Make it quick: why micro-learning is an engagement game-changer

“I feel the need… the need for speed!”

In 1986, Tom Cruise’s swaggering fighter jet pilot spoke those lines in ‘Top Gun’. But beyond becoming a memorable quip, what pre-internet audiences didn’t realize then was those lines would come to prophesy our modern era.

In the context of the agile workplace, we talk about sprints. We optimize for the flexibility and productivity of teams, using an array of apps and tech-based resources to stay on track and on the right side of time management.

However… according to the 2021 Workgeist Report on an average day, professionals also spend 59 minutes simply looking for information trapped within tools and applications.

That’s because, the Report continues, the typical workplace does not promote efficient knowledge management. In fact, 69% of workers say finding the information to do their job time-consuming, having to scour messaging channels, navigate project management boards, and dig through cloud storage systems.


L&D for a time-poor, distracted era

At the same time, adding to their time poverty, today’s professionals must also step up their learning to remain relevant and for their orgs to respond to the headwinds of disruption.

Enter corporate micro-learning: short periods of learning covering a single topic or skill, delivered in a range of formats, of which the most popular is video.

This format is not just concise and to the point – and therefore best-positioned to consume by time-pressed professionals…

… and it’s not only designed for our tech-trained ‘bursts’ of attention (the average office worker checks their email 30 times each hour, the average mobile phone user checks their iPhone 150 times per day)…

How neuroscience saves the day

Most importantly, micro-learning harnesses neuroscience to learners’ advantage.

Put simply, it chunks information for our brains’ hippocampus to receive, sort and store, while – if it’s edutaining enough (see this post on the edutainment concept) – stimulating the brain’s amygdala to process learners’ emotional responses, strengthening neural pathways and improving recall and memory.

That’s why micro-learning forms the core engagement strategy of our new Smart Course ‘Dealing With People’, and is driving its impressive completion rates.

Because whether our job is to fly jets or lead a team to achieve organizational goals, today, more than ever, all of us feel the need for speed.