Microlearning in the Care Sector

Microlearning

Microlearning brings technology and training together and is ideal for the fast paced care sector. If you don’t know what microlearning is, now would be a good time to start.

Do you find that your staff always struggle to set time aside for training?

Do they always have other priorities the day your regular provider turns up to conduct a training session on site?

Do you wish training could be at a pace your employees can manage rather than 3 hours sessions at a time?

Well, the truth is, it can be.  You just need the right tools and some good old fashioned time management skills.  So let’s dive right in.

What is Microlearning?

Microlearning (or Micro-learning) goes hand in hand with traditional eLearning but is managed in smaller segments. The course material is broken into smaller lessons rather than teaching a broad topic all at once.

Known also as brief learning experiences it allows your employees (the learners) to be in control of what they learn and when they learn it.

Microlearning and the Digital generation

Today’s technology-driven world has made eLearning popular. It’s why you are here and it’s what we do. From online high school curriculum to digital training to care certificates and mobile-friendly learning apps – the quest for knowledge is driving technology and vice versa.

But does it work? Just ask the Millennials.  By 2025, the Millennials will make up to 75 percent of the workforce – and no generation has embraced technology better.

Think about it.  The phrase “just google it” is now part of our language.  Teenagers and children spend more time watching channels on YouTube then terrestrial and satellite TV.  Welcome to the generation that has access to information 24/7 and needs to use it now.

Microlearning takes traditional distance learning to the next level. It is a type of learning designed in a responsive format that is accessible wherever an internet connection exists. This means access via any device, such as smartphone, laptop, tablet, Mac or traditional desktop.

E-learning prior to 2015 consisted of logging into a portal and working through weekly assignments often requiring you to attend “x” amount of hours towards your course.  In comparison microlearning focuses on what you need to learn, as and when you need it.

Microlearning in a nutshell is typically less than ten minutes and designed to encourage learner engagement through short bursts of highly focused content. Experts suggest these sessions should aim to be between two and six minutes, making them more digestible to the end user.

How can microlearning change employee training in the care sector? 

1.  Video

Video is hugely popular on the internet. From Vimeo to YouTube there are thousands of  micro training videos available on pretty much every subject. With topics ranging from what it’s like to be a carer to insights into dementia, Video is a high impact medium that can keep the attention of the user engaged when used correctly.

Two examples include –

Being a carer for the elderly

Differences between Alzheimer’s and Dementia

2.  Infographics and slideshows

Infographics are exactly what they say they are. Graphics that portray information. Short and sweet. Visually more appealing than a page full of words they can convey a large amount of information in a fraction of the time.

Diabetic Patient Care - Prevention
Diabetes Patient Care – Prevention

Presentations and slideshows have been around for longer than infographics but are largely responsible for their current popularity.

High quality slideshows can convey as much information as an hour long training session in less than a dozen slides. Using bullet points with images to highlight key points on a topic has been proven to help aid information retention.  

Videos, slides and infographics are successful in training due to the visual aspect of the aid. In contrast to traditional training materials they can be easily shared by social media, explained in presentations and even updated when required.

If used correctly they can get across pertinent information very quickly.  they can also encourage health conversation among the workforce.

2. Flexible learning saves time in the care environment

Microlearning allows employees flexibility that other learning platforms can’t. It also helps employers allocate resources more effectively. 

Training can be completed outside of work hours, or in short spurts during the working week. Allowing carers five to ten minutes to step away from their patients to view a video or infographic offers a useful way to increase their knowledgebase without leaving the premises.

Microlearning gives employees a chance to learn and then put their new skills to the test in a more meaningful way.

The type of material is compact enough that the employee when confronted with an issue can review material  at short notice, and return to the task with answers.

Microlearning allows carers to study at a time that suits their schedule best with fewer disruptions to patient care and other time-sensitive tasks.

3. Training unrestricted by location

Microlearning is ideal for carers on the move. Videos are perfect for sharing on mobile phones, laptops or tablets.  Care providers can supply microlearning to their staff regardless of where they work.

With smartphones and other mobile devices, microlearning can be used by residential carers as well as those in dedicated homes. Technology allows managers to track progress remotely allowing for feedback the same day.

Care providers will be seen as forward thinking as carers no longer need to be taken away for days at a time to learn new techniques. Feedback from employees (in the form of a short survey for example) will allow managers to introduce additional training modules to suit requirements.

Training no longer needs to be tied to a classroom, or staff required to travel to and from training dedicated centres. Time lost by staff travelling between place of work and the classroom can be spent improving patient care. 

4. Microlearning is ideal for teaching new processes within the care environment.

Carefully designed microlearning modules can teach carers new techniques or areas of the law in a matter of minutes.

Longer materials can be broken in to short, focused videos as a way of teaching new procedures in a way the carer can easily digest.

Microlearning can overcome resistance to change and the fear of learning that some people may experience when faced with something new. It can be tailored to the individual, created for a specific role or used to explain policies to the whole workforce.

5. Niche Training

Microlearning is well suited to the medical and care sectors. It is ideal for niche topics and is a cheaper alternative to hiring specialists to run training sessions. Videos created by experts or experienced staff members can be shared with workers at a fraction of the cost.

Examples of Niche Care Training include;

The benefits include; 

  • Easy access to focused and specialised information.
  • Employees learning on-topic information that can be put to use immediately.
  • Reference material to help refresh or reinforce skills.
  • Increased retention due to visual and interactive modules.
  • Specialist information taught to staff by field experts in subjects that are diverse in nature.

6. Active engagement through Microlearning

Convenience and timing are two elements that improve engagement when teaching. Microlearning is designed to take advantage of this.

Active engagement with learning increases the chance that the learner is more likely to remember and utilise the information. Employees will feel more included in the process and willing to learn even more.

Microlearning keeps the learner’s attention and prompts the individual to test their new skill right away.

Knowledge that is easy to engage with, becomes more natural for the learner to share. As employees share what they  have learned, they are further promoting engagement with the material.

How Online Care Courses uses Microlearning

At Online Care Courses we offer a range of care sector related subjects that are broken into small bite sized modules.

Presentations are broken into sections and can be studied on mobile devices in periods of 5 to 10 minutes at a time. 

Each employee is given their own login with courses assigned by a dedicated administrator. This allows for tailored training set to the level of the individual at a pace that suits them.

The training portal allows an unlimited number of users and can be scaled to suit any size workforce. The reporting suite available to managers allows oversight of the programme showing which employees have accessed which course allowing them to be called upon with their new skill when needed.

For more information take a look at our Care Training FAQs.

Further reading;

Online Learning – The successful online student

How online courses help the Care Sector

Care Article  Handling Conflict Situations

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