microlearning_small_business

Bloodshot eyes.

Coffee overdose.

Information extreme overload.

Probably a headache.

Quiz: Does that mean you just endured an eight hour training session or took a trip to the beach? You don’t really have to answer that.

Training for your small business employees needs an upgrade. Here’s why.

Gone are the days of effective day-long training seminars. The human attention span has been compared to that of a goldfish, with some studies showing that we can’t even concentrate for longer than eight seconds. Based on my timing estimation, congrats on making it this far in the article!

As a small business owner with limited resources, it’s imperative to make good use of those eight seconds. Your employees are critical to your overall success, so training them properly and consistently inherently attributes to that success factor.

The question then becomes, how can you best make use of your time when training your employees? Answer: Microlearning.

People have their own preferred ways of learning things. Some of your employees might retain information better when it’s presented visually, while some need a hands-on approach. This is where the microlearning trend comes into play. There’s an increased availability of training options available, like DIY YouTube videos, and increased desire to digest things quickly.

Here are some reasons why this training option may be a good idea to consider for your small business.

What is Microlearning?

Microlearning is the idea of breaking down specific, targeted content into short learning activities. It’s content that your employees can consume at once and use the knowledge immediately. The term can refer to many aspects of training. Some include time to consume, type of content, amount of content, and how it’s distributed.

Bite-sized, action-based learning modules (called chicken nuggets) should be a part of your bigger training package. This supplemental learning is delivered in the form of short videos.

Pros and Cons of Microlearning

Implementing successful microlearning isn’t a one-size-fits-all type of model and shouldn’t be thrown together hastily. Carefully weigh these pros and cons to determine if this approach to training is right for you.

Pros

When done well, microlearning is perfect training that’s right place, right time for when your employees need to know it. For example: If you have sales professionals on your team, wouldn’t it be handy for them to have flyers with quick selling points they could read over in their care before visiting a potential customer? Bonus points if that information is accessible via their phone. The same idea could work for anyone on your team handling customer service.

Another great aspect of microlearning is that these nuggets don’t take up as much brain space as a long, drawn out training session. When the brain doesn’t have to process as much information at once, the better it can really absorb what’s being presented.

Microlearning also tends to be less disruptive. Since your employees’ schedules are already saturated with keeping your business thriving, helpful nuggets of training will better fit their demands.

Cons

Small business owners might rely on apprenticeships or on-the-job training due to a tight budget. While this type of training is obviously necessary for truly getting your employees acclimated into your processes, it’s not always best practice to throw them right into the line of duty.

If you do have any sort of training program in place, another challenge is figuring out how to successfully trim down that 45 minute training and still accomplish your end goal? It helps if you break out each significant portion of that longer training and focus on transforming it into those smaller nuggets of information that’s more easily digestible.

Gamification and Microlearning

Gamification is a great way to incorporate microlearning at your small business because you can foster simple friendly competition without spending a ton of money. The more fun your employees are having, the more they’ll learn.

A simple definition of gamification is that it’s a process of adding games or game elements to something to encourage participation. When your employees have a problem to solve, a contest to win, or a game to play, they can learn or review topics while enjoying themselves. If it’s entertaining, participants will naturally engage.

For example, you know that some HR training is required to stay compliant with the law, depending on your state and industry. Let’s go with a safety training example for a company that must comply with the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). Wouldn’t it be more fun if you had your employees complete a quick scavenger hunt comprised of silly potential safety hazards?

Gamification will only be successful if you know your team and their interests. Not everyone enjoys competition. So, make it fun, yet safe.

Take Advantage of the Microlearning Trend

Great employees are hard to find and even harder to keep around. By equipping them with the most efficient and continual training programs, you can help considerably increase retention.

What do you have to lose? If you can’t treat your employees to that trip to the beach, at least make your training quick, applicable, and fun.

Rachel Fausnaught is the Corporate Communications Specialist for PrimePay. Before starting her career in the marketing world, she worked for a local TV news station writing for the website and handling the station’s social media platforms.

A creative writer at heart, Rachel loves to insert her style into any of the copy she creates. Outside of work, you can find Rachel playing soccer, or cheering on her Steelers with a Starbucks in hand. Find her on LinkedIn and Twitter and PrimePay on Twitter and LinkedIn.

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