Learning leaders face tough challenges heading into 2022. These include:

  • The Great Resignation shows no sign of slowing, with 4.5 million U.S. workers leaving their jobs in November 2021 alone; lack of opportunities for training and development are a key reason many workers leave their jobs.
  • A return to “normal” work with everyone on site seems more distant than ever, making training remote workers a new normal, rather than a stopgap.
  • And closing digital skills gaps has become critical as more workers need to use digital tools to perform tasks they used to do in person.

The good news is that one solution can help with all three of these current challenges: microlearning.

Deploy microlearning to increase worker satisfaction—and reduce turnover

A key reason workers give for leaving jobs is a lack of development opportunities; even pre-pandemic, the 2019 LinkedIn Workplace Learning Report found that 94% of employees would stay longer with an employer who offered professional development opportunities.

But a key reason workers and managers give for not participating in training opportunities is a lack of time for training. While no solution can provide more hours in the day, one option that can make it easier to fit training into a busy schedule is microlearning.

In addition to enabling managers to offer training that fits into workers’ busy schedules, microlearning fits the trend toward greater flexibility and self-directed learning.

When learning leaders offer their teams and their learners access to off-the-shelf as well as in-house-developed microlearning resources, they provide training opportunities that meet learners where they are. Much microlearning is easily accessible on demand, on the learner’s preferred device, for example, rather than requiring learners to set aside specific times or long blocks of time for training.

By definition short and focused, microlearning units are relevant, and learners can often control when, how much, and in what order they consume content.

While learning leaders cannot give everyone a raise or solve systemic or society-wide problems that may be driving some workers to leave their jobs, they can make changes that improve the work culture and offer conditions, such as access to flexible, relevant learning, that make the workplace more attractive to current and potential employees—a key factor in reducing turnover.

Embrace microlearning for flexible remote-employee training

Remote work is here to stay, which is why learning leaders are embracing flexible training options that keep workers’ skills sharp without bringing them to a training class or expecting them to be available on a set schedule. Microlearning fits the bill; it is all about flexibility and ideally suited for training targeted to remote workers.

The Covid-19 pandemic pushed many organizations to move onboarding or compliance training online. But long virtual classroom sessions, on top of video-conference meetings led to Zoom fatigue and increased worker stress. Moving some of this essential training to self-paced microlearning gives learners the flexibility and control they crave. Learners can consume the short, narrowly focused units on their own schedule, making it easier to fit training into their workday and progress at their own pace.

Use microlearning to close digital skills gaps

The pandemic shined a spotlight on digital skills gaps across industries, not only with deskless or gig workers: Office workers had to quickly pivot to new online meeting and collaboration tools, for example—and their managers had to upskill quickly to successfully manage and motivate newly remote teams.

In its early days, microlearning quickly became a popular training format for “deskless” workers. These employees needed frequent upskilling and even reskilling, as automation and new tools changed their daily work routines.

Advantages of microlearning, such as easy access on a familiar smartphone or tablet and microlearning packages that feature familiar, user-friendly interfaces, resembling those of popular consumer tools like Netflix, lowered barriers to online training and made microlearning a natural option for building workers’ digital skills. These features come into play now as well.

Learning leaders are pairing this approachable, learner-friendly delivery method with content that helps learners become more comfortable with tools, technologies, and processes they need for their newly automated tasks or to shift specific processes online. With the right design and delivery approach, microlearning can help teach new skills, refresh or update existing skills, coach learners as they master a new software tool or collaborative online process—and much more.

Tips for encouraging adoption of microlearning

L&D leaders may be sold on the value of adding microlearning to the organization’s training strategy, but their higher-ups might still need convincing. Learning Solutions author Robyn Defelice offers tips and strategies for showcasing the potential benefits of microlearning—as well as soberly assessing potential barriers (and overcoming them!).

Explore leadership issues with your peers

Shifting learning culture or adopting new training strategies can be an uphill climb; learning leaders do not need to undertake this challenge alone. Share what works, and explore the strategies and skills required to navigate the needs of today’s ever-changing workplace with your learning leadership peers.

The Learning Guild’s Learning Leaders Alliance offers a vendor-neutral global community for learning leaders who want to stay ahead of the curve and for aspiring leaders seeking to build their skillsets. The Alliance Membership package includes access to monthly networking and learning opportunities, exclusive digital events, and content curated for today’s modern learning