Did you know the average attention span in 2000 was 12 seconds? If you think that’s shocking, the average attention span in 2015 was only 8.25 seconds. What does all this mean for training and development? It means there’s an even stronger case to consider adding microlearning into your training courses.
However, while that number may shock and scare you enough to want to create ONLY microlearning modules, there are definitely a few cons to take into consideration as well.
The Case FOR Microlearning
With an average attention span of 8.25 seconds and an on-the-go society that is trying to do as much in as little time as possible, it makes sense to build your training in a style that suits those needs. Here are some benefits to microlearning:
- As mentioned, these smaller learning modules can be a great way to engage learners who are busy and have minimal time to complete training.
- Short training modules are also perfect for mobile learning. Training that can be completed anywhere and at any time with minimal scrolling or clicking is just what an active learner needs.
- Microlearning also decreases the odds of your learners experiencing information overload.
- When hard to learn concepts can be broken down into bite-sized pieces, retention rates are more likely to increase. Even if a concept isn’t hard to learn, information provided in quick and easy modules can be far more effective than longer ones.
- These small pieces of learning can also be easily updated as opposed to a full-blown course which may involve redoing multiple modules, sections or even the entire course.
- Learners like to feel like they’re accomplishing goals and in doing so it can motivate them to keep going. Microlearning is a great way to provide easily achievable goals that will encourage learners to keep going.
- Best of all, it can be WAY more cost-efficient than creating those full-blown courses. Think of it as only buying a salad or an appetizer instead of a 4-course meal.
The Case AGAINST Microlearning
Sure the benefits we listed above are great and persuasive, but that doesn’t mean microlearning is right for everyone or the best option for every single training course. There are a few cons to think about:
- Microlearning will most likely require more thorough planning on the front end of your training development to insure that the most pertinent information is included and broken down effectively.
- If a topic needs to be explained in-depth and in conjunction with other materials (manuals, graphs, statistics, diagrams, etc.) then you should probably avoid microlearning for that particular topic. This is especially true of contextual concepts that need to be learned and understood alongside additional information.
- Microlearning shouldn’t be the ONLY training method you employ. As with the in-depth training we just mentioned, it could be beneficial to create a short module that readdresses key pieces of information that were discussed in more robust courses.
As with any training program, you know your intended users and training topics best. Use these arguments for and against microlearning as your pros and cons list to see which fits best with particular training courses and programs.
Do you have anything to add to the arguments for or against microlearning?