Creating Learning Experiences at Work, and the Pivotal Role of Microlearning

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How often have we attended in-depth, all-day training programs and yet have faced stumble
blocks during implementation at work? Or how often have we tried to rejig our memory to extract
the crucial piece of information and complete our tasks and responsibilities effectively? Sounds
familiar? This happens to more employees than you can imagine. It is for this very reason that
L&D gurus are steadfast in introducing “learning experiences” at the workplace.

What does “learning experience” mean?

In view of the highlighted situation and the concept of the “forgetting curve,” together with employees’ diverse learning styles and capabilities, organizations are pushing for more meaningful L&D at the workplace. In a broad sense, learning experiences constitute a combination of traditional training methods/interactions and modern practices of emphasis, recall, and alignment to specific objectives. Together, such practices provide holistic L&D and have the greatest probability of achieving the desired learning outcomes.
Experts have even simplified the definition of creating learning experiences by working backward. What are the desired outcomes, and how can we assist the employee in getting to that stage? What are the training yardsticks to put in place, to ensure that they are using the training and knowledge to perform to the best of their abilities?

In the present hyper-connected world, it is imperative to establish links so that the learner is constantly in touch with learning material and resources. Such a broad perspective of L&D narrows down to creating learning moments in the flow of work all day, every day. And delivering a rich, high-impact, and modern learning experience contributes to employee engagement, retention, application, performance, and beyond. Such benefits are the very core of organizational L&D, and it is for all these benefits that make “learning experiences” a top, strategic priority.

Learning Experience and eLearning

Since 2020, organizational L&D has undergone a sea of transformation. During the pre-pandemic years, traditional long-form training was the active methodology. And after the training program when it came down to actual implementation, learners were very apprehensive due to the lack of confidence. They managed through formal and informal methods – bumping into a colleague and getting a quick assist, collaborating with peers, or at times reaching out to mentors and leaders to get over the speed bump. In most cases, solutions were stopgap fixes to get the task done. Today, with remote work and hybrid work cultures, even such possibilities are limited. Organizations are looking to address this head-on with meaningful learning experiences and believe eLearning can contribute to the cause. Access to training material, byte-size information, single-objective learning modules, digital multi-format resources, social collaborative platforms, etc. today promises a world of opportunities that is a win-win situation for all stakeholders. At this point, it is important to take note that deploying an ultra-modern learning experience is not the destination to aspire to. Deploying learning experiences should be a driver for growth, stability, and establishing a healthy culture of continuous learning.

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Excerpts from a report “How the Workforce Learns” are an indicator of how employees prefer training and L&D:
49% of employees prefer to learn at the point of need
58% of employees prefer to learn at their own pace
68% of employees prefer to learn at work

These statistics go on to show that a simple classroom approach is out of alignment with how people want to learn. It is becoming increasingly critical for organizations to establish a diverse L&D ecosystem to enable employees to make learning a practice and a continuous process. One of the core elements of this L&D ecosystem is going digital or establishing a sound eLearning curriculum.

While we have thus far established the need for and importance of deploying learning experiences for the workforce, the remainder of this blog will focus on training strategies that will assist the cause. Which methodology and tools are best suited? How does it stack against one another? Additionally, let us explore the concept of learning experiences through its merits.

