As the holiday season looms and B2B businesses start to experience a slowdown, more and more of us are starting to feel less motivated to go to work. Family commitments, vacations and Christmas shopping hover on our minds more than the pile of work at our work desks. In fact, research has shown that Christmas is the most stressful month for employees and reduces productivity at work. It is also a reason why companies cut back on training and development initiatives towards the end of the year.
What if someone told you that you could continue training your employees and optimise business at the same time?
Yes, it can be done and the answer is bite sized learning.
Bite sized learning is exactly as it states it is. Information delivered in small chunks to the learner.
As we become more reliant on our smartphones, it has become common for us to use our phones to do everyday tasks such as shopping or booking of tickets. Learning via mobile devices makes sense for modern office employees who travel for client collaborations or work from home. The point of bite sized learning is to be flexible in training. You want training to be easily accessed anytime or at any place by any employee. Rather than spend time coordinating logistics and schedules and having a less than ideal turnout for a face to face class, learners can simply learn at their own pace and convenience via bite-sized learning.
Increase information overload and decreasing half-life of information calls into question how training is being delivered to be effective for employees. Information is critical in the digital age and there is no lack of it, but employees faces the issue of having the right information at the right time. Bite sized learning focuses on a single learning objective or topic at a time. Learners can readily access bite sized courses on their mobile devices, select the content they want to learn at the point of need, without having to go through large chunks of learning materials. Unlike traditional classroom settings or lectures, employees can complete learning in a matter of minutes without much disruption to their daily lives.
The benefit of bite sized learning means that learners do not have a hard time trying to memorise or get their brains crammed with a truck load of information at a single setting. You probably know that our attention spans are getting shorter, shorter than that of a goldfish. Research shows that learners attention dips after 10 mins but rebounds towards the end of a learning experience. The duration of bite sized learning retains learners’ interest in the content, long enough for them to pick up a new skill or gain new knowledge.
The reason for training is ultimately about improving employee performance at work. Underperforming employees can impact team performance, morale and ultimately the company’s bottom line. While formal training is still necessary, there is a need to look for ways to overcome the inefficiencies inherent in formal training if we are to produce efficient learning solutions. This means that we need to embed and support learning as close to our work responsibilities, so that there is a higher chance of application and retention of learning. For example, if an employee requires the use of a seldom-used software, he could simply watch a 3 minute video on the feature he needs, rather than going through a one day course on the use of the software. Learners only need to work through the topics that are meaningful for them at the point of need and support workplace efficiency in completing their tasks. Bite sized learning provide the tools that are essential for improving the performance of employees.
While some may argue that traditional assessments and tests that are carried out immediately upon formal training are good indicators of learning, it is hard to differentiate whether it is the result of short term memory retention and does not guarantee behaviour modification in the long term. On the other hand, repeated use of bite sized learning reinforces workplace learning and leads to improved performance over time.
Mobile learning will continue to grow as devices become more powerful and more pervasive in the workplace. From the creator’s point of view, bite sized modules are less costly and easier to produce too. Training designers has to be highly selective and create experiences and stories that will grab the attention of the learner and meet learning objectives in that short period of time. This implies that only the best and engaging content make it to the cut. If training departments are to be the enablers of their organisation’s innovation and productivity in this age of digital transformation, there is a need to overhaul traditional learning and move to bite sized learning to keep up with the rapid pace of change. Bite sized learning will enable employees to learn all year round and is set to be the next wave in revolutionising corporate training and learning.
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