Businesses didn’t expect all of the change in 2020 to happen, neither did employees. As we experience the current situation together, it’s natural to focus on what’s happening right now, but there’s also an opportunity to consider what’s to come next. Where the needs of employers and employees intersect demands for the necessity for upskilling and reskilling workforces in a recovering economy. The goal is to return to full productivity and prosperity as soon as it’s safe to do so.
Accelerating the Need for Upskilling and Reskilling
The necessity of upskilling and reskilling a workforce existed before 2020, but the increase in unemployment and other changes in the world economy has accelerated this demand. The Future of Jobs Report produced by the World Economic Forum estimates that 35% of the core skills needed by workers have changed over the last five years. The report goes on to estimate that the current changes continue to evolve and that everyone will need an extra 101 days of learning by 2022.
With most organizations working remotely, employees are needing to pick up new responsibilities while learning how to use modern technology to operate in new working conditions, which requires companies to shift their strategies accordingly to accommodate these changes. Because people aren’t used to these changes, upskilling and reskilling become a requirement if companies want to keep their people at pace with change. Without a program in place, companies' experience a large gap between what organizations expect people to do and what they actually can do. It’s imperative to close that gap immediately if a business wants to capitalize on their business strategy.
Between the increase in change organizations are facing and the high expectations of employees in a remote setting calls for the need of an agile learning strategy. Unfortunately, traditional eLearning methods are ineffective at driving long-term knowledge retention that is necessary for executing an upskilling and reskilling strategy that delivers value.
Microlearning and Knowledge Reinforcement for a Durable Upskilling and Reskilling Program
The reason traditional eLearning methods are so challenging for upskilling and reskilling is because eLearning programs are viewed as administrative burdens by managers who need to be spending their time and efforts supporting employees through coaching. Employees don’t receive any value from completing a long SCORM course and don’t understand how the learning materials in the course translate to their job. These learning modalities have been around forever and have their place but they don’t keep pace with the current changes that organizations are facing.
The combination of microlearning and knowledge reinforcement is effective because it uses proven brain science to educate people on what they need to know by challenging them rather than burying them with more content. Here are four ways microlearning plays a valuable part in your upskilling and reskilling efforts.
1. Change How Microlearning Content is Created
The traditional SCORM courses pack a lot of information into one session, including information that isn’t as important or relevant to an employees role. This traditional way of learning overloads employees with too much information, making it difficult for them to determine what are the important things they need to know and what is irrelevant. Sitting through this material for a long period of time doesn’t work for upskilling and reskilling workers.
Instead of trying to pack materials into a long course making sure it’s recorded, and people are completing it,microlearning is an agile learning strategy to help organizations get back to the essence of how business was operating normally. Well-designed microlearning isn’t just shrunken content from a long training session. It offers a reinvention of how people receive and interact with learning content.
This starts with how content is delivered and presented. Instead of throwing more information at people, best practice microlearning improves knowledge reinforcement by using different forms of content, including scenario-based learning challenges that drive active thinking versus passive thinking. In other words, instead of exposing people to more information, scenario-based questions present the learner with a challenge to solve. The challenge requires the learner's participation using game mechanics to produce an active response to learning scenarios.
Qstream has produced a series of webinars on the best practices for creating great microlearning content and we’ve made these available to you as online resources. We’ve also created a Content Hub with starter packs of great microlearning challenges on a variety of topics.
2. Engage Learners
Having the right message and content in an effective format is important for a microlearning program to produce results, but the most critical factor is engaging the learner. In fact, Providence St. Joseph Health, a leading healthcare provider, ranks engagement as the key component for a successful microlearning program.
To help drive learner engagement, combine micro and relevant content through scenario-based questions with game mechanics, such as leaderboards.
Game mechanics and gamification are surprisingly effective to combat the overload of content that affects upskilling and reskilling efforts. For the most competitive learners in a microlearning exercise, being at the top of the leaderboard is motivating. But even people who are less competitive are likely to be motivated to avoid being at the bottom of a leaderboard. This applies to managers too. Individual and team standings on a leaderboard reflect how leaders and managers coach their teams toward the best results.
All of these elements lead to an increase in people actively engaging in a microlearning exercise, and with that comes dramatic increases in proficiency.
CIO Review Interview:
How Microlearning Boosts Engagement, Knowledge, and Performance
3. Personalize Microlearning
Microlearning and knowledge reinforcement use adaptive, clinically proven algorithms to personalize the learning experience. Knowledge reinforcement doesn’t happen by passively sharing information but uses the science of the spacing effect and testing effect to present microlearning challenges in the way the brain recalls information. If someone demonstrates immediate mastery of a microlearning question, their proficiency score is adjusted based on their response to subsequent questions. If someone answers incorrectly, an immediate explanation of the correct answer is presented and the question is repeated overtime to reinforce the learning. Personalization is extended to managers in terms of how they can provide individual coaching to support the learners on their team who have revealed to have skill gaps in a specific topic area.
4. Reveal Granular Coaching Analytics for Performance Support
Upskilling and reskilling professionals through microlearning is proven to be the most effective method for performance support. The data provided from responses to learning activities allows managers to understand and measure individual and team proficiency growth.
Analytic dashboards and heatmaps are displayed to show managers a real-time view of their teams current proficiency levels and improvement over time. With this valuable data, managers are enabled to have targeted coaching conversations to close knowledge and skill gaps. The availability of this data provides a clear path toward fulfilling upskilling and reskilling business objectives.
Achieving Real Upskilling and Reskilling Results
Not every learning or coaching activity will occur through microlearning. But with a growing imperative for upskilling and reskilling, microlearning is an increasingly important tool to support organizations as they manage unprecedented change.
A good microlearning program helps keep teams productive and competitive as market conditions and regulations change. In cases where sudden changes occur, like those that are defining 2020, microlearning helps share information in a way that proves the performance readiness of an organization or prescribes the coaching plan to increase proficiency. This all occurs in a manner that costs less in terms of employees’ time and overall learning investment.
Looking for an efficient learning solution for upskilling and reskilling your organization to prepare them for delivering new business models post-pandemic? Schedule a product tour of Qstream today.