Microlearning: A Critical Component for Upskilling Programs

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The adoption of new technologies, automation, and growing job role complexities are forcing companies to adopt a re-training mindset to keep employees effective and productive. At the same time, organizations are realizing the benefits of upskilling as a strategy to help them remain flexible and agile in a shifting business environment. In a post-COVID-19 world, this need has become even more urgent. In the wake of digital transformation and during a time of global talent shortages, upskilling is becoming a winning solution for dealing with a precarious future. Upskilling can provide employees with new skills to prepare them for upcoming challenges. Organizations can nurture potential talent for future leadership opportunities.

  • 91% of companies say upskilling has boosted productivity [source]
  • 69% of organizations are building more skills now than pre-COVID-19 [source]

With the transition of many teams to digital environments, the ability to train and work in a virtual environment has become a new hurdle. We’re seeing a significant shift towards virtual training and onboarding as well as virtual or remote upskilling programs. We’re also seeing a significant need to deliver effective training that truly addresses the needs of learners and helps them build trust and engagement with upskilling programs.

The time has arrived! We’re living in a time when learning technology has evolved to the point where it can supercharge virtual learning programs to address both the needs of learners and the businesses that support them.

The Need for Upskilling

Did you know that 60% of employees believe their current skill set will be outdated in the next 3–5 years? Many employees are in dire need of learning new technologies to remain competitive in their specific job roles. The same pressure is felt by new employees, including Gen Z workers and millennials who expect to require reskilling throughout their entire careers. In fact, when searching for a new job, Gen Z prioritizes growth opportunities and professional development as the number one factor when it comes to choosing an employer.

It’s not a secret that the new workforce generation expects more opportunity for advancement in their long-term career journey. They’re looking for transferable skills that can support their personal and professional growth and development. In other words, they’re eager to upskill and are ready for their organization to provide it.

Microlearning Addresses the Needs of Learners

If engagement is the main problem in delivering high-impact learning programs, then microlearning is the tip of the spear. Learning should be engaging, relevant, accessible, and in a word—easy. It should feel less like a monumental task and more like an exciting experience that opens the learner up to new ideas and concepts. Learners should be able to understand how learning can add value to their jobs, lives and potential. When true knowledge transfer occurs, learners never ask “what’s in it for me.” They simply feel empowered, enriched, and engaged.

Microlearning leverages innovative learning technologies such as learning management systems (LMS) and a variety of other highly engaging tools. Let’s take a look at a few examples of the different types of engagement modalities that can leverage microlearning to propel learners through their journey.

Games and gamification. The key to engaging with learners is often to find exciting and fun ways to make otherwise boring material. When you encourage learners to play a game in order to learn key concepts or lessons, you’re accessing the competitive and playful side of learning. Give your learners something to do; something to risk and lose; something to interact with. Allow them to fail safely and then ultimately succeed. Interactivity and stakes are what makes games so addictive. Why not leverage this understanding of cognitive development to transfer knowledge while this is going on?

Videos and animations. According to Forrester Research, employees are 75% more likely to watch a video than read text. Armed with this knowledge, instructional designers can build video into microlearning modules to provide a one-two punch of information transfer: short and fun, video over text. Narrative, storytelling videos that demonstrate authentic workplace scenarios and people are extremely effective at building soft skills and changing behavior. Explainer, motion graphic videos or live action videos can add life to otherwise static and boring content.

Virtual reality and augmented reality. There are many examples of how VR and AR can be used to supercharge learning with immersive experiences, but we’ll examine a few that leverage microlearning. When you consider that employees may require immediate information, just-in-time learning is key to helping them do their job tasks efficiently. AR can be used to display product information or convey live instructions so learners can integrate knowledge while on the job. VR is a great way to deliver highly engaging learning experiences where employees can practice and repeat for optimal retention. When delivered through microlearning, employees can go through a quick VR experience which doesn’t require a huge time commitment.

As your teams return to in-office work or a hybridized approach, consider the steps towards evolving your learning and development to address the learning needs of your audience. Talk to us to learn more about the many innovative learning technologies available that can significantly impact learning engagement and learning outcomes. Together we can build an upskilling strategy to help you identify skills gaps and help you support your employees through their career journey.

About CoreAxis

CoreAxis is a business performance consulting company that offers training solutions to businesses in a variety of industries, such as financial, life sciences, retail and technology. Each of these solutions can be fully customized to meet the needs of the individual client. We build collaborative relationships, becoming a trusted resource and ensuring our clients’ organizational success.

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