How To Incorporate Microlearning Into Your Training Programs
Posted by Michael S. on September 10, 2019 in Manufacturer Focus

We have all heard about—and many of us have experienced—the skills gap within manufacturing.


First off, it’s real. And with new technology coming out as part of Industry 4.0, it will continue to widen if we don’t do something about it. I have been following this issue closely, which is why we partnered with Steve Trautman last year to talk about the importance of knowledge transfer.


Fortunately, there is a learning strategy that can help you deal with the skills gap and overcome some of the training issues you may be facing. This strategy is called microlearning.


Microlearning isn’t new. In fact, it has been around for centuries. It’s how we teach our kids when they are little. The basic concept is that we break everything down into smaller bits and repeat them over and over, which helps with learning and reinforcement.


For example, when talking to an infant, we don’t say, “Mommy is the most important person in your life.” Instead, we repeatedly say, “Mommy.” Once the child has that part down, we move on to the next tidbit of learning.


Before training your employees, analyze the task, skill, or job, and break it down into smaller bits. Then, teach those micro bits in a logical and systematic way. Teach in a way that the first learned skill is the foundation, and then build on it by delivering the rest in sequence.


Microlearning should be delivered with these thoughts in mind:


  • Repetition. Practice the newly learned skills over and over. You can use tools like eLearning, AR, or VR to help with that.
  • Retrieval. Use repetitive questions, games, AR, or VR to see if the brain can retrieve the newly learned information.
  • Assessment. Use real-world testing to assess a trainee’s understanding and confidence. You can use AR or AI basic skills testing and analysis to increase the trainee’s self-awareness and understanding of where help might be needed.


Here are some tools that complement microlearning:


  • eLearning
  • Videos
  • Games
  • Augmented reality (AR)
  • Virtual reality (VR)
  • Artificial intelligence (AI)


In addition to making training easier to deliver, these tools can be used to provide real-time feedback regarding what a trainee has learned, retained, or needs help with.


Bob Pike, who specializes in training trainers, suggests that content be broken into 20-minute intervals with interaction every 8 minutes. 


A few additional interesting facts on training and retention.


  1. After one hour, people retain less than half of what was presented.
  2. After one day, people forget more than 70% of was taught.


When a trainee struggles, you can use a tutor-style support system to provide additional coaching. When choosing a trainer, keep in mind that the person who best understands the task may not be the best trainer. You need someone who can interact well with a variety of personalities and learning styles. Be aware of this when you select your trainer.


I believe microlearning can help your workforce gain new skills, increasing their value to your organization and helping you deal with the skills gap in a more effective way. 

Michael S. is our Manufacturing guru
I have over 40 years experience in a broad range of manufacturing areas. Starting with an apprenticeship in Germany I’ve worked my way through a variety of positions within the manufacturing field. I got my start as a Tool and Die maker. I next became a supervisor of a class A tool room, then manager of a machining department. I was exposed to lean manufacturing in the mid 90s and adapted the lean philosophy. Loving and teaching the lean approach, I moved on to become a Continuous Improvement manager which led to a job as a manufacturing manager. I joined Acuity in 2015 as their manufacturing expert. I hope to evolve how manufacturers deal with and think about insurance companies, as well as be a resource to my fellow employees – enabling them to better understand the unique needs of manufacturers.

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Posted By: Michael S. on November 8, 2019 in Manufacturer Focus
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