Microlearning can be utilized for a variety of tasks, but as many companies are starting to find out, it is best suited for onboarding employees, either as an alternative to or a supplement for conventional orientations, welcoming notes, and employee handbooks.

In recent years Industry 4.0 has been the driving force and the heart of industry, but additional challenges are faced to recruit, educate, and graduate new generational cohorts effectively. Gen Z processes content much faster than other generations, in particular, because of apps like Snapchat with its 10-second story limit. They are very good at quickly sorting through vast amounts of information using five screens simultaneously: smartphones, tablets, TVs, laptops and desktops. Although their options are practically endless, their time is not — they have an average attention span of eight seconds as compared to 12 seconds for millennials.

Traditional instructor-led training courses follow the 90/20/8 rule.  This means that an instructor has a learner’s full attention for the first eight minutes of a training course.  After 20 minutes of instruction, there is a steep decline in attention unless the learner is engaged.  The instructor has completely lost the learner between 60-90 minutes, again unless they have been engaged during this time using an interactivity or group exercise. But engaging with learners every 20-30 minutes is challenging. This is because the IE3 project will explore capabilities of microlearning for Industrial Engineering and Management learning processes, in particular by using a pilot approach in a Project Management course, looking to better connect with new cohort of students.

Joaquín Ordieres-Meré
The Technical University of Madrid