multiple benefits for their learners.

“We break things down into small modules, so they might only do half an hour’s worth of training today. Then they can go back onto the station and do their different duties, make coffee and serve customers,” she said.

She added that the modules are often five, 10 or 15 minutes each, so the learners get that sense of accomplishment and progression. 

This is opposed to some e-learning that might be an hour and a half, or a three hour session just to get one section completed, she said.

“That tends to frustrate people, as they are wondering when is it going to end and they don’t feel like they are getting anywhere,” Ryder added.  

Furthermore, training used to be a case of the longer it was, the better it was viewed, said James Law, HR Director at Envato.

“For instance, the thinking was that if something takes a year then it must be important. And MBA’s are a good example of that,” he said.

“I think that now people are not willing to spend time, energy and money on stuff they don’t need.”

He told L&D Professional that micro-learning comes out of the fact that we can access more knowledge, more regularly and therefore we’re a bit more specific about what we want.

“If I want to learn a specific aspect of something I can now do that and then I can do something else, and then I can do something else, and I can build on that piece by piece,” he said.

“That’s opposed to doing an MBA because I want to learn about financial structures or venture capitalism, or whatever it might be."

Meanwhile, Leila Wearing, Director Academie Accor & Talent Development at Accor Hotels recently told L&D Professional that their company are not sending their people out of the business to attend workshops as much as they used to.

These days, Accor Hotels are focusing more on running virtual classrooms which are easily accessible and can be run for just half an hour.