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Microlearning FAQs: Learn How to Get Smarter Faster

Dec 26, 2017

Attention is a hot commodity these days.  

Not only are there more ways to consume highly individualized media than ever before, but increasing demands on people’s time at work and home often make the idea of pursuing professional development opportunities feel like an unattainable luxury. That’s one reason the organization is reimagining education.

Education is one of four key strategic pillars the Society has identified that deliver the most value to OSH practitioners and professionals. There’s a reason for that: The future success of the profession depends on OSH personnel getting the training they need to consistently improve. The Society's three other strategic initiatives – communities, advocacy and standards – all owe something to a curious and educated OSH workforce. We are committed to providing the latest and most useful information possible to the OSH community, but more than that, we are committed to educational innovation and making professional development more accessible.  

What does reimagining education look like in practice? It starts with identifying the many ways individuals learn. Whereas formal learning methods such as attending an on-site lecture or hour-long webinar are effective for some people, others absorb information better when it’s delivered informally, using methods such as video micromessages or short online articles. Lying somewhere within or just outside this spectrum, a third category of social learners value the chance to learn from others or process what they’ve learned by participating in group conversations.  

The next step is producing events, materials and digital tools that contribute to this three-tiered educational approach. Microlearning, an informal training method that has gained popularity in recent years, is emerging as an effective way to convey important concepts in short amounts of time. Is microlearning right for you? Here are three of our most frequently asked questions.

1. What is microlearning?

The term “microlearning” refers to the delivery of educational content in short, standalone bursts, or “modules.” Each module comprehensively addresses one learning objective using videos, text, images or audio. Microlearning can be an effective delivery method for employee manuals, improving workplace culture or delivering updates more efficiently. In addition to offering quick lessons that are easy to access on the go, targeted microlearning is often less expensive and more effective for learners than traditional classes or training sessions.

2. How is microlearning different from other professional development options?

As opposed to group education methods, which often cover a broad range of topics and cater to a wide variety of experience levels, microlearning focuses on one subject at a time, provides the most important information upfront and is tailored to more precise learner segments. By condensing and dividing training materials, trainers allow learners to absorb small bits of information at a time. Asking learners to process less information per sitting, with a shorter overall time commitment, allows them to absorb information at their own pace. 

3. What are the benefits of microlearning?

A major benefit of microlearning is flexibility. Learners can access and view modules through their mobile devices in five minutes or less and utilize educational content wherever they are. Another benefit is specificity. Rather than attempting to fully comprehend complex topics, microlearning makes it possible to locate and grasp specialized information on-demand. Third, when OSH professionals take advantage of microlearning opportunities through the Society, they will benefit from the expertise of their peers. Our developing microlearning catalog includes contributions from individual chapters, practice specialties and common interest groups that address problems OSH professionals and field workers face every day.


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