Last September, we published an article in eLearning Industry, a reference website that gathers interesting articles about pedagogical design, educational trends, authoring tools… and other topics directly related with teaching and learning processes in digital environments. You can find the original publication at: Lifelong Learning In Companies Of The 21st century.
Lifelong learning and especially continuous training in the business world is becoming increasingly important in a world of constant renovation and change. It is precisely these changes what makes us live in an accelerated way and expect everything to be immediate. In this article we will see which characteristics workers demand in the corporate training processes and how some platforms are addressing corporate training through microlearning.
The Information and Communication Technologies (ICT), which are subject to connectivity, have been established as something inherent in people’s lives and have completely transformed the way in which we interact with the world, mix with others, learn, collaborate, socialize, work, produce, and even the way in which we think and feel. These activities are not independent; on the contrary, they blend in and nourish each other, marking up a symbiotic relationship.
Therefore, we assume that the changes produced on how we obtain information have also involved the modification of our habits on content consumption. For example, the average amount of time that a user devotes to the reading of a piece of news has been significantly reduced. The same happens regarding web pages: Visitors decide in just a few seconds whether the information that is being offered is relevant and interesting for them or not. This tendency only strengthens as the time devoted to navigate grows and a greater diversity of information is consulted. That is to say, the level of depth at which we immerse ourselves in content has diminished.
Analyzing the impact these changes can entail in people in the future is not a simple task. The evidence is that we consume information in a way that is different from the traditional one, searching for immediate answers or solutions that deal with everyday challenges. These are comprehensive changes.
At working level, they affect the communication between the company and its clients, its own employees, the infrastructures, the work dynamics etc., and especially training processes. We are witnessing not just a technological issue, but a more profound revolution: A paradigm shift in communication and social relationships.
How Do Employees Picture Their Training?
Knowing how to adapt and take profit of the opportunities that technology offers us is vital to the companies of the 21st century, just as it is to take into account its social implications.
In this regard, 9 tendencies that we should take into consideration have been detected:
- There is a strong preference for the communication channels that allow their use both in a synchronous and asynchronous way.
- Employees expect flexibility at all levels. Flexibility becomes a necessity, not a demand.
- What is pursued is the self-management of the time, the resources, and the tools used to work.
- Workers fuse together their personal and professional lives. Promoting a higher participation at taking decisions regarding ICT use and the choice of the services that the company uses should be something normal.
- The Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) phenomenon is increasingly remarkable. The organization must be prepared to come to terms with it and facilitate the use of devices and services that, a priori, could seem dispensable for the performance of the employees’ tasks.
- The actions supported by technology and carried out in informal settings can serve as a bridge and provide solutions to problems that belong to more formal settings.
- The information presented in a clear and straightforward manner is preferred. Users are focused in the core of the content and skip the superfluous.
- Workers are used to consume information that seems interesting and appealing. In this sense, multimedia content has become especially relevant.
- It is indispensable to consider mobility as a fundamental basis of the business. Not only for the sake of offering a better product to clients or obtaining a wider dissemination, but also with a view to facilitate ubiquity to workers.
Non Formal Learning
We find ourselves in a society of accelerated paces, immediate information, and straightforward answers. We have noted the demands of employees in this age of permanent connectivity. However, despite the fact that lifelong learning is considered more and more as something indispensable, it appears that the models that are currently being applied are not fully satisfactory.
Nowadays training takes place throughout our life, learning processes may occur anywhere and anytime, mostly in an informal manner.
Microlearning is a strategy of combined learning, where two components stand out: The demand of information just-in-time and bite sized learning. It is precisely with these characteristics that we aim to address the above points, proposing a more flexible and straightforward training method.
In a broad sense, microlearning is a term that can be used to describe the way in which many people are carrying out an informal learning and acquiring knowledge by making use of the micro contents structure, particularly those that become shorter and quicker.
Many people are already using services with these characteristics. For example, Twitter or YouTube are two clear examples of platforms that we frequently turn to when we need to give a quick answer to our interests or concerns.
Services as Grovo have made good use of the potential of micro videos and have created a whole training platform employing microlearning.
Duolingo is another successful example. Little pieces of content designed exclusively so that users can learn a new language, taking into account their level, their progress, applying gamification mechanics… Everything has been thought of to be adapted to the needs and expectations of users.
Other services as Snackson fuse the formal and non formal setting, addressing the corporate environment. It offers microcontents in multiple formats, allowing organizations to personalize them and adapt them to their needs and context.
The options are diverse, we have a great variety of devices within our reach; services that, while not created with educational purposes, have a strong potential in this field when they are applied with creativity; platforms that use mobility, immediacy, and simplicity for their methodologies in order to satisfy people’s expectations. Be as it may, we should not forget the main aim: Learn more, better, and in the most entertaining way possible.
Post translated by Carolina Serna