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Microlearning vs. Just-in-Time Learning: What’s the Difference?

Microlearning vs. Just-in-Time Learning_ What’s the Difference_

At face value, microlearning and just-in-time learning seem like two really similar concepts - and they are! Both take the eLearning experience and condense it into bite-sized portions that help increase engagement. They each, however, serve slightly different purposes.

Take a look at these two training methods and how they’re different.

What is Microlearning?

Hold on to your hats - microlearning is exactly what it sounds like. Learning the material in short - micro, if you will - bursts. Rather than having your learners sit around, tethered to their desks, completing module after module over the course of hours or days, microlearning is structured so that they can learn at their own pace on their own time.

According to the New York Post, Americans pick up their cell phones on average every 12 minutes. Even more surprisingly, one in ten check their phones every four minutes.

That’s a lot of time spent looking at that tiny screen, and for many people (49%, in fact) they don’t even consider the phone function to be the primary purpose of their cell phones. They’re more likely to be using it as a GPS, or to send emails, texts, or use social media.

Microlearning gives you the opportunity to take advantage of the short bursts of cell phone use that happen so frequently during the day. Since your learners are already aimlessly scrolling, giving them a purpose - completing short modules that won’t take more than 5 or 10 minutes to complete - could help them move through courses faster and make the eLearning process feel a bit less daunting.

What is Just-in-Time Learning?

While your learners are probably spending lots of time on their phones for non-work related reasons, it’s also very likely that their phones play an integral part of their day-to-day work operations. Whether they’re checking emails or making calls, they’re virtually always connected to the office. With just-in-time learning, they can also be brushing up on information that will set them up for success in a meeting. Here’s an example:

Let’s say that a member of your sales team is preparing to meet a client. They know that the client wants to discuss a particular feature of the newest product that rolled out and they want a quick refresher on the high points. With just-in-time learning, they can navigate through the available product sections and training modules to get a quick refresher on exactly what they need to know on-demand.

Of course, just-in-time learning resources can also be used during an employee’s downtime, when they simply feel like sharpening their skills and aren’t pressed for time right before a meeting.

How Are They Different?

Now that you know what microlearning and just-in-time learning are, let’s take a look at one major difference between the two:

  • Microlearning allows learners to complete modules or entire courses in short periods of time - but everything is interconnected
  • Just-in-time learning provides learners with what they need to know in the moment they need to know it. Specific definitions, quick product guides - anything that gives them the resources for success without requiring them to go through an entire module or course to get the answer.

Are you ready to learn more about how microlearning and just-in-time learning can help your team?

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