The world of work is facing an employee engagement crisis. Engagement levels are dropping lower with each year, costing companies heavily through high turnover rates and low employee productivity. Perhaps, this is why HR leaders have identified improving employee engagement as one of their top areas of interest.

Employee performance reduce and their engagement declines when their expectations are not met. Disengagement can happen even with high performing employees if efforts are not made towards giving them what they want.

One proven way to ensure high levels of employee engagement is by investing in their professional development. Modern employees want to stay ahead of their game and be involved with organizations that help them grow in their careers. In a recent Gallup poll, 87% of millennials said development is important in a job. When employees, particularly millennials, are satisfied with the training programs made available to them for career development, they are most likely to stick around with an employer.

That being said, we also live in an age where the world is facing an attention deficit crisis. With mobile devices buzzing all around and easy access to almost any kind of information distracting all of us, focusing on one thing for more than few minutes has become too much of a task. This is why when organizations plan to offer avenues for professional development to their employees, they need to keep in mind their interests, needs and plummeting concentration levels. No one in today’s world is going to actively participate or benefit from unending and boring training events forced upon employees. It involves a huge cost and effort on part of the management with little or no return. Fortunately, there is now a sure shot way to offer this need to employees in a much more effective manner through microlearning.

Microlearning is making its way into the corporate learning world and the response has been very positive. The Association for Talent Development (ATD) surveyed 596 talent development professionals and found that 38% currently use microlearning and another 41% plan to start it within the next year. Simply put, the reason for the growth of microlearning as a learning tool is that it helps organizations achieve their learning objectives. It also ensures employees actually learn without being told to do so.

Following are the reasons why microlearning appeals to the modern day employee:

1. It provides learning on the move

Microlearning has finally managed to capture the attention of time-crunched employees and made learning a fun experience. The just-in-time learning delivery through microlearning has been found up to 7 times more effective than formal, traditional form of training (Formica et al., 2010). Engaging micro lessons that are usually packaged in short videos, podcasts, images, infographics, games or quizzes give offer learners just-in-time information.

4 out of 5 working professionals believe that microlearning is altering knowledge acquisition process by delivering the learning modules effectively within the workflow (Job and Ogalo, 2012). Short bursts of information carefully delivered over time makes employees less likely to feel overwhelmed or stressed. It allows for more flexibility and freedom, giving the employee the option to focus on learning one thing at a time. All kinds of updates are also quickly incorporated, which keeps employees ahead of their game.

2. It grabs the attention of employees

Microlearning provides an interactive learning experience by incorporating addictive strategies such as storytelling, scenario based learning and gamification. It motivates learners to work harder to reach goals by rewarding them with points, certificates of completion, cash incentives and the like. Creation of badges and leaderboards satisfies the competitive spirit of employees, and makes them set higher standards of performance.

Power packed content keeps the learners hooked to their training, as it explains concepts in practical and visually stunning ways.

3. It helps identify and close knowledge gaps

Because microlearning produces immediate results that align with fast paced industry changes, it helps employees learn what they actually want to. For example, if a person lacks in a particular module, more information can be looked for in that particular subject. The microlearning platform is also intelligent enough to understand where there is a skill gap, and aims to fill it by sending content around it. Thus, specific need can be met, without having to undergo the entire training session all over again. This saves time for employers as well as the employees.

On the areas that need more work, refreshers are sent to the employee from time to time in order to keep them aware of concepts. Such spaced and repetitive learning ensures higher retention levels and application of learning on the job.

4. It offers customized learning experiences

Microlearning has shattered the one-size-fits-all approach to training, empowering employees to learn at their own convenience and give them what they want. The learning modules are highly customizable and follow unique learning paths, that makes learning a personalized experience.

Continuous training can ultimately yield 50% higher net sales per employee. – The Brevet Group

Microlearning sets clear learning paths for learners which takes care of their unique needs. The flexibility or rules of the learning path can be custom-defined by the instructional designer. Specific criteria can be assigned to complete the learning path and get certified or increase knowledge in a particular domain. Learning paths make the training much more structures and continuous. It also fosters a learning culture by putting learners in the driver’s seat and ensuring continuous feedback as a part of the training.

5. It empowers employees to do more

Microlearning satisfies this need of learners to feel in charge and look for solutions themselves. Without forcing learners to follow strict learning paths, microlearning gives them the opportunity to pick and choose modules and lessons from a gallery of knowledge. Learners have the advantage of sifting through available content and clicking on a module he/she wants to learn more about.

If a learner is stuck at any point or wants more information about a particular concept, they can look for it themselves in the knowledge base. Advanced search options help employees search for information using relevant keywords or tags. This can be accessed at the time of need, satisfying the need for instant information on a mobile device.

6. It gives employees continuous feedback

Today’s workforce demands for a culture of coaching and feedback from organizations. Employees need to be involved in all the stages of the training, right from asking them what they want to learn about to telling them how they are doing. Great performance needs to be recognized and guidance needs to be offered if they are lacking somewhere.

Microlearning offers rich analytics on performance levels of employees on individual and cumulative levels. This keeps managers in touch with how each of their employee is progressing in various parts of the training. This data can be used to help employees learn better. With full knowledge about each employee’s track record, continuous feedback can be offered to them, which helps them know their strengths and weaknesses. Regular well thought out meetings with managers about the progress on various modules translates into higher engagement and productivity, and gives employees the reassurance that the3y are heading in the right direction.

Microlearning thus ensures that learning makes a difference, and does not occur in a vacuum. It makes the line connecting learning and work application much more clear for employees, giving them a reason to keep at it. Recognition for efforts and feedback for improvement make employees feel like they matter, which translates into higher productivity.

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