Wood Words

Mmm…Want a Snickers?

Q: How are candy bars and employee training alike?

A: Sometimes “bite-size” is best.

When you have a lot of new information to teach employees, you (and they) may want to “get it all over with” as fast as possible. After all, who wants to drag things out any longer than absolutely necessary?

But if you’ve ever led a full day of training, you’re probably all-too-familiar with the sea of vacant stares facing you after just the first hour. It’s a simple fact: endless hours of learning leads to training fatigue. Once employees hit that point, they mentally check out – and both learning and retention drop dramatically.

So, what’s the best way to make learning interesting and effective for your team? You guessed it: go bite-size.


If you’re unfamiliar with the concept, microlearning is a way of transferring knowledge that operates on the premise that shorter is better. Instead of countless hours spent in a classroom listening to long-winded lectures, or long stretches of computer-based training, learning is broken down into bite-size information sessions. Longer reading or educational units are chopped up into more “digestible” bits of facts, tips and tools.

But microlearning is much more than just breaking up training modules. To keep learners engaged and combat training fatigue, lessons are delivered in a variety of ways including online training, videos, podcasts and other instructional media.

Even better, microlearning customizes training to meet employees’ individual needs – allowing them to learn at their own pace and often at their preferred time and place. The result? Information is organized and presented so that it reaches each learner in the most effective way possible. No gimmicky games or fluff; just concentrated educational content that gets to the point quickly.

Why is Bite-Size Learning the Best Size?

Microlearning suits today’s employees. Benefits include:

  • shorter time requirements for training sessions
  • active, engaged participants (as opposed to passive recipients)
  • customized pace to maximize comprehension and retention
  • greater learner control, self-sufficiency and accountability
  • availability of information for re-learning/re-training

Ready to give it a go?

It’s unrealistic to completely overhaul your employee training program overnight, so start small. Pick a discrete training unit, convert it and try it out with employees to see how it’s accepted. Tweak and modify as needed, and then apply your best practices to other aspects of your training. Here are a few tips as you embark on your first microlearning adventure:

  1. Eliminate the hassles of securing and scheduling physical space by providing information online.
  2. Break down large learning units into smaller, cohesive chunks. Stay disciplined and logical when presenting information; don’t bounce around.
  3. Get rid of the gimmicks and frills. Pare down anecdotes to those which are absolutely essential, and combine them with the information employees need to learn and use.
  4. Create training videos. Typically, you can convert 2 written pages into a 3-minute video. You’ll engage learners more completely, thereby increasing retention.
  5. Include re-caps. Periodically revisit high-level/overarching concepts to give the information provided in each “chunk” of learning proper context.

Need quick learners? Trained workers who are ready to put their skills and education to good use? Give our Nashville employment agency a call today.