Micro Learning: Hope Or Hype?

micro learning

Micro Learning: What’s The Deal?

The hospitality industry is full of buzzwords, and sometimes, sifting through the jargon to make sense of it all isn’t easy. However, you might have noticed that when it comes to online hospitality training via LMS, ‘micro learning’ pops up regularly. It’s not a fad, but actually an incredibly useful component of elearning that has the capacity to augment the skills of your staff, and keep them engaged with LMS software.

Here’s a quick explainer before we get into the nuts and bolts of micro learning and why your learning management system should include it. There’s a decent chance you’re actually ‘micro learning’ every day. Ever quickly Googled how to get something to work? Looked up an instructional video on YouTube? That’s micro learning. Essentially micro learning is exposure to easily absorbed information in bite-size chunks, usually accessed at the point of need. Here’s an example: Trying to reset your cooker clock? A quick scan of the relevant section of an instruction booklet is micro learning in action. On a daily basis it’s a strategy for performing tasks that you don’t yet have the information for committed to memory, but when it comes to boosting skills in the workplace, it’s an equally effective approach.

Technology has been a huge, if not the defining factor in making micro learning commonplace – as nearly all our answers now come from web or app sources. Blogs, vlogs, wiki searches or social media reference points like Twitter all combine to provide a steady drip of information via short, digestible chunks throughout our day. So, it’s no surprise that LMS platforms are adopting micro learning as a form of data delivery to assist with hospitality training as part of online courses.

There are plenty of advantages to incorporating micro learning into LMS training. Firstly, since it’s regular behaviour for most of us, we’ve become accustomed to the format. It’s familiar, it’s kind of instant gratification, and gives us control over what we’re learning and ownership of how we learn it. Freedom to choose is something appealing to us all, and autonomy is pretty closely related to satisfaction. There’s a case to be made for an overall shorter attention span in these modern times too, aided and abetted by digital media, but additionally, it’s also fair to say that our personal lives and our jobs are becoming more complex. This in turn has a big impact in terms of how we learn new skills that are becoming increasingly varied, particularly in the fast-paced competitive hospitality industry. We’re developing different ways to learn things – picking up a huge book on a subject to find out a couple of facts isn’t really commonplace anymore. We’re much more likely to reach for a concise, targeted bank of information that we can call up in a search bar.

Finding Time

Available time plays a major role too. In a busy work day, employees – and company founders for that matter – all have a huge number of things to achieve in a limited time. This leaves precious little room for crucial training sessions. If a skills course section is designed to require, say, half a day to engage with and deliver hospitality training, then in all likelihood it’ll get pushed back and left for another day, or worse, to the far-off future ‘when there’s time.’ It almost goes without saying that that training day never comes. However, if a segment of necessary online learning only takes five minutes, then it’s obvious staff will be more likely to engage, and engage regularly. An entertaining five minute podcast that can be listened to in a quiet moment toward the end of shift or a lull in customers has much more appeal than a one hour lecture to attend while ‘real life’ work builds up in the background. Online micro learning should alleviate stress by providing answers to queries. It can be a great option for staff members to reach for when they don’t need to learn a whole new set of skills, but just just add a couple of things to their arsenal.

Which leads us onto another benefit of micro learning via LMS software: Retention. There’s been plenty of research over the years that shows short, frequent exposure to information is more likely to help the recipient to absorb that information. Repetition, perhaps via a number of ways – say through audio, visual and written communication – really helps the information go in and stay there. If this is then delivered in small modules with visible results for the user, plus waypoints and rewards, online learning can then also stimulate a sense of achievement for the learner. Micro learning as part of a longer hospitality course can really build confidence and again, make it more likely that the skills learning will find their way into the workplace. Make it a little fun, like many online training platforms help you to do through gameification and a variety of different media, and you’re onto a winning formula.

Bridging The Gap

When we employ micro learning techniques in our everyday lives, we tend to use it to plug a knowledge gap instantly. Translated into the workplace, the usefulness of micro learning via interactive LMS is just the same. Online training that can be instantly accessed, and takes just a moment to run through can help users solve problems on the job – be it resolving customer queries or more administrative tasks. For instance, a front desk employee at your hotel might have a complicated booking issue that needs a little extra info to unpick, or your restaurant manager might occasionally need to double-check how to perform a task that doesn’t need doing all that often. A mini course created to rapidly run through these types of scenarios can make all the difference in a very short space of time and also removes the need for your staff to rope in other employees to help. In this way, micro learning is truly super-efficient both in terms of time, and resources.

Learning that yields fast, and accurate results is something we can all get behind, and since micro learning can also encourage employees to engage with training software, you’ll likely see them turning to online learning for longer courses too since they’ll have first-hand experience of the benefits overall. Micro hospitality courses can be completed on mobile phones just like you’d Google a question – so the familiarity with format is already there – you’ve just got to make sure the content is available for all to dip into.

In this regard, micro learning can help your teams work together more efficiently. Knowledgeable staff members can also choose to get involved with online training, and impart their skill sets to others by creating quick micro learning resources. And the benefit here is clearly more engagement with learning management systems as a part of the job. Of course, in this case, an LMS with a straightforward user interface is a must, but you can perhaps see how your managers and long-term workers might be able to build online databases piece-by-piece to help their colleagues excel. Building your company’s online training software can be a truly collaborative effort, from creation to testing. Not only is micro learning easy to absorb, micro teaching can be just as easy to do with the help of a great LMS, and teaching can be just as rewarding as learning.

Keep The Bigger Picture In Mind

It’s important to remember that however useful, micro learning isn’t the whole picture. There’s a danger of your folk’s learning becoming disjointed if employees are faced with a whole raft of unconnected mini segments. As with all learning, a proper structure is incredibly important and so micro learning needs to augment an overall program that delivers all the areas you’d like to work on or introduce. Micro learning via a LMS assumes the user has a good grasp of the fundamentals and just delivers specific information when its required in a time-sensitive situation or acts as a ‘refresher’. Parcelling training effectively means a comprehensive view of things needs to be tangible at all times; fail to do this adequately, and your people will end up with a piecemeal understanding of what you require from them. And that’s where confusion and mis-communication can happen.
LMS software can provide a flexible, handy way to learn if you utilise micro learning schemes but it must be in tandem with other lengths of training sessions. Use it to introduce related topics, to refresh memories, encourage interaction or answer immediate questions, but do keep your eye on long-term goals!

And that’s it really, the pro’s to accessible, appealing elearning are pretty clear. Targeted training sessions that really focus on what might be immediately lacking are just one arrow in your quiver when it comes to successful LMS usage but omit it, and your general program might not reach its full potential.