The world around us is changing. Rapid advancement of technology, a change in the way content is consumed, time constraints, and short attention spans are leading to newer ways of designing and developing eLearning programs for employee training. The next generation of employees have very little time, are super capable of multi-tasking, and are accustomed to working on the go on their mobile phones. In such a scenario, traditional methods of learning are unable to do justice to the expectation, learning preferences, and training needs of the emerging workforce. Enter bite-sized learning or micro-learning.
What is Bite-Sized Learning?
Bite Sized Learning is equivalent to cutting a large pizza into slices to make it easier to eat. Eating a whole pizza on your own in one go can be a difficult task for some people but eating a few slices and keeping the rest for later is more feasible. Bite sized learning uses the same approach to bring a paradigm shift in eLearning. Here, learning modules are divided into smaller fragments ranging from 1 to 15 minutes, making it easier for a user to comprehend and not get overwhelmed by information overload. Lessons are shorter in duration and there is focus on tightly defined objectives. One of the biggest advantages of bite-sized learning is that the training can happen on the go and in between everyday tasks.
Why is Bite-Sized Learning Effective?
In the latter half of the 19th century, German psychologist Hermann Ebbinghaus discovered that people tend to forget what they learnt at an exponential rate, especially in the first 24 hours. One of the ways to challenge the forgetting curve is to space out the learning and focus on what is relevant – something that bite-sized learning does.
Additionally, the Journal of Applied Psychology points out that bite-sized units make the learning process “17% more efficient.”
According to research conducted by Microsoft (the survey was conducted across 2000 people) most people lose their attention after 8 seconds – less than that of a goldfish.
So, it is easy to understand why traditional courses, which run for 30-60 minutes or even a whole day, is not the answer if you are looking to train employees efficiently and quickly. They can lose focus easily or fail to retain important nuggets of knowledge. Moreover, designing traditional courses is time-consuming and expensive. They can quickly become outdated too, if there is rapid advancement in technology but not in the training modules.
This goes to show why bite-sized learning can be more effective than traditional training modules at the workplace. The chief aim of bite-sized learning is to match the learning capacity of humans/employees and free them from the burden of trying to absorb a lot of information that they are anyway going to forget.
Bite-sized modules aim to deliver meaningful and relevant content packed in information nuggets. This motivates the learner to consume content more efficiently before getting burned out mentally. Basically, it is like giving a goldfish only as much as it can take.
Read Also: Microlearning in formal education
Advantages of bite-sized learning
When it comes to learning and development, compressing tough and demanding subjects into small bite-sized learning nuggets – not longer than 3-6 minutes - helps in better processing of information, and hence, more successful training programs.
Let us look at the most obvious advantages of bite-sized learning.
Improves Learning Outcomes
Bite-sized content doesn’t just mean shortening long videos into smaller snippets. It’s the flexibility with which bite-sized content can be presented to its users that makes it so effective. As per Deloitte, an average employee is capable of devoting just 1% of their workweek to training and professional development. That is just 4.8 minutes a day for a 40-hour week, so the content needs to be snappy, crisp, and engaging. Bite-sized learning modules make use of quizzes, trivia questions, presentations, videos, simulations, games, and other interactive features to engage users and help them better retain the information. GamEffective, a provider of gamified learning solutions, surveyed its clients and found that some of its Fortune 500 clients increased their training completion rates from an average of 30 percent to 80-85 percent by using gamified micro-learning programs.
Engages the Modern Learner and Drives a Continuous Learning Culture As mentioned before, we have an attention span less than that of a goldfish, thanks to our digitized lifestyle and the mobile revolution. Bite-sized learning addresses this short attention span to allow users to learn during their window of concentration and comfort. In today’s “on-demand” ecosystem, information is available in an instant. Hence, training modules should also be updated in real-time and be readily available for employees to access. According to a study, 56% of learners learn when they need to while around 28% utilize the commute to and from work to complete training programs or prepare themselves for upcoming work.
Smaller Content Bites are Easier to Digest for the Learner
Staying focused for extended periods is difficult for most people, especially if they keep getting distracted by their phones, fellow employees, meetings, or other stuff. Smaller chunks of knowledge are easier to comprehend and digest. When a topic is divided into several sub-topics, it gives the learner the flexibility to choose their learning path as well. Where one employee can complete the course by finishing modules A, B, and C, another employee can complete C first and then A while skipping B altogether. Not only does it save the learner’s time (they don’t need to sit through unnecessary content), but it also keeps them engaged as they only learn what’s relevant for them.
Content development and management is simpler and more relevant
Not just learners, learning and development professionals have also found bite-sized learning to be more effective for employee training. In a survey done on learning and development professionals by the Rapid Learning Institute, 94% of respondents preferred bite-sized online modules as they were preferred by their learners as well. Since content has gotten short, the development team doesn’t need to spend months on creating courses. This reduces the amount of time and resources spent on the development and delivery of training resources, thereby increasing the ROI of training budgets. A modular learning structure can also efficiently keep pace with the competition and changes in technology.
Bite-sized learning is not just beneficial for a learner. Training providers also find it easy to produce short videos and training content as it doesn’t require months of research and preparation. It is easier to manage in comparison to longer modules as well. The adoption of bite-sized learning has already proved to be beneficial for companies as it has completely changed the way content is designed, developed, and delivered. Undoubtedly, it is being hailed as the future of eLearning.
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