How Microlearning Can Apply To Informal Learning
When it comes down to it, how do employees best learn how to do their job? From structured online training courses? From supervisors? Through their own experiences or on their own? According to studies, more than 80% of the way people learn their jobs is informal. This type of learning, as Jay Cross explains is “the unofficial, unscheduled, impromptu way people learn to do their jobs. Learning is adaptation...We learn from one another”.
On the other hand, another emerging training trend is microlearning, as it takes modules and breaks them into bite size training that focuses on behavioral outcomes as well as applying knowledge and skills quickly. Microlearning can also match its training with individual learning styles. As such, organizational training programs can adapt to these new informal learning trends through a microlearning structure. Here are 5 ways microlearning can apply to informal learning.
- Just-in-time learning structure.
One of the advantages of microlearning is that it helps organizations train employees with only the information that they need to know in order to do their job. This laser focus is seen in informal learning, as employees stick with training agendas that focus on job duties. In addition, like informal learning, microlearning gives great on-the-job context to help employees apply what they learn. This on-the-job context is what creates new learned behaviors, which is what microlearning is all about. Furthermore, this behavioral change comes when the information is given in the right way and at the right time.
Though informal learning has no structure, employees who are training can match the process with how they best learn – whether it’s visually, verbally, socially, aurally, logically, physically, or a combination. Microlearning also matches to individual learning styles and gives the employee learning autonomy to apply their knowledge to develop future skills. When informal learning becomes personalized to the individual, better learning results are seen.
Microlearning is the most effective when it is offered on multiple devices. Thanks to the growth of remote work, it is now more common for an eLearning company to have their training modules operate on multiple devices. When users have easy access and searchability with their training, the more successful the program becomes for the employee. It eliminates headache and disruption for the learner when they are in control of when and where their training takes place. How can this relate to informal learning? Organizations need to make sure the learning and training within their departments is constantly available – whether that means having someone available to email questions to or accessible resources when outside of the office.
- Rich media.
No matter how employees learn, they need to be engaged with the content they’re learning and rich media allows for that. Rich media (interactive video/audio, well designed templates, etc.), is “more engaging and impactful” than text and people retain information better than from just reading text. Integrating rich media into informal learning can help keep engagement levels high and retain skills quickly.
- Minimal interruption.
As most employees know, disruption and distractions throughout the workday can lead to less productivity and affect the bottom line. Careerbuilder found that smartphones, internet, social media, and email are among the 10 biggest workplace productivity killers. Whether it’s useless meetings or office gossip, it’s important that when employees are learning they are not disrupted. As such, microlearning offers training that only takes minimal amount of time away from the job and is typically short and accessible, allowing employees to learn only what they need to know. This is very similar to informal learning, as employees are learning what they need to do as they are currently working, thus eliminating hours of training modules or presentations. Less disruption also helps employees apply their new skills to their job at a faster rate.
All in all, informal learning with microlearning aspects can help make the training process more efficient and help employees apply what they learn at a quicker rate. When combined with other rising training trends, microlearning can be a great tool in the training toolbox.
Find out more about which training trends are most effective in corporate training programs with AllenComm’s 2016 Training Trends eBook. Get your copy here.