Why Bite-Sized Learning and Development Works and How to Do it Right


Organizations don’t have the time or the money to host long-winded training sessions anymore. While onboarding used to mean hours-long lectures with a Powerpoint, this approach often proves counterproductive.

Not only is it costly and time consuming, but much of the information is not even absorbed. Employees are not given time to process the information and much of it is forgotten after the training sessions are over.

Learning and development is best consumed in bite-sized pieces with hands-on reinforcement. Employees need the opportunity to execute as they learn and receive feedback in real time. Experiential, on-the-job learning coupled with guidance and feedback is far more effective than passive, ‘sage-on-the-stage’ lectures.

While on-the-job training is far more effective, it is harder for organizations to implement. The old method consisted of simply gathering everyone in a room for a set period of time before sending them out into the field. Organizations need to utilize technology and rearrange internal processes to keep pace and successfully institute these bite-size, learn-as-you-go solutions.

Organizations who wish to adopt these methods will need a software management system that facilitates this new style of learning. Since it is not feasible to make employees continuously travel back and forth from the office to a physical classroom, organizations will need to provide a virtual classroom setting, allowing employees to learn from their work locations. Training videos, shared documents, live classes, and other forms of learning and development content have to be made readily available for easy access.

In order to reinforce what is taught, organizations will need to use communication technology, such as an instant messenger application that allows employees to discuss the material. Finally, processes and technology must be aligned so that employees can receive feedback as they practice what they learn.

Let’s use the example of a sales team being trained in effective cold-calling strategies to get an idea of what this form of learning and development might look like. First, the team could have a live class with participants dialing in from multiple office locations. Participants can even be given preliminary work and objectives to prepare them for the class. Next, the classes could be supplemented with additional slide decks and documents followed up by a live chat. Finally, the team could listen in on an employee’s call to a prospect and then provide feedback to the employee after the call is complete.

Real-time, bite-sized, social learning is the future of learning and development. Organizations who are bold enough to try these strategies will reap the benefits and be one step ahead of the competition.