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Bigger Isn’t Always Better: Shifting from Macro to Micro

What does employee education look like in your organization?

If you employ macro-learning, employees might spend hours or days in the classroom to learn a new system, policy, or practice.

While away from their post, regular daily responsibilities pile up. They might return to their desk exhausted and likely to forget important aspects of what they learned, within a few weeks.

An effective alternative for employee education might be a micro-learning program.

Instead of being asked to attend a day long classroom event, required training could take place as a series of smaller learning events over a prescribed period of time.  Employees will be assigned one short micro-learning activity each day.

The entire program is available to them from the start, so if they require a specific competency before the program is complete, they can access that micro-learning activity when they need it.

Before we jump into what micro-learning is, let’s look at what it is not.

  1. It is not sending a daily video lecture for employees to watch.
  2. It is not assigning them a portion of the manual to read each day.
  3. It is not simply a new way to present content (it is distinct from the idea of ‘chunking’ information when presented to learners).

Micro-learning is flexible, personalized, and accessible.

Micro-learning is when a larger learning program is packaged into short bursts of content, practice, feedback, and reflection.

Each tiny packet of learning contains a complete learning cycle that is confirmed by performance elements. It means that the employee is asked to do more than keep their seat warm on a workshop day, they will have to use a few minutes each day to learn and demonstrate a relevant skill.

In the right learning management system, employers can keep track of which skills employees have achieved and assign relevant skills, as needed. Ideally, the employee can revisit the learning activities when they need them or jump ahead when they are ready to acquire a new skill.

Transitioning from macro-learning to micro-learning gives your employees control over their learning, is practical, and is immediately applicable – all aspects that adult learners thrive on, according to Malcom Knowles, renowned andragogy expert.

Employee education takes time and resources.  Doesn’t it make sense to have your training hit the mark and make the most impact?   Perhaps micro-learning does just that- short bursts with maximum impact.  You decide.



Glahn, C. (June 20, 2017). Micro Learning in the Workplace and How to Avoid Getting Fooled by Micro Instructionists. Retrieved from https://lo-f.at/glahn/2017/06/micro-learning-in-the-workplace-and-how-to-avoid-getting-fooled-by-micro-instructionists.html

Shank, P. (February 19, 2018). Microlearning, Macrolearning. What Does Research Tell Us? Retrieved from https://elearningindustry.com/microlearning-macrolearning-research-tell-us

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