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Microtraining: Fad Trend or the Future?

With social media increasingly becoming a place to share snippets of knowledge and information, the concept of Microtraining has begun to enter the workplace. As seasoned trainers, it can be difficult to wrap our heads around employees having a valuable learning experience in just a few minutes. Although we don’t believe the instant gratification of Microtraining should ever fully replace traditional methods, there may be instances where it could be a practical and appropriate alternative:

What is Microtraining?

Microtraining is a more informal approach to incorporating training and development opportunities into the workplace. Rather than traditional sessions that last hours at a time, Microtraining offers several short learning occasions to create an active process of gathering and sharing knowledge. The following figure is an example structure for a Microtraining session:

(DeVries, 2009)

When to Use Microtraining

Although a traditional training session can be insightful and productive for a novice to that topic, it could be boring and unchallenging for those who have more experience. Sometimes, employees have very specific learning needs they need to acquire quickly. Other times, employees just simply need a refresher. In these cases, informal approaches such as Microtraining have been shown to be more effective. For example, if Apex were to provide “Interview Skills and Best Practices” training to a group of engineering hiring managers who are not HR experts, a 2 hour training session would work great. Yet if a client needed their Talent Acquisition Specialists located in another country to brush up on American interview laws, a worksheet followed by a brief discussion could be a better choice.

Benefits of Microtraining

Not only is Microtraining more effective in some cases, but there are also other benefits to this method. Thanks to how brief the sessions are, they don’t interfere with the work day as much as a traditional training session. Microtraining is often done asynchronously or online, so it can be done directly at the workplace or wherever is most convenient. For the trainers, this way of delivering information can often be organized more quickly so it doesn’t take as much time to respond to a specific need.

Final Thoughts

Even though the benefits of Microtraining can seem enticing, it’s important to keep in mind that most employees want to work for an organization that highly values their learning and development. Simply replacing all training with Microtraining can stunt learning and lead to employees feeling dissatisfied with opportunities for growth. Nonetheless, in situations where the trainees need very specific knowledge or they’re already experienced in the topic, Microtraining is a promising alternative that organizations should consider and trainers should not be scared to explore.

Wondering which training approach would work best for your training needs? Contact us here and we’ll be happy to work with you!

Source: Supporting Informal Learning at the Workplace (DeVries, 2009)

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