Breaking Language Learning Into Building Blocks

language learning, professional development, bite-sized learning, employee trainingHave you ever seen one of those truly impressive Lego builds, like a huge alien spaceship or an entire city? They look daunting and the common person might think they are impossible. But they were all put together in the same way, by normal people: one block at a time.

The traditional method of learning is through courses of study that often take at least weeks, if not months. This has been the case everywhere from elementary school to postgraduate work.

Corporate learning would take the same track, pulling employees out of their work for a week or more. Thankfully, between the study of how we learn best and technology, the time has come to break those large chunks into much more manageable, Lego-sized pieces.

Breaking up your corporate curriculum has a lot of intrinsic benefits.

First, smaller classes require the employee to be away from their duties for less time. This is especially true if the chunk of learning can be delivered online at any time. If that’s the case, employees can learn during their commute or at home.

Second, the courses are much easier to produce. The less information that needs to be mastered, the less it takes to write a curriculum. There is an obvious cost and efficiency savings, but there is also one other factor: flexibility.

If companies can create smaller learning packages for their employees, that learning can be much more nimble. Positions that have a constant stream of continuing education, because their fields evolve so quickly, are best suited for building block learning. If something pressing changes in the field, employees can easily get caught up rather than having to sign up for a long course of study that might be outdated before it’s even completed.

With smaller pieces in the puzzle, the incentive falls toward precision and being concise. There are fewer wasted words—and wasted time.

These learning methods would not have been possible without technology. We’ve already discussed technology’s “always on” nature, but it has also caused a democratization of content. Anyone with knowledge can create a course online and offer it to colleagues with minimal effort. All of the sudden, you are no longer reliant on the traveling corporate trainer or the local college and their associated costs. Online courses from experts also replicates the way in which humans learn best: one-on-one.

Perhaps these benefits are most present when it comes to language learning. Courses that used to take months at a time outside of the office can now be completed on the employee’s own schedule while still offering a level of experience that rivals having a personal tutor.

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