Not all learning is created equal. While certain types of learning like compliance training and necessary certifications require large chunks of time, other things like incorporating a new skill or refreshing old knowledge don't have to.
Bite-sized learning works by breaking down concepts into small, digestible pieces. You'd be surprised what you can learn in just a few minutes.
What is Bite-Sized Learning?
Bite-size learning, also known as micro-learning, is the process of breaking up large blocks of information into smaller sections. This method is made for a world where multitasking is necessary and short attention spans are a reality. Research shows bite-size eLearning can increase information transfer and result in better understanding, application, and retention than a day-long equivalent. Cost-wise, it can prove to save up to 30 percent.
Benefits of bite-sized learning
We’ve talked a little bit about the benefits of bite-sized learning, but let’s explore them a bit deeper. There are several pros to breaking your learning up into smaller modules, including:
1. It's Faster
Bite-sized learning is less time commitment for employees. When a team is on a deadline or traveling to a tradeshow, for example, training can take a backseat. When teams are told they can need to allocate just 20 minutes of their day to training, it’s a lot easier to fit into their schedule.
2. You Can Get Specific
Even though a topic may be tailored to one team such as sales training, this topic could be so large it entails a three-day training session. With bite-sized learning, this same course can be broken up into several smaller subset topics. And this training could take place over a longer period of time. For example, one module may cover customer service and another closing the deal. This tailored approach, allows employees to absorb each section of a topic before moving on to the next. And if one employee needs to spend longer on one topic, it allows other employees to work ahead.
3. Easier Content Creation
If you are tasked with creating eLearning modules or work with a Learning Management System (LMS) to create these, complex topics take time to finesse. But with bite-sized learning, it’s easier. Not only are the courses shorter, but you only need to focus on one topic at a time. This allows you to be more creative in your course design and what the desired learning outcome should be.
We briefly touched on this one, but in this digital age, we rely more and more on our phones. Your corporate training program needs to be mobile-friendly. When an employee is traveling for work or a sales team is out on a call, bite-sized learning should literally be at their fingertips. Let’s say you have a team out of the office for a new pitch and they have downtime before their meeting. It’s a lot easier to take a quick training course on their phone than commit to a day-long course back in the office.
5. Increased Retention
Let’s face it, we all have 50 thoughts in our heads at one time. Even though employees may be physically sitting in a classroom, this does not mean they are mentally focused on training. And the longer a training session goes on, the less engaged employees become. With bite-sized learning, short bursts of information allow for more information retained. And since employees are giving up less of their time all at once, they are more willing “to be present” during training.
The best benefit of bite-sized learning is it saves companies money. Think about the amount of time spent in training where these employees could be at their desks working. Or the money used to hire training facilitators. And the money spent on course development. All of these costs can be reduced with bite-sized learning. Training happens in shorter periods of time and courses become more compact. This allows for more workable hours and less lengthy course building.
How to Utilize Bite-Sized Learning
Now that you know some of the advantages of bite-sized learning, let’s talk about how to implement it in your organization. Here are some ways to incorporate it into your training:
No pun intended! It’s hard for anyone to change and introducing change it equally as hard. So start small. Don’t overhaul your entire training program, but instead start introducing bite-sized learning little by little.
Make sure you let your employees know there will be changes to the LMS. Tell them the reasons why you are implementing bite-sized learning. And more importantly, how this will benefit them directly like fewer blocks of training time and more flexibility in the program itself.
Just because employees will be spending fewer hours at a time training, does not mean they will be more engaged. Spend time developing training materials and modules that will keep and hold an employee’s attention from beginning to end.
Create timely content
Consider creating bite-sized learning content that fits employee needs now. For example, let’s say your marketing team is redesigning collateral materials. A few quick training sessions on what components every website needs to draw traffic and the best website layouts to keep clients from clicking away would make sense. Use this implementation period as a time to fill training gaps within your organization.
The whole point of bite-sized learning is to be flexible so don’t lose sight of this when implementing your program. You want these training sessions to be easily accessed and easily understood by all employees. Think about how different departments will internalize the information. And consider how one employee may learn differently from the next. You may also be an international company so make sure these training sessions can be translated easily.
The last step is to evaluate how these bite-sized learning sessions are going.
• Retaining the information?
• Applying what they've learned?
Run reports to see what's working and what isn't. Also, ask your administrators and employees for feedback and make adjustments.
Incorporating Shorter Modules Into Existing Training Sessions
After you lay the groundwork for bite-sized learning, you may ask how do you starting using it. Here are some examples of types of training and how they can be modified with bite-sized learning.
Chances are you employ a sales team that spends a good portion on client calls outside the office. These team members do not have blocks of time to sit in training sessions. Bite-sized learning sessions allow them to learn on their time.
Sales training can incorporate frequently asked questions and the use of video tailored to a mobile environment. You also want to match the work style of a sales team member and their training. Using frequently asked questions you can provide your employees with quick scenarios and ask how they might answer these. The use of video will engage a sales team that thrives in environments with sound, graphics, and a narrator guiding them through the module.
For compliance, employees need to be up-to-speed on new laws, and regulations or to stay current with their designations. Bite-sized learning can be used with any facet of compliance training.
Incorporate videos, scenarios, or news events in short training sessions for compliance. This will take subjects that tend to be complex and simplify them in a fun way. You can always add a takeaway to this training so employees have a follow-up if need be.
Depending on what your industry does, some or all of your employees need safety training. If your industry is construction, it’s what to do if an accident arises. Or if you work in a corporate office building, there needs to be training on what to do in case of a fire.
Interactive training videos, images, and charts when training on safety issues are interactive and short. This is an area that is crucial in training but often seen as a time waster. So using bite-sized learning creates quick sessions that are mobile-friendly and engaging.
There are always new software rollouts. And some employees will learn faster than others. A way for everyone to get on board quickly is to use bite-sized learning. Short sessions will help all employees retain the new information.
Using a short video to demonstrate the new software is great. Another way is through an online training session where key features are demonstrated, employees are asked to repeat these, and then an assessment is made of how they did. This allows employees to go back through parts of the session they did not fully understand the first time.
Since you know time is money and that it costs a lot to hire new employees, you want them to feel welcome for the start and stay! As part of their new employee onboarding process, utilize microlearning so that they can integrate faster and better into your organization.
Instead of a folder of information, use your online learning platform to create a bite-sized learning welcome video from your CEO. You can also use short training sessions to fill out necessary forms, gain access to key software programs, and even for fun like a quiz on where different departments sit. New hire training is necessary, but when you break it into smaller sections, it’s easier to go through and understand.
Product or service training
No matter what industry you are in, you have changes, tweaks over even overhauls to your product or service offerings. Every employee from sales to marketing to even admins needs to understand what these are. And training is a great way to make sure everyone understands the workings of your products or services.
Product training lends itself well to bite-sized learning since it can be customized. For example, a new employee may need different training than let’s say your seasoned top salesperson would. Using short videos, infographics, and quizzes each session can be tailored by how much a person knows about your offerings and also how in-depth their knowledge needs to be.
Taking the Next Steps
Now that you know some of the advantages of bite-sized learning and how to incorporate this training for your employees, it’s time to start. If you’re still not sure how to build bite-sized learning into your company, consider using a Learning Management System provider that can help.