My Firsthand Experience with ACTO’s Microlearning, as a Learner

Claire Lee 6 August 2021

For today’s employees, staying alert and engaged in any learning material can be challenging. In fact, since the year 2000, the average attention span has decreased from twelve seconds to eight seconds. That is less than the nine second attention span of your average goldfish.  On top of that, employees can get overwhelmed balancing their professional deliverables like engaging healthcare providers, and personal responsibilities like getting groceries or taking care of children. Where does training fit in with all this? Surely, the modern employee is looking for new ways to make the most of their time. In this blog post, you will learn what microlearning is, how it benefits life sciences companies, and how it may just become your best friend.

What is microlearning?
Microlearning is a learning methodology that delivers content in short and easily digestible chunks. The purpose of microlearning is to engage learners, increase knowledge retention, and provide content in a more accessible format. 

Imagine this: Would you rather eat an entire gigantic cake in one sitting? Or, would you prefer to savour each slice in intervals on different days? If you try to consume an entire cake (or project) in one day, you’ll feel sick from digesting all that food (or material). Microlearning — AKA eating your cake in smaller slices — offers an attractive alternate solution. 

What benefits does microlearning provide for the life science industry?
As the life science industry continues to evolve, companies must steer away from traditional workplace training models and incorporate microlearning where employees can take advantage of accessible, educational, and engaging content anytime, anywhere, and on any device. Mobilizing the abundance of information that employees face will improve their performance by giving them higher control to define their own personalized learning paths. 

The modern-day employee spends only 1% of a typical work week focusing on training and development, being 4.8 minutes in an 8-hour workday. Alongside, Hermann Ebbinghaus’s 1885 theory, “The Forgetting Curve” suggests that learners lose newly gained knowledge very quickly unless an effort is made to retain it. Keeping these issues in mind, implementing microlearning into life science companies would greatly benefit them as microlearning provides:

  • Clear-cut learning objectives — lays out expected goals for learners in terms of demonstrable skills gained from their training.
  • Specific and targeted information — short and concise content specific to each learner.
  • Accessibility — available across different mobile and web devices, fitting into existing workflow systems seamlessly.
  • Break down of dense information — Short, digestible bursts of information. On average, micro-lessons range from 5-7 minutes long.
  • Various formats — Complex content is broken down into videos, infographics, checklists, and quizzes to engage different learning styles.
  • Knowledge reinforcement over intervals — Enables learners to easily re-visit previously learned information and review it at their own pace.

How can I leverage microlearning?
Microlearning improves any existing training tactics thus further amplifying employee performance. It works to:

  • Provide learners with valuable context — Training can often consist of throwing information at a wall and hoping something sticks. Instead, breaking down content using microlearning provides clear goals, helping learners understand exactly what is expected of them, every step of their training. 
  • Increase learner retention of knowledge — With shrinking attention spans and more information emerging from every angle, a sales rep’s mindshare is premium real estate. Microlearning provides content in bite-sized chunks rather than overwhelming them with a firehose of information.
  • Increase learner engagement with training — Sales reps spend more time working in the field than at their desks, lugging around thick binders and laptops or finding time for lengthy webinars, which is just ineffective. Self-paced microlearning is accessible from their mobile devices, fitting in seamlessly within their busy schedules and existing workflows.
  • Increase learner engagement with content — Everyone learns differently. Some prefer to read while others find demonstrations or listening to subject matter experts, much more engaging. Microlearning is provided in multiple media-rich formats like short videos, documents, checklists highlighting key information, infographics, and quizzes.

I have been and will continue to be an active user of ACTO and its microlearning technology. Throughout the years, and especially with the recent events of the COVID-19 pandemic and the need for physical distancing, our organization faced three main challenges: 

  • Difficulty acquiring learning materials — Acquiring adequate resources was challenging. They were scattered on various platforms making it less accessible.
  • Challenges with group training — Social distancing restricted in-person training and team meetings, creating confusion around at-home training methods. 
  • Difficulty inducing excitement and enthusiasm — Our organization went remote, upsetting many who loved the interactive livelihood of our organization, making learning difficult.

When it seemed as if we had lost the best aspects of the experience due to the pandemic, our organization introduced ACTO, which has now become our most useful and effective resource to date. ACTO’s microlearning modules worked to deliver our content to learners in short and easily digestible chunks. For one, microlearning delivered any necessary information on one singular platform, making it accessible and easy to use. From this, learners could track their progress, manage their study requirements, and work at their own pace and comfort.

Likewise, mobilizing all our resources improved group studying as anyone could access information at any time, any place or on any device. Furthermore, microlearning helped us balance our time between our learning and social life, making training a pleasant experience with little to no stress. As a whole, microlearning improved our organization in terms of engaging our members, increasing our knowledge retention, and providing all applicable content in an effective format. Not only did the microlearning tactic improve this year’s experience despite the circumstances of the COVID-19 pandemic, but it has also given us a more efficient and reliable way of training for us to continue to utilize, moving forward.

It is without a doubt that the modern employee is overwhelmed with information and demands on their time. With microlearning, you too could find ways to manage these demands and make the most of your workplace and learning experiences. That way, you can savour every bite of your cake!

Thinking about how to apply microlearning to onboarding, product training or clinical training? Download this guide that enlists use cases from 100+ companies that have already implemented it in their training programs.

Claire Lee