Microlearning is the training delivery method of the future, and long days in front of a PowerPoint presentation may soon be a thing of the past. As more millennials are joining the construction workforce, the demand for microlearning’s short lessons is likely to rise. Whether training is created in-house or by an outside design/software company, construction companies need to begin planning for this now.
What is Microlearning?
Microlearning is quick training offering condensed information to employees whenever and wherever they need it. For instance, watching a video on how to properly operate a forklift would help an employee who is about to operate one.
The lessons are usually two to five minutes long. They provide the information necessary to complete a particular task, leaving out all unnecessary details.
Lessons are usually presented in multimedia platforms and are delivered directly to mobile devices. Some notification systems can detect an employee’s location, so specific training can be pushed out to them as they walk into a hazardous environment or prior to beginning a task.
Microlearning lessons often serve to reinforce topics that have already been explored in-depth in other training sessions. They work as refresher courses addressing the task at hand.
These lessons can be created by employers for little to no cost and distributed through email and other messaging software. Service providers can also help companies design their own lessons and offer distribution through push notifications and other smart technologies.
Is Microlearning Effective?
We’ll spare you all the [scientific details] , but the short answer is yes. Over the years, attention spans have shortened, and microlearning’s short bursts of information allow our brains to absorb information quickly and move it into long-term memory.
- Microlearning allows employees to train at their own pace, wherever they are and whenever they are ready to learn. The delivery of just-in-time training keeps the topic fresh in their minds.
- Shorter courses are more focused, providing employees with only relevant information. This makes retention and long-term learning easier.
- Employees are presented only small pieces of information, which makes comprehension easier without spending too much effort and time.
Microlearning Tools for Construction
Lessons can be prepared in many different formats, spanning from videos to podcasts to infographics. Here are some types of microlearning lessons and ideas for using them for training in construction.
Videos – Videos can be used to present almost any information—to demonstrate the proper use of safety gear, show the right way to drive a forklift, or how to install a component in the building structure. They are inexpensive to produce and can easily be sent out via email or social media to those who need them.
Infographics – Infographics can be used to show a process or a decision tree, or to illustrate step-by-step how something is done. Graphic designers can make them look more professional, but free software is enough to prepare a simple graphic.
Static resources – Static resources, such as pdf documents or short ebooks, can be distributed as part of an on-going training course. They can also be used to provide brief reminders before performing a task. They may include checklists, procedures, or other more detailed information that can’t be presented graphically.
Podcasts/Webcasts – Use podcasts and webcasts to demonstrate a process or discuss a topic in more detail. Topics might include customer service training or how to train other workers. A slide presentation or screenshots can help illustrate points that need a visual representation.
Gamification – Turning training into a game helps employees retain information. Ideas include setting up an interactive quiz with prizes for those who score the highest, or a badge system for completing a set amount of learning lessons.
Geofencing – Software advancements allow pushing out training messages to only those employees who need it. For instance, if only one section of the job site is dealing with open trenches, notifications can be sent to only employees working in that area. The software can also send the necessary training to those entering a specified area.
Performance support tools – For specific performance-based tasks, checklists or quick videos can be sent out to make sure that quality standards are being met.
Here are some tips to keep your employees engaged with your microlearning lessons:
- Create lessons to resemble social media content—on-demand, engaging, and media-rich.
- Engage employees from the start and keep their attention until the end of the lesson. A short lesson is no guarantee that employees will stay through boring content and a flat presentation.
- Cut to the chase. Do away with history, background information, and theories. Deliver the “how-to” right away.
This new training technique is a perfect fit for those who grew up using Twitter and watching videos on their phones and computers. Companies who adopt this new training method will be ahead of the curve in the future.