This is the fifth post in our series about microlearning.
In the fast-paced world of Information and Communications Technology (ICT), staying ahead of the curve is not just an aspiration but a necessity. In fact, a 2020 McKinsey Global Institute survey shows that the collective response to the Covid-19 pandemic sped up the adoption of digital technologies by six to seven years worldwide – 10 years in the Asia-Pacific region. As companies implement more digital technologies, their biggest challenge is lacking ICT talent. While accelerating digital transformation is key to business survival, there is a gap between ICT talent supply and industry demand. Training needs to keep pace with fast-developing technologies. Traditional education isn’t sufficient to fill the talent gap, so companies are increasingly turning to innovative training methodologies to best equip their teams with the latest skills and knowledge. This is where microlearning comes in. While software development and data analytics are not conducive to mini-courses, reinforcing and updating skills are perfect areas for implementing microlearning in ICT training.
Flexibility and Convenience
According to Global Workplace Analytics, a survey of 1500 technology professionals:
- Two-thirds prefer working remotely.
- 36 percent choose remote work over a pay raise.
- 37 percent are willing to take a 10 percent pay cut if given the option to work from home.
We know that happy employees tend to be more engaged with their work, and it appears that most employees prefer remote work. With microlearning, learners are no longer confined to traditional in-house training, making it ideal for remote or hybrid work. Traditional corporate training often demands extensive time commitments, making it challenging for ICT professionals to balance work responsibilities and learning objectives. Microlearning addresses this challenge by breaking down content into bite-sized modules. These short sessions can be easily integrated into busy schedules, allowing employees to learn at their own pace. Whether it is during a coffee break or a commute, microlearning ensures that employees can access training content whenever and wherever it suits them.
Continuous Learning and Upskilling
“I see microlearning as being an approach to almost every part of continuous learning,” says Shivani Dhir, Assistant Dean of Digital Learning at NYU Tandon School of Engineering. Technology is rapidly changing and even the best technology professionals must work hard to stay current in their industries. Implementing microlearning helps ensure learners don’t miss new technological features they need to perform their job to the best of their ability. Microlearning can be customized to target specific skill gaps within a company, giving ICT staff the necessary skills to support organizational success while staying up to date with industry trends. The brevity of microlearning also helps individuals gain project-specific knowledge they need to know while minimizing their time away from job responsibilities. Instead of sitting through an entire course, they need only access the specific information they need to perform necessary tasks.
Reinforcement of Key Concepts for Better Retention
The Ebbinghaus Forgetting Curve shows that humans forget 50 percent of all new information within a day, and 90 percent of all new information within a week. Repetition and reinforcement are essential to help learners retain knowledge and apply it over time. Microlearning offers virtual mentoring by providing resources to handle specific challenges. Kate Udalova, Co-founder and Chief Product Officer at 7Taps, says, “For example, you can create recaps, follow-ups, and share examples to make knowledge stick. Because without this reinforcement, people can forget almost 100 percent of what they learned after 10 days.” It could be considered a corollary to the “use it or lose it” adage. By focusing on a single concept or skill, ICT workers can absorb information effectively and apply it to real-world examples. This targeted approach improves knowledge retention and the transfer of skills to practical situations.
Personalized Learning Paths
Combining generative artificial intelligence (AI) and microlearning platforms offers personalized learning options like we have never seen before. It’s like using a trainer who knows the learner’s preferences, interests, learning requirements, and pace. AI algorithms analyze a learner’s interactions with content to tailor a learning journey built for them, promoting personalized and adaptive learning for better training results. “Your learners no longer have to struggle with off-the-shelf courses that are nothing but a synonym for boredom and monotony these days,” says Dr. R. K. Prasad, CEO and Co-founder of Commlab India. ICT professionals vary in their skill sets and experience, and a one-size-fits-all training approach may not be effective. Microlearning platforms can assess the learner’s proficiency and dynamically adjust the content and difficulty level, ensuring that everyone receives a tailored learning experience. This personalization enhances engagement and maximizes the impact of the training program.
Quick Adaptation to Technological Advances
In the dynamic field of IT and technology, staying abreast of the latest developments is crucial. Traditional training methods often struggle to keep pace with rapidly evolving technologies. Microlearning, however, enables organizations to promptly update and disseminate the latest information. Whether it’s a software update, security protocol change, or emerging industry trend, microlearning allows organizations to swiftly adapt their training materials and keep their workforce well-informed and up to date. “Learning is key to your resilience as a business. If you invest in curiosity, learning, and agility for your workforce, you can bounce back from setbacks, adapt to change, and be more ready for whatever comes next,” says Cat Ward, Vice President of Jobs for the Future.
Gamification and Interactivity
Gamification and interactive features can infuse microlearning to make the experience more engaging and enjoyable. Tech professionals, often inherently drawn to problem-solving and challenges, respond positively to gamified learning environments. According to SAP, “Gamification uses elements such as self-paced learning and various rewards to induce learners to complete and even enjoy training they would otherwise try to avoid.” Quizzes, simulations, and interactive scenarios not only reinforce learning but also make the training experience more enjoyable, fostering a positive attitude toward continuous skill development.
Real-time Feedback and Assessment
Did you know that 80 percent of employees who say they have received meaningful feedback in the past week are fully engaged with their work – regardless of their status as a remote, hybrid, or full-time office employee? (Gallup) Microlearning platforms enable immediate feedback and assessment, allowing ICT professionals to gauge their progress and address gaps in their understanding. Through quizzes, assessments, and interactive exercises, learners receive instant feedback on their performance. This real-time evaluation empowers individuals to identify areas for improvement and take corrective action promptly. Additionally, organizations can use these analytics to assess the effectiveness of their training programs and make data-driven decisions for continuous improvement.
In the competitive landscape of ICT and technology, the adoption of microlearning for corporate training is not just a trend but a strategic imperative. A report from the McKinsey Global Institute states, “…the fastest rise [will be] in the need for advanced IT and programming skills, which could grow as much as 90 percent between 2016 and 2030.” Organizations will need to evaluate their existing business processes to effectively apply advancements in technology and develop more efficient business solutions, to consider the talent they already have and the talent they need.
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