Training is crucial to every company, but how beneficial is training when learners don’t retain the information? Most learners walk away with only 10 percent knowledge gained, meaning they retain only 10 percent of the information that was shared with them. “In fact, the forgetting curve shows that people forget 50 to 80 percent of what they learn after one day and 97 to 98 percent after a month.”[i] Organizations train their employees on many topics that are complex and intense. With those two factors in play, learner’s knowledge quickly diminishes. There are multiple ways to enhance learner retention, but one that is becoming more and more favored is microlearning. Below are three reasons why microlearning is critical to learning reinforcement and ensuring that training results are better retained.
Microlearning Reduces Mental Load
Most training requires the learners’ attention for a significant amount of time, and their brains are inundated with lots of information that merits retention. “The greater the cognitive load, the greater the chances of the learner forgetting it.”[ii] Microlearning takes the content from a training session and chunks it into mini-modules, usually 1-10 minutes in length. Each module focuses on a specific point in the course that the learner can use to refresh their memory. Learners can easily process the information when it’s broken down into smaller sections. Researchers argue that it’s even best to deliver the microlearning modules at certain intervals after the training. More specifically, two days, 14 days and then again at 60 days to really maximize retention.[iii]
Microlearning Enables a Blended Learning Approach
Blended learning has become such a desirable way for organizations to train their employees, and eLearning or microlearning is the perfect addition. However, sometimes microlearning is not enough to cover the topic. Microlearning modules can allow for pauses in the training to allow practice time. They can be used for on-the-job training references. Organizations have used microlearning in conjunction with instructor-led training or virtual instructor-led training to ensure mastery of skills. With the small bits of learning it’s easier for a learner to take the microlearning module, and then practice the skills taught. Best of, they will retain more information.
Microlearning Increases Engagement
Microlearning has been known to increase engagement by 50%.[iv] When a learner is not engaged they are not likely to retain information taught in a course. Shortening the course length or breaking it into chunks and creating microlearning modules has proven to grab attention, and has become the preferred learning approach by employees. On top of that, employees favor the shortened course as it gives them back valuable time during their day. Employees are much more focused and engaged if they aren’t stressed about time or thinking about other projects.
Research from learning architect Ray Jimenez shows that “microlearning courses can be produced in 300% less time and at 50% less cost than traditional courses.”[v] Administrators can easily update modules and re-send them to learners, unlike a printed reference guide that takes time and resources. Saving valuable time and money, while supporting learner retention, is a win-win and a clear choice for learning reinforcement.