Survey: The Surprising Reason Training Pros Want Bite-Size Learning
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Survey: The Surprising Reason Training Pros Want Bite-Size Learning

Providing more short-form learning in 2014 is a priority for nearly nine out of 10 learning professionals, according to a new survey by the Rapid Learning Institute.

That’s a little higher than we expected. But the real surprise was the reason why they wanted shorter learning events. It wasn’t a response to the rise in mobile learning – just 12% cited that. And only 25% said it was because modern workers have shorter attention spans. The surprise for us was that 63% said, “Short modules will help us get managers more involved in training and coaching.”

It’s no news flash that many learning professionals experience frustration with managers who won’t take the time required to reinforce learning. What we found most interesting about our survey is how readily learning professionals made the connection between bite-size learning (or micro-learning) and increased manager involvement.

Here’s our explanation: While there’s been a lot of talk about how learners’ attention spans have shortened, people often forget that managers are learners as well. Before they can teach something, they have to learn it themselves. If they’re using a coaching tool of some sort – a book, an e-learning module, a guide or whatever – they have to take a deep dive in the material themselves and prepare a training session. Managers who are extremely busy – that is, all of them – will be more likely to take that deep dive into a rapid learning vehicle.

So, short-form learning opens the gates for potentially higher manager involvement.

Here are the full results of the survey:


Some other terms cited:

  • Just-in-time performance support
  • 10 minute lessons
  • targeted learning
  • Quick-break learning
  • Learning Tidbits




It’s always interesting to hear how our fellow learning professionals voice their opinions. Here are some of their responses to “why” short-form learning is helpful:

    • Time is the biggest enemy of training in our business. These shorter formats work for us!
    • Short segments meet the needs of short-attention-span workers, but they also break down the information for those that can be overwhelmed by too many concepts. This lets the employees focus on one or two kernels of information at time.
    • Short modules allow us to address a variety of topics and have a discussion with the group
    • Managers are being asked to do more with less and have difficulty devoting longer periods of time to learning/training sessions.
    • Short form learning is easier to fit in when it is needed and can be added to many web based apps with ease.
    • It is easier to get managers to agree to attend training
    • There is more knowledge required than ever and less time available to learn it, so it has to be available to workers when and how they need it
    • Employees need to fit learning into an already packed schedule
    • I believe that people learn better in smaller increments.
    • Staff are much more likely to take part if they know it is not going to take a large “chunk of time” from their workday.
    • They can watch an important module at work without losing a lot of time off the manufacturing floor.
    • We have a lot of different shifts and need to get our people in and out with powerful tools.
    • Less time away from patient care is extremely important
    • Employees have less opportunity and time to put aside work and do training.
    • I’d prefer to provide training/info in quick briefs more often than several longer trainings.
    • Easy to include with regular team meetings without taking full meeting time.
    • It is one way of meeting the need for “just-in-time” learning.
    • Easier to fit in between client calls and yet give us time to discuss the content together as a group.
    • Schedules are very busy and shorter more frequent learning is better
    • Time is always at a premium. Training in very important but we have to manage our time very wisely to get everything done.

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