Remember the 1990s when the internet was in its infancy and information was not as readily available as it is today? In those days, most instruction took place in-person, in a classroom, and if you wanted to learn something new, you didn’t reach for your keyboard or phone. Instead, you reached for, dare I say it- a physical encyclopedia for information. For language learners during this era, no mobile apps existed, and elearning software was not as intuitive as it is today. Today, with the advent of the internet, we can find and absorb information, anytime, anywhere. The lure of checking smartphones multiple times a day competes with learner attention spans and contributes to the evolution of the way people learn. As a result, shortened content is becoming more popular. This is the fundamental concept of microlearning and we engage in it more often than we think.
What is Microlearning?
In its simplest form, microlearning is a method of learning that delivers information in a smaller and easier-to-digest format. Yet, microlearning isn’t only bite-sized training. Microlearning is hyper-focused and offers the right amount of information in the right amount of time, to help learners achieve specific goals. There is also an exact science behind how our brain functions and microlearning. Microlearning activates our working memory capacity and attention spans and gives only enough information to help learners achieve a specific objective. For Learning and Development (L&D) managers looking to make a big organizational impact, microlearning captures attention spans, encourages employee engagement, and helps demonstrate a return on investment (ROI) through improved employee productivity with efficient, personalized instruction. In language training programs, microlearning has the ability to make an indelible impact.
The Impact on Attention Spans
Think about the average time you spend watching a YouTube video or any video on social media. Chances are you won’t handcuff yourself into watching content that is three hours long. You’ve already heard the ubiquitous notion that attention spans are decreasing. Microsoft’s 2015 study comparing human attention spans to less than that of a goldfish, is debatable. What is true though, is learners pay more attention when content is delivered in short chunks as opposed to an hours-long seminar. Further, when content is personalized to specific learner needs, microlearning caters to short attention spans by delivering information in smaller, fun-sized pieces. Learning is immediate and puts employees in control of how quickly they gain new skills and can apply them to the workplace or in the real-world.
Shorter Content Can Mean Longer Engagement
We recently wrote about the rules of engagement for employees in language training programs. Human resources managers and other L&D professionals often rightly bemoan the challenges of employee engagement in a workplace language training program. Yet, boosting employee engagement need not be an uphill battle. The intrinsic factors that boost employee engagement include providing relevant, interesting, career-aligned content that empowers employees to achieve their goals. Microlearning in language training has the potential to accomplish higher employee engagement with short-form content and vocabulary needed to thrive in the real-world. Further, microlearning encourages language retention. The more employees are engaged, the longer they stay on the platform and with a lower barrier to entry, even the novice language learner is encouraged to study more. Ironically, shorter content can mean longer engagement.
Mix & Match Content for a Better Personalized Experience
We say this all the time: a one-size-fits-all approach to language learning does not work. Language learning works best when learners practice with content that is engaging, relevant, and helps them accomplish goals. The good thing about microlearning is that learners can mix & match lessons and take them in an order most appealing to them. Voxy lessons are only five to ten minutes long, making it easier for learners to fit into a commute, lunch hour, or downtime. With media extracted from real-world scenarios, learners in a Voxy program are exposed to the content that directly contributes to their success. Microlearning further encourages learner agency, the concept of a learner taking initiative and ownership of their learning, rather than solely relying on the requirements imposed by administrators. Learner agency gives learners the voice and choice to advocate for themselves.
Voxy enhances learner user experience with content that is personalized and able to boost engagement through our encouragement of microlearning. Our career-aligned courses run the gamut from beginner business English classes to English for executive leadership. Voxy can embolden your team with the efficient language training they need today to achieve their goals for tomorrow.
Interested in ways to include microlearning in your language program? Reach out to us.
Alexis is one of Voxy’s Marketing Managers. Part of the Marketing team, she helps showcase how Voxy improves careers and performance by breaking down workplace language barriers. She has a Bachelor’s degree in Business and many years of experience leading marketing strategy for multinational organizations. Prior to joining Voxy, Alexis was on the Global Marketing team at WebMD.