According to recent data, US businesses spend more than $70 billion annually on employee learning and development, with the average employee receiving close to 60 hours of training per year. And yet, 70% of the material learned by employees is forgotten within 24 hours and 90% of it within one week.
While this inability to absorb knowledge in large quantities is directly related to our brain’s physiology, we are also processing greater volumes of information at a faster rate. Thanks in part to the predominance of mobile devices, some studies estimate the average human’s concentration has now declined from 12 to about 8 seconds.
Finding time for training is particularly challenging for teachers. While a teacher’s day is spent seeing to the learning of others, there simply never seems to be enough time in the day to attend to one’s own learning needs. Training often amounts to 15 minutes squeezed in before or after school, and teachers must work in the time around other extra-curricular commitments, parent conversations and extra help sessions with students.
Microlearning, or small focused lessons, has risen in popularity in classrooms across the country, driven in part by eLearning. Built on a concept called ‘chunking’ developed by psychologist George Miller back in the 1950’s, microlearning builds on the idea that the human brain is only able to retain between five and nine things in working memory. After that point, information either needs to be converted to long-term memory or forgotten. By breaking learning down into bite sized pieces, retention of information improves by more than 20%.
For all these reasons microlearning has risen in popularity in the classroom, it is well suited to the busy non-stop lives of educators with little to no time on their hands. It allows them to continue to progress with learning at their own pace, while taking advantage of smartphone-enabled, anywhere, anytime access, which makes training highly accessible.
Here are just a few of the advantages of on-demand microlearning.
With unlimited access to online training, instructors and administrators can access training whenever and wherever is convenient for them. On demand courses can be accessed at any time of day, or from any location as long as there’s an internet connection.
When learning is easily accessed from a smartphone and it is available in small bite-sized chunks, it can be leveraged by teachers for just-in-time learning directly at the point of need. Learning delivered in context further boosts retention and provides a much higher degree of value and relevancy.
Every instructor comes at their learning with a unique blend of experience, interests and competencies. Training is rarely a one-size-fits-all model. On-demand microlearning allows teachers to their learning to fit their individual requirements, going as deep into the content as they wish, while progressing through material at their own pace and when time allows.
Allowing teachers to access learning on-demand and in smaller accessible modules helps to keep teachers up to date on their learning without having to take them out of the classroom for expensive off-site training. It also saves boards the costs of bringing in a substitute teacher to cover off for teachers in training. Instead, teachers can fit training into those down moments during the day, before or after school, or during the evening or on weekends if necessary.
Further, as course material is broken down into small, bite-sized chunks, the time to develop course material is significantly reduced. Microlearning can cut development costs by 50% while increasing speed of development 300%.
Because it is highly accessible, on-demand, microlearning allows teachers to remain always up-to-date with their training. New course material can also be very quickly developed to ensure training is current and reflective of the latest teaching trends and technologies in the classroom.