The smartphone has a lot to answer for; the multi-tasking beast that it is. With functionality comparable to the triumph of the popular 1891 Swiss Army knife it has transformed our behaviours, habits and routines given the handy apps, social tools and abundant access to mobile enabled sites.
We can contact our personal networks, search for information, listen to music and watch videos quickly and effortlessly, in bite-sized chunks of time: in a queue, on a bus journey or before a meeting starts. Our smartphone often acts as a distraction while we wait.
Saturday night at the movies
How many faces do you see illuminated at the cinema half-way through a film? People distracted by their phones – you can never really focus on their screen, but they spend about 30 seconds looking at something and then revert to the film. Are they on Twitter, LinkedIn or googling who won what Oscar the other week?
Either way they end up annoying the person next to them with a barrage of whispered questions because they’ve lost the plot, literally.
Perhaps a trip to the cinema is a rarer thing now? With popular streaming platforms like Netflix, NowTV and Amazon Prime, we’ve certainly embraced the boxset binging trend with shows such as Breaking Bad, Stranger Things and The Walking Dead – 45-minute bite-sized bursts of tension that handily provide a pause between episodes for us to check our phones…
Our ability to focus has waned with the digital distraction in our back pocket, but is it all doom and gloom as this blogpost is making out?
Maybe our smartphones aren’t distractions at all. Are we brushing up on our French via Duolingo while waiting in the queue for our coffee? Watching a how-to video via YouTube on the bus? Or before a meeting googling training courses, so we can develop our HTML coding skills?
Perhaps we won’t ever get through a film without a tweet, conversation on WhatsApp or quick Google, but we can utilise our overall time and efforts with a little flexibility and ubiquitous access to certain platforms.
What if we could add value to our self-development by learning in small chunks of time, the way in which we operate day-to-day, in a queue, on the bus or before a meeting?
Not a new subject to step on to the L&D scene but it is getting renewed attention of late as a dynamic and modern approach for learners, particularly when the microcontent is available on-demand. We live fast-paced lives so why is our approach to working, and learning, any different? The traditional model of a full day’s face-to-face training session is waning (together with our attention span); it isn’t time or cost effective.
It’s no wonder microlearning is a hot topic. Long days’ training are replaced with short bursts of delivery, so learners are in control of their learning and better retain what they have been taught. This way of learning grabs attention and provides bite-sized opportunities to close skills and knowledge gaps as part of day-to-day workflow.
Speed to competency is accelerated at a fraction of the cost of face-to-face training and microcontent, such as short virtual instructor-led training, is quick and cost effective to create.
Throw in the option of being able to access training materials on-demand and via a smartphone and you’re really cooking on gas. Offering ease of access at home, on the road or at work – in a queue, on a bus or at the start of a meeting – means microlearning is ideal for sales teams or those in differing locations or offices, as well as remote/home workers.
Still with us?
Assuming you’re still reading this blogpost and not distracted by Twitter (we jest), what is your experience of microcontent on-demand? Does your organisation offer training that reflects how a modern workforce operates day-to-day?