Modern training and education methods can be boiled down into two main forms: Microlearning and Macrolearning.
So, what’s the difference?
And can they comfortably coexist in a business, or is the town simply not big enough for the both of them?
In Microlearning students can access and search through a library of 100s of topical training videos or articles of around 5 minutes in length, and choose the one that solves their current problem.
For example, let’s say you have a call with an angry customer later today, then watch a short You-tube clip now on, ‘placating angry customers’.
Microlearning will typically be delivered by some kind of highly interactive learning delivery system.
Macrolearning takes place over several hours and days taking the form of courses, classes, MOOCS and programmes.
During a macrolearning event a large body of knowledge in one subject area is transferred, all of which can be recalled and applied in relevant future situations as needed.
For example, if you want to learn about managing staff, take a 2 day course in management.
So, the question is whether microlearning or macrolearning are in opposition or whether they can comfortably co-exist?
The answer lies somewhere in the middle.
There is no doubt that there are certain situations where microlearning trumps macrolearning and vice versa.
For example, if you need to train many employees on a company wide topic, a macrolearning intervention is going to be most suitable.
But over-time employees may begin to forget what they have learned and this is when timely microlearning tops ups can help consolidate or even supplement the original macrolearning.
Also, a new starter who needs to learn a lot in a short space of time, will benefit from macrolearning.
But, as the employees progresses, they will benefit from ‘just-in-time’ microlearning knowledge that addresses a pressing and obstructive problem they are currently facing.
Microlearning clearly is beneficial in the right situation, but it does not completely replace macrolearning.
This means that there is space for both macro and microlearning across the whole life-cycle of business and that they can comfortably coexist within a corporate learning environment.