Lesson Learned: A Micro-resolution with Macro-results

We’ve turned the page on another year. Can you believe we’re more than half-way through January already?! I had intentions of posting this article early in the month to coincide with talking about New Year’s resolutions – and to offer an idea on how to keep those resolutions active and relevant. Perhaps my comments will be even more relevant now that we’ve had some time between resolution and reality.

You may be among the roughly 45% of the population who made a resolution this year – and you likely made the same resolution last year. One post I read conveyed that idea quite nicely saying, “For many of us the goals we’ve set for 2015 are probably similar to the ones we set for 2014. We never really got around to them in 2013 and it’s really such a shame because we put so much thought behind them in 2012, 2011, 2010, and, well, you see where this is going.”

That may be why 38% of the population does not make resolutions. That’s where I’m at…now. Until a couple of years ago, I jumped on the resolution bandwagon every January – making lofty & broad goals that ultimately weren’t meaningful for me and, as the glow of the holidays dinned, it was just too easy to ignore those resolutions. I’m not saying my physical and financial health, job satisfaction, relationships, and personal development weren’t meaningful topics, but I hadn’t clearly defined what about them was important to me. What was it that I really wanted to achieve? What really fit with my lifestyle and my needs?

Getting to the gym 3x week for at least an hour each time was a lofty goal. Making changes to my everyday activities to achieve a healthier lifestyle was a meaningful goal. I started to think about the small steps I could take or small changes I might make, for example, taking the stairs instead of the elevator, which could have a positive effect and keep me motivated. Each small step had meaning. Each small step helped me when I needed it. Each small step was an accomplishment. And, when I looked back over the year, the total number of steps I had taken far exceeded what I would have achieved had I persisted in a narrow focus on a broad goal.

That same notion of small steps can also apply to learning. In the field of learning, it’s called microlearning. Honestly, the idea isn’t that new. I suspect “microlearning” has been taking place for years – it’s just now there is a name for it.

Microlearning is defined as “short, digestible, bite-sized units” Microlearning addresses the challenges of competing priorities, limited time, shorter attention spans, and smaller screens. “Microlearning strips down training to its most essential skills and knowledge…This method is ideal for learners because the content is engaging, relevant, and can be consumed at the time of need”

Microlearning is gaining attention because it:

    • Favors learning in small steps
    • Is considered to be one of the best instructional approaches for new age learners (learning with technology – the internet, mobile devices, social media, etc.)


And, if that’s not enough to give microlearning a try, consider that “…distributed practice aids in retention: just like in nutrition or exercise, or when studying for a test – small efforts over time are quantifiably more beneficial than a single cram session.”

As you are contemplating your learning goals and development plans for 2015, I encourage you to think about what it is you want to achieve from your learning and rather than laying out your entire year at once, think about those small steps you can take each day to make meaningful and achievable advances toward your goal(s). And don’t forget, Bentley is here to help you take those small & meaningful steps with short, focused on-demand video lectures and live online instructor-led courses. Happy learning!




17 Awesome Resources on Micro-Learning, by Ravi Pratap Singh. eLearning Industry. May 11, 2014

The Microlearning Trend: Accommodating Cultural and Cognitive Shifts, by Jeff Fernandez. Learning Solutions Magazine. December 1, 2014