Future Friday: Will be learning be delivered on-demand?

Today we teach employees in a very different way than it is likely to be delivered in the future. We often take the school model to deliver learning opportunities. We put employees in classroom settings and talk about things the need to learn. Often these classroom sessions last an hour, a day, a week or more. Even learning opportunities delivered online typically take dedicated time away from the work rather than being incorporated in to it.


Alex Khurgin, the director of learning innovation at Grovo, feels the future of employee learning is going to be much different. Asha Pandey, the Chief Learning Strategist at EI Design, also sees the future of learning as being very different that the traditional school room model. She says: Microlearning “appeals to the learners as it consumes less time and is available to them exactly at the time of the learning need (just-in-time).” According to Pandey:

Microlearning is a short, focused learning nugget (often 3-5 mins long or shorter) that is designed to meet a specific learning outcome. It can be used to offer formal training but it often finds a wider usage in informal training (with a focus on performance gain).

Khurgin says “Short, focused bursts of learning provide organizations three primary benefits.” These benefits include:

  • Microlearning is cheaper and faster. To-the-point materials take less time to source, produce, maintain, and consume than traditional classroom sessions or longer-form e-learning. This enables under-resourced L&D teams to focus on quality without sacrificing speed, and gives well-resourced teams more ways to make an impact.
  • People are more engaged. Employees today devote 1 percent of their time to learning (roughly 24 minutes a week), check their phones 150 times a day, and switch tabs every minute. Microlearning fits perfectly into this continuous diet of email, Slack, and social media. For employees accustomed to short bursts elsewhere, microlearning significantly lowers the barrier to engagement.
  • People learn more. Though there are many factors that drive effective learning, managing cognitive load is one of the most important. The problem with typical learning experiences like lectures or long e-learning videos is that they present too many things at once for too long a period of time. On the contrary, short bursts respect the limitations of working memory, and allow people the time to properly reflect on what they are learning and connect it to what they already know.

As someone who teaches and HR certification class I have to slog through six or more hours of lecture on a Saturday to students who have spent as many hours reading material before coming to class. However, much of HR, in fact much of many areas, can be more effectively learned if it can be applied at the time that it is needed.

Microlearning is visually rich

The process of Microlearning is appealing to Millennials and Gen Z. It is highly visual, easily accessed, and caters to short-attention spans. An employee can take 10 minutes, watch a video on their smart phone that provides a solution for a problem they are working on. As a result they learn that new task or solution much more effectively that if they had to wait to go to a training class.
So as you consider training employees in the future consider the Microlearning way. You may find it be an effective method of teaching employees.

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