  1. Classroom Learning: In-person training has traditionally been favorable to all stakeholders for the direct lines of communication it fosters. While new concepts and topics can be best introduced in such a forum, it does not warrant creating continuous learning experiences. It certainly does not provide learning opportunities critically in the flow of work to employees.
  2. Self-paced Learning: Although this style of learning has many takers due to the flexibility it offers, it does not tick all the boxes when it comes to desired learning outcomes. While organizations have tried to improvise by establishing mentors and guides, it lacks a comprehensive approach to learning. It poses challenges associated with measuring training or ascertaining the success of the training program. While eLearning fetches greater training engagement metrics, the long-term learning benefits and result-oriented application, when deployed in isolation, are yet to convincingly be recorded.
  3. Blended Learning: If an organization’s chief goal is to make learning effective in all aspects, a blended learning approach can work to your advantage, if deployed accurately. Draw the merits of both classroom training sessions, supported with ample self-paced learning resources to ensure 360-degree learning. Make learning resources easily available and accessible for learners to rely on it while in the flow of work, after confidently exploring the concept through in-depth classroom sessions.
    Further, in such a learning scenario, learners can work in groups through workshops, seminars, lectures, and more while also having access to the same material in multiformat to accommodate learning preferences, styles and overcome learning barriers too.
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In the case of a blended learning approach, L&D is continuous and ever-evolving to create learning moments amidst tasks and responsibilities. Learning is holistic, practical, and scores high on learning outcomes. Additionally, learning is measurable as the outcomes are tangible.

How can Microlearning Leverage Learning Experiences?

Over the past few years, Microlearning has been trending for all the right reasons. Its ability to score high on learning outcomes combined with a seeker’s interest and attention span is well documented (Read, 12 seconds – the human attention span in 2000, and 8.25 seconds in 2015, as per data from Statistic Brain!). Catering to a single learning objective, microlearning can be strategically poised in the organization’s mission to create learning experiences NOW and HERE. Allow us to explain:

  • Be it in the form of modules for classroom sessions or nuggets of information for self-paced learning, microlearning is adaptable to different training styles.
  • The most credible USP of microlearning is its multiformat capabilities. From infographics, step-by-step guides, videos and tutorials, expert speaks, podcasts or ebooks, microlearning is poised for greater learning outcomes irrespective of learning styles – visual, auditory, kinesthetic, lest we forget the diverse styles of learning across generations – Gen Z, Millennials, and more. When training is easily understood by all types of learners, the learning moments are but a natural occurrence. Learners are more accepting to bank on learning resources if the information they seek is easy to understand, replicate and improvise.
  • Because of the very nature of microlearning assets, resources can be made easily accessible to reach learners anytime and anywhere. Such training resources can be looked at as a haven for learners seeking information now and here.
  • Variety in learning is yet another strong suit for microlearning. For example, if organizations are looking to check understanding, a quick scenario-based quiz could be deployed. To ensure learning is accurate, a gamified learning experience can be deployed. An archery game where employees get to target and shoot the right answers is fun, engaging, gains maximum retention and augments greater application skills.
  • Augmented reality and virtual reality-based simulated microlearning give direct experience and understanding. Capitalize on emerging technologies and trends to capture the audience and drive learning home.
  • The benefits of informal learning are plenty and L&D gurus have long since tried to replicate such preferred experiences in corporate training. Microlearning is best suited to achieve these objectives. It helps in creating learning moments not only in the flow of work but beyond too.
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A word of caution would be to not subscribe to the “short and sweet” ideology of microlearning. There are no time restrictions or fixed rules on the length of the training module. The only mantra to bear in mind is “as long as necessary and as short as possible.” Ensure that the single-learning objective is met, explore the many opportunities that it presents, and capitalize on microlearning for learning experiences.

Learning experiences are not restrictive or relative only to improve performance and productivity. When you are looking to establish a culture of learning or continuous learning in the workplace, such experiences should be across the board – from compliance and culture, process and sales training, and so much more. Delivering learning experiences is a cultural shift from the traditional outlook of structured, organizational L&D. Taking small steps in this direction would be beneficial to all stakeholders, towards growth, progress, and learning maturity.

To best explain the concept of microlearning and how it contributes to learning experiences, a case study here illustrates. How did the organization arrive at the decision to deploy microlearning? What were the objectives, and results achieved? Do take a deep dive into the opportunities, strengths, and barriers to overcome.

Are you looking for effective training solutions for your organization? Is deploying a learning experience a key mission this year? Write to us at info@originlearning.com and view our award-winning solutions and possibilities.


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