Microlearning and Microcredentials: An Upskilling Solution of the Future
Education doesn’t end the day we graduate. Today’s professional disciplines run on knowledge that’s advancing incredibly quickly. Workers need to embrace constant, career-long learning, or they risk falling behind and losing relevance. That’s why upskilling and reskilling are so important.
But how can busy professionals fit all this education into their daily lives? One increasingly popular method is known as microlearning. These small, bite-size units of education are emerging as an effective, accessible way for employees to keep up with their industries.
Microlearning has many benefits:
- Improves knowledge recall and retention
- Highly customizable and adaptable
- Easily accessible, with a low barrier to entry
Here’s a quick introduction to microlearning, and how it can help workers everywhere continue to advance and excel.
What is microlearning and why is it so effective?
Microlearning is just what the name suggests — learning new information in small, easily digestible chunks. Traditional reskilling and upskilling use long classroom sessions or extended courses. Microlearning takes no longer than 10 minutes per session, or even as little as one minute!
People have been shown to have better retention of information they’ve learned this way. Participants build their knowledge through more and more microlearning sessions. This forces them to recall, and put into practice, the information they learned before. Repeatedly recalling and using this information shows the brain that the knowledge has an immediate, practical application. This promotes a deeper understanding, making it more likely to be remembered long-term.
Microlearning techniques for upskilling and reskilling
There are many ways to approach microlearning. Short YouTube-style videos, learning apps like Duolingo and Headspace, or short text prompts and lessons are a few examples. Microlearning can even happen over social media. Short-form video like Instagram Reels and TikTok can be an ideal way for employers to share important new knowledge with their people. Across formats, gamification, quizzes and self-assessments are all hallmarks of the microlearning style.
Microlearning is especially great for industries that are based on highly technical, rapidly advancing knowledge, like healthcare, computer science and certain trades. Obviously, it’s not well-suited to every topic — some things really do need extended, in-person, hands-on training. But even in those fields, microlearning can be a good way to upgrade or maintain professional knowledge.
Microlearning is all about staying current in your industry, without taking too much time away from the realities of day-to-day work.
Benefits of microlearning
Microlearning is so powerful because it easily fits around people’s existing duties and responsibilities. It’s less time consuming and offers a lower barrier to entry than more traditional forms of professional learning and development.
Bite-sized information makes it easier for learners to stay engaged with the content. If employees are feeling distracted, preoccupied with other tasks or just don’t have the longest attention span, that’s OK. In some cases, all they need to do is take a few minutes to learn something new.
Microlearning is also highly adaptable, and well-suited for self-directed learning. Microlearning content is usually accessible from mobile devices, so employees can log on and start learning whenever and wherever it feels right.
Finally, microlearning is easily personalized. Often, traditional courses include a lot of information, and not all of it is relevant to everyone taking the course. Microlearning solves that problem. Learners have the power to choose only the most relevant micro-units. That saves valuable time.
What are microcredentials?
Microcredentials are accreditations earned through microlearning. These credits allow learners to demonstrate to current or future employers that they’ve kept their professional knowledge up to date. That’s helpful in both their current role, and as they move forward on their career journey.
Typically, micro credentials are earned through microlearning programs created by academic institutions. Informal microlearning that is self-directed,administered by an employer, or uses resources from YouTube, social media or apps likely wouldn’t result in official credentials.
Importantly, microcredentials are the result of assessing the participant’s gained skill or competency. They are not awarded automatically just for having completed the material or program.
Just like microlearning itself, microcredentials are personal and adaptable. They can be stacked and combined at the discretion of the learner. That creates a customized program that’s most relevant for each individual.
The learning of tomorrow
One thing’s for sure — reskilling and upskilling are non-negotiable in today’s workforce. Microlearning is an effective strategy to help professionals make growth, development and education an integral part of how they work.
LC Extension has resources to help your team navigate the new world of hiring. It’s not easy to develop the skills and strategic knowledge to thrive in today’s market, but we’re here to help you get started. Learn more about our offerings today.