How an Ongoing Micro-Training Program Can Boost Employee Productivity

How does an ongoing micro-training program compare to traditional training courses that deliver comprehensive curricula?

The short answer is that when it comes to digital software training, micro-training wins hands-down.

In this article, however, we will learn the “long answer” why micro-training is a superior training approach.

Among other things we’ll learn:

  • Why standard employee training programs continually fail
  • How micro-training programs are different … and better
  • The top benefits of an ongoing micro-training program
  • How to use digital adoption platforms (DAPs) to create an ongoing micro-training program

To start off, let’s learn why standard training efforts have such a high failure rate in the modern workplace.

The Problems with Standard Employee Training Programs

There are several reasons why employee training is becoming a necessity in the modern workplace:

  • Digital disruption is fueling digital transformation on a global scale, requiring organizations to continually adopt new technology
  • Existing technology continues to be upgraded and updated, which necessitates regular upskilling and re-skilling
  • Employees who want to stay competitive are becoming more demanding when it comes to workplace training programs, gravitating towards employers who provide on-the-job training and career development options

Unfortunately, however, standard training approaches – such as classroom training, or even their online counterparts, such as webinars – cannot keep up.

They suffer from a number of other problems, making them unsuitable for digital workplace training.

Approaches such as these, for instance:

  • Cannot be scaled cost-effectively or efficiently
  • Produce mediocre results a great deal of the time, driving up costs and training time requirements
  • Are wasteful, providing employees with knowledge that is irrelevant or soon forgotten
  • Are more costly than they need to be
  • Cannot keep employees engaged or interested, which depresses overall proficiency levels

Though these problems can inhibit organizational performance, there is a solution: micro-training.

How Micro-Training Programs Differ from Standard Approaches

Micro-training programs are the next evolution of workplace learning.

They deliver training in small doses, directly inside a software application.

For instance, employees who are learning a CRM platform can learn how to use that platform as they go. Pop-up bubbles, in-product guidance, and on-the-go support help to streamline the user experience and reduce employee frustration.

Naturally, no training program is totally perfect.

However, micro-training programs offer significant advantages over training programs.

When an organization uses micro-training, they will see:

  • Increased proficiency, productivity, and performance. Micro-training delivers information in the moment of need, because it delivers personalized information that is solely focused on job tasks. The result is a dramatic increase in employee performance.
  • Accelerated training time. Micro-training shrinks the gap between an information need and its fulfillment. Users no longer have to search for information, find and watch instructional videos, or contact technical support. Instead, they can find answers in seconds, vastly increasing their time-to-competency. 
  • Boosted engagement. When users have to stop a task to learn new information or workflows, concentration is broken and engagement decreases. Micro-training avoids this because users remain engaged with their software the entire time, boosting engagement and interest.
  • Lower confusion and frustration. These same factors also prevent information overload and cognitive overload, which lowers confusion and frustration rates – which can lead to burnout and even contribute to lower retention.

A micro-training program such as this offers a number of benefits over standard training approaches, because they are…

  • Interactive, which allows employees to “learn by doing” increasing engagement and productivity
  • Contextualized, helping users make immediate connections and boost knowledge retention
  • On-demand, preventing the need to call on technical support or research a solution
  • Immediately relevant, decreasing the potential that information will be forgotten

Naturally, human-led training cannot become the basis for a micro-training program.

Instead, an organization must rethink its approach to training and invest in the right technology.

How to Create an Ongoing Micro-Training Program with Digital Adoption Platforms (DAPs)

Let’s explore some ways that digital adoption platforms (DAPs) can be used to create a micro-training program for employees.

Core features of digital adoption platforms include:

  • Product tours. These product tours can quickly introduce new users to a platform’s features and functions. This allows users to quickly grasp the value of the program, and even begin using it right away.
  • In-app walkthroughs. In-product walkthroughs can take users step-by-step through a series of tasks, which is especially useful for more complex software, such as enterprise-grade SaaS platforms.
  • Contextualized guidance. Help and guidance is delivered directly inside the application, increasing relevance, usefulness, and knowledge retention. It also decreases the burden on technical support, helping users become more self-reliant and independent.
  • Software analytics. Software analytics offer insight into user behavior, training needs, errors, and more. The correct use of analytics can help businesses implement corrective action quickly and efficiently, improve micro-training programs, and increase employee engagement.

To implement a digital adoption program successfully, training managers should rethink their entire training method.

Rather than developing in-depth curricula that overload employees with information – which can cause frustration and resistance – the focus should be exclusively on practical workflows and a culture of continual learning.

Micro-training, in other words, should:

  • Enable employees to become productive from day one
  • Only focus on immediate informational needs
  • Be more concerned with productivity than with course completion, grades, or other more abstract metrics

Micro-training is a much more valuable training approach for both employees and organizations, because it does away with irrelevant information, abstract theory, and waste.

The result: immediate productivity gains that enhance organizational performance and effectiveness.

Chris is the Lead Author & Editor of Change Blog. Chris established the Change blog to create a source for news and discussion about some of the issues, challenges, news, and ideas relating to Change Management.