Why Microlearning Builds a Growth Mindset


By Megan Tse

WHEN YOU GO to the gym and do short bursts of high-intensity physical activity interspersed with short rest periods, the goal is to achieve maximum results within a limited period of time. Microlearning is based on that same concept, only instead of building muscles for your body, you are exercising your brain to gain new knowledge and skills in an effective and efficient manner.

Instead of improving your athletic prowess, you are creating a positive learning experience to encourage and motivate people to continue learning new skills.

What Is Microlearning?

Microlearning is an educational strategy that focuses on providing smaller units of information, making it easier for people to absorb and understand the content. The most popular methods of delivery come in the form of short courses or interactive learning activities. These include a wide variety of digital content, such as video tutorials, podcasts, or presentations, all of which are easily accessible.

What Is a Growth Mindset?

A growth mindset is the belief that one’s talents, skills, and knowledge can always be improved and further developed. According to leading psychologist Carol Dweck, people with this mentality “enjoy challenges, strive to learn, and consistently see potential to develop new skills.”

Research proves that employees with a growth mindset are:

  • 34% likelier to feel a strong sense of ownership and commitment to the company
  • 49% likelier to express that the company fosters innovation

In today’s corporate environment, building a growth mindset is a top priority for many learning and development (L&D) teams, and they’re looking at microlearning as a solution to that challenge. There is a remarkable synergy between the two concepts, and together, they can result in a successful, enthusiastic, and productive workplace. Here’s how:

Microlearning avoids information overload.

Since microlearning is based on the delivery of practical, bite-sized components in a short amount of time, it becomes easier to digest the learned material. Whereas sit-ups target abdominal muscles, microlearning harnesses the learner’s ability to focus and quickly gain a better understanding of a topic through smaller pieces of information. This method reduces the pressure that can come from having to absorb an overwhelming amount of data all at once.Skills can be learned and reinforced over time. Plus, individuals further develop their growth mindset through incremental accomplishments, which is a benefit to both the employee and the corporation.

Microlearning increases comprehension and recollection.

Mini-modules of learner-centered and workplace-specific instruction are not only easier to take in and retain, but they also encourage and empower employees with practical context and application. The key is to include specific topics to guide and demonstrate relevance. Just like muscle memory can make a physical movement second nature, practical application can help employees retain new skills. The ability to recall and use new knowledge will become more of a positive reinforcement. It makes workplace training less of a daunting challenge and more of an activity that corporate learners embrace, further developing that growth mindset.

Microlearning strengthens motivation and performance.

With its brief and focused content, microlearning is easier for employees to engage in when they have extra time, which increases their desire for continuous learning. Training and L&D teams should focus on the creation and curation of resource libraries that contain microlearning courses based on company-specific goals. With this ease of access and ability to see the associated benefits, individuals become more inclined to participate in ongoing corporate learning, which contributes toward the overall success of the organization.

Similar to how you build muscle through repeated workouts at the gym, small increments of success through microlearning contribute to heightened competence at work. A growth mindset is further nurtured when employees feel empowered, determined, and motivated to succeed.

In the end, both the individual and the organization are working toward the same goal: increasing skills. When you change how you approach learning, you change how you think. And vice versa. For the corporate learner, growth opportunities become limitless.

The broadening skills gap has been front page news for the past couple of years. This is a huge challenge, but modern organizations are taking action to provide growth opportunities for their employees, and so can you. Our guide, Addressing the Skills Gap with Micro-Credentialing, will walk you through how to motivate your learners to take charge of their professional development and develop the skills they need to succeed now, and in the future. Learn what other challenges micro-credentials can help you solve.

Megan Tse works as an End User Support Program Manager at D2L. Megan works closely in the adoption of several internal programs for the end user support teams, including the development of strategies, processes, and solutions to ensure the best professional services are provided to customers. Megan can be reached at .

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