Whether you are undertaking a system upgrade, rolling out new software or just inducting new staff, it is important to provide training to make sure that everyone is up to speed on how to use specialist software and systems to their full potential. The key is to do this efficiently. Sinking hours into clueing everyone into the minutia of an application in a classroom environment can be counterproductive. Staff can end up having to relearn everything again on the job. That’s why more businesses are considering microlearning and elearning solutions to their systems training. Let’s see why.

Systems training on a computer

Learning to use new software can be difficult.

What is Systems Training?

In an ideal world, all software would have a well thought out user interface that is easy to pick up and learn on the job. In reality, many companies use software which is complex and tricky to use to its full capacity. Even when employees know the basics of a system, they often need guidance to know how to use software in situations specific to their company. When a system is updated, employees might find their previous knowledge out of date very quickly.

That’s where systems training comes in. It can provide simulated environments to guide users through completing tasks.  Rather than learning about a system in an abstract, rote way, the learner takes control in situations tailored to their business. Situations they will encounter themselves in the future.  They find themselves engaged in interesting scenarios and making impactful decisions (for more on that, see our blog about scenarios!). If the training is bespoke, the learning can place the system within a wider context: how it fits to the who, why, when and how of the business.

Why Bite-Sized Can be Best

Many apps make use of bite-sized microlearning.

Traditionally, systems training elearning consists of an extended period of working through different simulated situations. This might involve 20, 30 or 40 minutes of trying out different tasks which link together. Instead microlearning as a style of systems training offers bite-sized chunks which can be completed in a few minutes.

How many times have you discovered a new feature of some software you thought you knew well, because a task required you to try something new? You go to your search engine of choice, look up a tutorial and discover some little titbit which had previously passed you by. It’s natural for many people study the basics of a system, before picking up the rest on the job.  It’s why qualified doctors or lawyers undertake intensive internships after formal study. Dedicated learning needs to be solidified with experience in the real world.

Microlearning can be a great reference resource during this moment-of-need learning. Instead of turning to the internet in the hope of finding the information or navigating through a long elearning course, the learner can turn to a bank of small learning scenarios tailored for their role. By splitting up learning into smaller, targeted chunks, microlearning makes it easier to learners to get the information they need quickly and then get back to what they were doing.

Microlearning often only takes a few minutes to complete.

Other Kinds of Moment of Need Learning

The great thing about microlearning designed to fulfil moment-of-need learning is that it doesn’t just come into place for learning new information. The moment-of-need model created by Mosher and Gottfredson (2011) gives four other situations when moment-of-need microlearning could lend a hand:

  1. When you want to expand your knowledge base.

An employee might feel they understand a task, but they feel they have gaps in their knowledge and are curious to find out more. Perhaps they can complete a quiz or survey to test their knowledge and point them towards the relevant elearning modules based on their answers.

  1. When you need to remember and apply something you learned.

There are some moments when an employee on the job might want a quick refresher. Perhaps there is an aspect of their induction training which they’re hazy about. Returning to information to have a quick refresher is a great idea which engages spaced learning.

  1. When things go wrong.

Sometimes things don’t happen the way you expect. Turning towards a frequently asked questions resource or a small five minute guide can be invaluable during the troubleshooting process.

  1. When things change.

Software changes and updates, but nobody wants to redo extensive training just to find out what’s new. Microlearning can quickly bring people up to speed in specific areas without wasting time telling them things they already know.

Try some Microlearning

Still interested in the power of microlearning? You can see a free example which we have created here at GLAD. Discover How to Manage your Inbox!

If this has inspired you to consider how microlearning can be used to help create targeted, bespoke systems training for your organisation then drop us a line at enquiries@gladsolutions.co.uk. You can also follow us on Twitter to keep up to date with our blog.


  • B. Mosher & C. Gottfredson. (2011) Innovative Performance Support: Strategies and Practices for Learning in the Workflow.  MacGraw-Hill Companies.


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