It’s easy for us to be distracted in the workplace: between checking emails and social feeds, chatting with coworkers and managing phone calls, we may only be able to focus for 40 seconds at a time. In addition to affecting productivity, these distractions may also reduce happiness and empathy among employees—so what can we do to make sure everyone is properly engaged with their language training programs? For starters, we can introduce new methods of learning to the workplace. In contrast to traditional classroom settings and hours-long lectures, microlearning takes employees’ short attention spans into account by delivering information in smaller, more manageable packages.
According to George A. Miller’s information processing theory, the human cognitive function can best digest information in “chunks” (dividing content into five, six, seven, eight or nine pieces is optimal). In language training, these chunks may refer to new vocabulary, conjugations or phrases. Languages can’t be learned in a single day; we need to gradually build our knowledge and understanding of specific concepts day-by-day, and microlearning is a great way to do so.
The takeaway: Our brains prefer to deal with new information in small, digestible chunks. Microlearning aids short-term memory retention by working with our cognitive capabilities and capacities rather than against them.