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13 Characteristics of Microlearning (part 1)

Microlearning (or micro-training) at the workplace is a "needed skill" delivery model that strategically divides the learning/training content into small units. Microlearning is found to be an effective method of learning on-the-job due to its availability for instant consumption and being targeted to fill an often costly knowledge gap. According to Learning and Development professionals, the majority of their learners prefer short sessions of learning episodes to long ones.

At process-based jobs, using a microlearning method to increase processing speed is particularly helpful. Team members receive the needed information quickly and directly, which enables them to use the targeted skill-booster right away.

The characteristics of microlearning may not be the same from the trainee and trainer's points of view. The following 13 characteristics define microlearning from the trainee's perspective. (The article appears in two parts this week.)

1. Bite-size

The meaning of bite-size learning may or may not refer to the amount of content. Instead, bite-size means that the learning content is chunked to satisfy a single objective. One bite-size learning nugget typically addresses one learning goal. Depending on that goal, the topic may not be covered within a few seconds, but it is still relatively short, typically under five minutes. The point is that the bite-size learning method tends to contain information critically important for reaching a desirable outcome on the job at the moment the information is needed.

2. Easily digestible

The information needed on the job must tightly relate to the task at hand, and it must use verbal expressions that help the trainee easily understand the delivered content. The familiar verbiage makes processing the learned skill non-demanding, which ensures that the learner puts it into practice momentarily.

3. Concise

On-the-job, in-the-process microlearning events must observe strict boundaries regarding the breadth of instruction. No over-explanation nor fluff allowed.

4. Personalized

Personalized microlearning is a great option to use when there is data on the existing skills of the trainee. That way the new information can be delivered as a method of expanding on what the traniee already knows.

5. Essential

Any step of a process can contain a whole host of information that appears important. However, during a microlearning episode, only what is most important for completing the specific step at hand is needed.

6. Context-based

During a microlearning session, the delivered information must match the work situation and environment. The delivered information is only useful when it answers the question the trainee has at that moment.

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