If you’re looking to advance your career or pivot to a new industry, then you’re probably checking out ways you can beef up your resume. Maybe you’re considering an MBA, a bootcamp, or browsing upcoming conferences. Or perhaps you’re considering the DIY route and looking for podcast and book recommendations.
While any of these options will help you learn and could boost your resume, the best way to level up your career prospects is to dedicate yourself to becoming a lifelong learner, which is where microlearning comes into play.
Conferences and classes are bursting with information, but you may feel limited by the course schedule and teaching style. This works for some people, but it can be expensive and hard to fit into a budget or daily schedule. Microlearning can help you take charge of your education by providing bite-sized lessons. Over time, you can build up your learnings for a more thorough and robust understanding of the subject.
The best part is you can apply your specific lessons to your life, career, and goals to build each of these out over time and see what really works and what doesn’t. Your consistent growth can improve job satisfaction and career opportunities, putting you in the spotlight for the next raise or promotion.
What Is Microlearning?
Microlearning has become a popular workplace trend as a learning process that breaks topics into highly specific, concise lessons. This allows the learner to build understanding and confidence at their own pace.
Microlearning is great for tackling new information and closing knowledge gaps. If you already have a foundation of knowledge for a topic, then it can be frustrating to wade through the basics for the few new ideas you were looking for. Khan Academy and TED Talks are a great example of how you may fill in knowledge gaps.
The Benefits of Microlearning
The most important part of any lesson plan is that it’s tailored to a learner’s needs, and that the learner is actually able to retain information. Microlearning’s flexibility for learners is one of its biggest benefits. Here are some other reasons to consider microlearning:
- Maximize time by preparing lessons for on-the-go and fitting them in during breaks or commutes.
- Go in-depth to build a solid learning foundation and improve retention with practice.
- Find what works by experimenting with videos, articles, or podcasts to find what format works best for you.
- Save money with free resources like TED Talks, YouTube, and expert podcast hosts who provide episodic insights and lessons for you to follow.
- Fill knowledge gaps with lessons targeting exactly what you need to know instead of wading through beginner resources.
The Disadvantages of Microlearning
Microlearning is great for career development, employee training, and specific topics that you could use a refresher on. However, they’re not a total replacement for other learning systems, and you should keep these in mind when you get started:
- It’s not immediate and microlearning is about regular commitments to learning.
- It isn’t easier, but it may feel easier. This is actually a benefit unless you assume it will be easy. You still have to actively learn and practice your lessons.
- Some topics just don’t work, including complicated topics like global economics. It’s great for learning about things like mortgages, but you likely won’t become an expert on personal finance in just a few lessons.
- There’s work upfront to finding and compiling the resources that fit your needs and that you trust. This work pays off in the long-run, though, with easy-to-access lessons.
5 Ways to Begin Microlearning
You may not realize it, but you’ve probably already prioritized microlearning in your day-to-day life. If you’ve watched a YouTube video to learn how to change your oil or customize a spreadsheet, then you know exactly how beneficial short, specific, and detailed lessons can be.
Here are some ways you can get started using microlearning as part of your professional development:
1. Game Groups
Gamifying your learning helps make the topic fun and builds a positive relationship with studying. You can get started by setting goals and rewards, or inviting peers to join you with a competitive leaderboard or a trivia night.
2. Video Clips
Videos are designed to be relatively short and engaging, and YouTube has made learning largely accessible from anywhere. While YouTube playlists are a great place to learn, make sure you’ve done your research on any channels or personalities you’re watching to ensure your lessons are accurate.
3. Podcast Playlists
Like videos, podcasts are a great way to consume information on the go and from personalities you enjoy and trust. They’ve become hugely popular because they’re easy to listen to while driving, working, or exercising, but it’s important that you give your playlist your active attention if you hope to learn effectively.
4. Quiz Collections
Considering a quiz may bring flashbacks of test anxiety and stressful finals weeks, but in this scenario, quizzing isn’t about checking a box that you learned something new. Instead, it’s a means to practice your memory recall and retention so you can count on it when you need it most.
5. Team Talks
Having a team to study with is not only great for motivation, but it can also improve your lesson retention. Active learning is the process of working or chatting through a subject or problem, and studies show this is the best way to learn and practice your skills.
Keeping up with your professional development is the best way to impress your employer and expand your job prospects. Whether you want to climb the career ladder or ease your daily workload, microlearning can help you level up your skills, prove your value, and earn you more money come your next review.