Training, conferences, and mentorship are all vital parts of the career journey, but they can be time-intensive and are often crafted around someone else’s schedule. More than ever, these same insights and education are available online across platforms — giving you the power to take charge of your learning. So, how do you get started?
The key to taking advantage of these resources is microlearning. Microlearning is a rising career development trend that believes short, focused content is the best way for you to retain important information. Additionally, it allows you to customize your learning to your schedule and preferred formats.
While you should still take advantage of conferences and office training, especially for networking, you don’t have to limit your growth to what these resources provide. Instead, build your own microlearning curriculum.
The most apparent advantage of leading your own microlearning is the brevity of your lessons. You can plan lessons to fit into a 10-minute walk or your hour lunch, whichever works best for your schedule. The flexibility also helps you to stay committed so you can build a habit of learning.
Microlearning lessons are also adaptable to your knowledge needs, so you can fill information gaps instead of starting from the beginning. This is ideal for young and seasoned professionals who are looking to refine already held skills.
Finally, microlearning comes in several formats so you can choose what works best for your learning style. Some people respond really well to audio and podcasts, while others need something more interactive like a gamified app system. There are resources available to build lessons that are customized to work for you.
While microlearning is a great system for building lessons, it doesn’t work for every learning style or content focus. If you’re totally brand new to a topic, then it can be hard to figure out how to get started. In these cases, you might want to find an intro guide or pre-built lesson structure to level your foundation. Otherwise, working through microlessons out of order may become overwhelming.
Microlearning also doesn’t work if you’re not willing to put in the work ahead of time. For most topics, you’ll have to find and organize your own lessons. Once you get the ball rolling, you’ll learn what experts and sources you trust, but it does take time.
Similarly, microlearning is not an easy way out. It’s a way to adjust your learning to fit your lifestyle, but it’s not necessarily easier than other, traditional training methods — though it may certainly feel easier.
Finally, your growth won’t be immediate. The beauty of microlearning is that it helps you slowly build your knowledge, bringing bits and pieces to your work overtime and developing a more thorough understanding of concepts. So if you’re looking to prove to learn and implement a new system by next month, microlearning methods may not get you there.
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How to Get Started
1. Gamify Your Learning
One of the best ways to stay focused and motivated is to gamify your lessons. If you’re starting from scratch, a simple reward system or competition with close friends or peers may be the way to go. You can also find apps like Duolingo that help you learn by repeating and refining skills in short bursts, and also set you to compete on leaderboards and earn achievements and badges.
2. Watch a Video Series
YouTube is a go-to for learning a new skill or problem-solving when you’re stuck. It’s the perfect example of microlearning as a learning tool and means to fill knowledge gaps. The great thing about YouTube is once you find an expert you trust and enjoy watching, they’ll continue to put out weekly content so there’s no shortage of information. Plus, many creators will organize their videos into playlists to your lessons are ready when you are!
3. Enjoy a Podcast
Similarly, many creators are transitioning to podcasts to share their expert advice. There are podcasts for every industry and topic under the sun, and they come pre-organized in chronological order so you don’t have to guess what comes next. Podcasts are great for listening on the go, during a commute, or even while wrapping up simple tasks that don’t need too much of your attention.
4. Start a Study Group
One of the best ways to really solidify your knowledge retention is to chat through a new concept, skill, or idea. This way your brain can make a connection with its value, you’re sharing the knowledge with others who are interested, and you have a chance to expand that knowledge with feedback and criticism. A dedicated learning group can also boost your learning motivation and camaraderie in the office.
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Staying on top of industry trends is key to your success. Supplement your learning goals with microlearning, and encourage a few friends to join you. These bite-sized lessons fit well into any schedule, adapt to your learning style, and are available on the go as mobile apps, podcasts, videos and blogs. Here are some recommendations to get started: