Six reasons why micro-learning will explode job skills training.

According to many learning analysts[1] , “bite” size learning or “micro” learning is set to grow to be a serious contender for organizations around the world. This is training that takes between 1-10 minutes to complete and is often a single page / short form video or document.  

The Six Reasons why I think Micro-Learning will Explode Job Skills Training:

1) Everyone you know has a smartphone. 

Apple just announced selling their billionth smartphone, and the expectation for 2016 alone is that over 1.5 billion smartphones will be sold[5]. From this it's clear that many employees around the world have a camera/ web enabled smartphone. Co-workers in most any industry from Financial Services, Healthcare, Retail, Manufacturing and many more can in great numbers shoot a 1-10 minute video to show a process or procedure to do their job with learners able to immediately view on their own devices. We’ve been seeing this happen from YouTube, Snapchat, Periscope and other social networks which have driven the phenomena mainstream. Micro-learning either created or viewed on a phone makes learning much easier, more rapidly created or revised then standard authoring tools or rapid elearning tools and is certainly much cheaper[2].

2) The growing Millennial population is demanding it.

The incoming Millennial population entering the workforce around the world and the affect that's having on the rest of the working population is huge.  By 2020, half of the workforce will be comprised of millennials[4]. These are folks born after 1980 and tend to prefer very short and to the point training. Of course, everyone is developing a growing appreciation for the ability to review a skill as they are doing their job. Being able to look down on your phone and see how to do a process watching a few minute video or reading a quick instruction.

3) Bite-size/ Micro-learning content is easier to repeat over time and increases knowledge retention. 

Micro-learning learning content can be granular and repeated as necessary without having to see unwanted content. This encourages more frequent repetition and therefore greater retention in the long term for learners.

4) The increased learning outcomes in using micro-learning content to foster more rapid coach/tutor learning conversations.

 A unique curriculum of micro-learning can be assembled and created for different team members enabling a learning conversation; one that leads towards a coaching/ tutor relationship learning conversation between content author and learner. This type of learner/ author relationship could potentially lead to up to a two sigma improvement[3] in outcomes over existing one-to-many eLearning courses and content, such as we see in existing elearning courses and instructor led training classes. A learner asking for greater explanation could rapidly get an answer from the author in the form of previously created micro-learning or be rapidly updated or expanded by the author from what was previously created to give further explanation to the learner. Others sharing the original learner's goals benefit as well and gain a great set of optimized micro-learning from this learning conversation. 

5) No more stale/ out of date learning content.

The above reasons have created a perfect storm to keep learner content fresh. The content produced is short, can be produced in real time while doing your job and can be recreated/ updated as quickly.

6) New ways to curate the new content you create.

There will be a host of new authoring/ curation learning systems which will use AI and other machine learning approaches to dynamically assemble the optimum learning path of individual micro-learning/ bite size learning for you when you need it. The above five reasons are enough to “explode” micro-learning popularity, but this type of AI driven advanced curation will probably accelerate micro-learning’s growth.  

[1] Predictions for 2016: A Bold New World of Talent, Learning, Leadership, and HR Technology Ahead”, [Research Study] Josh Bersin (January 14, 2016)
[2] Mindgym. “The Bite-size Revolution: How to Make Learning Stick” (2014)
[3] “The 2 Sigma Problem: The Search for Methods of Group Instruction as Effective as One-to-One Tutoring”, Benjamin S. Bloom. Educational Researcher, Vol 13, No. 6. (Jun – Jul.. 1984, pp4-16. http://web.mit.edu/5.95/readings/bloom-two-sigma.pdf                                                                                                       

[4] "The 2020 Workplace, Jeanne C. Meister & Karie Willyerd, (May 11, 2010)    

[5] "Gartner Says Worldwide Smartphone Sales to Slow in 2016", Gartner, Inc. (NYSE: IT) (June 7, 2016)