Is Micro Learning a Better Way to Train Our Workforce?



“Microlearning conveys information in a short, targeted manner that delivers key points of information delivered in a way that our brains work,” explains Carol Leaman, CEO of Axonify.
Adrienne M. Selko | Jul 08, 2019

The days of piling into a large auditorium of a company and sitting for hours, watching PowerPoint presentations might just be over.

It turns out, that way of teaching information isn’t very effective since it’s hard for people to absorb so much information at one time.

In fact, a learning curve study shows that if you don’t reinforce what you learn, you forget 90% of it within 30 days.

There is a better way to learn and it’s called microlearning.

“Microlearning conveys information in a short, targeted manner that delivers key points of information delivered in a way that our brains work,” explains Carol Leaman, CEO of Axonify.

The training involves presenting content on a regular basis,often daily, and using three neuroscience techniques:

Spaced Repetition: Practicing a new topic repeatedly over increased periods of time to deepen memory

Retrieval Practice: Using questions to strengthen memory by forcing the brain to recall information

Confidence-based Assessment: Measuring an employee’s expressed confidence in a topic to improve memory and self-awareness

“Technology, such as artificial intelligence (AI) is able to close the knowledge gap,” says Leaman. “If someone has not mastered a certain lesson or doesn’t feel confident about their grasp of the knowledge, the program repeats that lesson. So, the learning is really controlled by the individual and their measurement of how comfortable they feel with the information. It’s a much better way to learn and master job duties.”

One example of how to use these short lessons that fit into the workflow is in the warehouse. While someone is waiting for their forklift battery to recharge, they can log into a microlearning platform and within in five minutes, they can complete their required certifications.

One company, Merck, used this learning to improve its safety culture. Wanting to ingrain safety best practices and behaviors they used the Axonify’s microlearning systems across 52 global manufacturing sites, with 24,000 employees. With an 80% voluntary participation, the company saw a decrease in the recordable incident rate (RIR) within a year. They also experienced a decrease in lost time injury frequency rate (LTIFR).

The high participation rate is due to what Leaman feels is a key point of this learning. “As the learning takes place on hand-held devices, it’s very easy to use and it puts the employee in charge. Personalize learning is appreciated. Everyone wants to do their job well, so this learning helps fill those gaps in knowledge.”

The other angle to this learning is there is a sense of freedom and flexibility when someone can learn what they need or what they want at a flexible pace.

It gives people freedom, says Leaman.

Building skills through this learning is an important tool to help the manufacturing industry as a whole address the issue of a national skills gap. “To train, attract and retain employees, providing immediate tracking helps them get on a faster career track. As employees become competent more quickly they would likely to stay longer. And training current employees enables the company to hold onto them as well.”


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