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Why Microlearning is the Future of Training


April 20, 2023



Microlearning and the Future of Training

In its 2020 Future of Jobs Report, the World Economic Forum (WEF) discussed reskilling and upskilling. The WEF projected that by 2025, 50% of global employees would not have the required workplace skills unless there was large-scale upskilling and reskilling now. 

That report was published three years ago (relative to the time of this article), making 2025 only two years away. Is your workplace ready?

What is causing this situation?

This workplace ‘revolution’ is due to Industry 4.0 (I4.0). In case you are not yet familiar with this term, here is a short explanation quoted from the paper, “Reskilling and Upskilling the Future-ready Workforce for Industry 4.0 and Beyond” by Ling Li: 

“I4.0 is a virtual reality fusion system based on traditional manufacturing and transformed with cyber-physical systems, the Internet, the Internet of Things (IoT), and Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT), artificial intelligence, machine learning, hyper-converged infrastructure, deep learning, virtualization, and more to create an intelligent production system (Li, 2018, 2020; Xu et al., 2018; Li & Zhou, 2020; Xu et al., 2014).” 

You can read more about I4.0 in this excellent overview by IBM.

Which skills will employees need?

In their paper, “Identifying and Assessing the Required I4.0 Skills for Manufacturing Companies’ Workforce”, Federica Acerbi, Monica Rossi and Sergio Terzi address this very question. Table 2 shows that the skills will vary by job position. There are some common themes though:

  • Data analysis and visualization
  • Artificial intelligence and Machine learning
  • Cloud computing
  • Digital twin technology
Future of training - skills that employees need

Yet, the most noteworthy and important takeaway is the fusion aspect (as was mentioned in the explanation of I4.0 above).

In other words, there will be a blend of ‘old’ skills with new ones. Thus, the future of training will need to focus on reskilling and upskilling your current employees. 

What about hiring new employees as needed?

Yes, this is an option. But let’s dive deeper into this. 

People might say: “The new employee will have the skills needed.” On paper, yes, but what about in practice?

Having a skill is not the same as excelling in one. You can test your potential new hire before signing a contract. However, the full picture of what a worker can do (or not do) often reveals itself only after several months of work. By then you have spent $4000 (on average) to onboard this person.

Some might also say: “Our new hire will be productive sooner than a retrained/upskilled worker.” But are you sure? Much of today’s productivity is based on teamwork. No one can predict how well your new worker will ‘learn the ropes’ and blend with their teammates. Thus, there is no way of knowing how productive they can be and how long that will take.

Your existing employees already fit into your workspace. They are productive now. They already know your company culture and have proven their worth. With microlearning, their reskilling or upskilling happens parallel to their work via online courses accessible 24/7 via their mobile phones and other digital devices.

Future of training - microlearning

Since many people see training as a big headache, it is tempting to solve the skills issue with new hires. Besides the points mentioned above, here is another: You have no way to know the learning potential of your current workforce until you try to teach them.

In addition, the overall benefits of employee training are so important that 76% of workers said: “they are more likely to stay with a company that offers continuous training”. Some data put this as high as 94%. And it is not just the workforce which gains. Despite the training costs, your enterprise comes out ahead where it counts: on the balance sheet.

But going back to our specific issue of new skills needed. After reskilling and upskilling your current workers, you will be in the best position possible to know how many new hires you really require and in which positions. You will not overspend by taking a chance on people who your company didn’t really need.

Why is microlearning important for the future of training?

The fusion of old skills with new and the emphasis on starting with your current workforce means you are looking for ‘drop-in’ training. You are not starting from square 1 but instead building upon an existing base of knowledge and know-how. Your employees need specific, highly-targeting courses rather than broad programs. This is where microlearning shines. 

Personalized, collaborative learning at their fingertips

Since the future of learning is microlearning, a best practice is to use a Learning Management System (LMS) such as SC Training (formerly EdApp). One main reason is being able to use cool features like the Learner Experience and the Editable Course Library, which can make the process of training more efficient.

Learner Experience

With this feature, your trainees see only the highly-targeted courses relevant to them. They can access them on their mobiles or other digital devices whenever they have 5 minutes of space. No Internet is required.

SC Training (formerly EdApp) learner experience

In addition, the Learner Experience allows peer and social learning for the benefit of collaborative training. Motivation is also part of the Learner Experience. Trainees can see how they are doing, as well as receive notifications and reminders.

Editable Course Library

Obviously, if people at your enterprise already had the needed I4.0 skills you wouldn’t need more training. So who is going to write your microlessons? The answer is experts. And they are going to do it for free via the editable courses in your LMS course library.

SC Training (formerly EdApp) Course Library

For example, one of the common training themes of I4.0 is Cyber Security. At the moment, there are 3 free SC Training (formerly EdApp) cyber security courses that you can customize as needed with your company’s content and branding.

What happens when you don't invest in microlearning?

Protolabs (which describes itself as “the leading provider of technology-enabled, rapid manufacturing solutions) partnered with Censuswide to find out how many UK businesses are ready for I4.0. The results are worrying. For example: 

  • For quite a few, manufacturing is still ‘assembly lines’ (28%) and ‘manual labor’ (25%).
  • Even worse, only 10% understand the connection between manufacturing and I4.0

Try SC Training (formerly EdApp)’s microlearning platform and begin reskilling and upskilling your workforce now!


Guest Author Lisa Aharon

Lisa Aharon is a guest author at SC Training (formerly EdApp), offering varied experience as a computer programmer/analyst, technical writer, secretary/bookkeeper, copy editor, creative writer, and English teacher.

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