Can you teach compliance to a goldfish?

It's official. A study done by Microsoft confirms the average attention span of your employees is less than that of a goldfish.

A goldfish.

You can draw your own conclusions from the study, but it clearly illustrates how difficult it can be to keep your audience focused during marathon legal training sessions.

2 methods of training - classroom or micro learning?

Given the results of the study, should we change the way we think about the logistics of legal training?

Should training sessions be traditional hour-long sessions in a conference room delivered lecture-style?

Or should training be delivered only via the internet, in small bursts of 3-5 minute "micro learning"?

It's not simply a choice between two methods

Regardless of the results of the attention span study, I think the answer to these questions is more complicated than simply choosing between traditional, classroom-based training, and the nouveau micro learning method. 

Of course, with unlimited resources, you would adapt training to suit the needs of each particular employee. Some employees learn best in a classroom setting. Some learn best by digesting short videos on their phones each week/month.

You would use both methods. 

But unfortunately training takes up a lot of time and energy! Videos and video delivery systems are even more tedious! You need to devote hours and hours to finding the latest guidance and new resources, creating a presentation (in-person or video) and practicing your script. 

Okay, obviously I don't have all the time in the world. How do I know if I should be using micro learning?

Ask employees!

Look, this sounds too good to be true, but surveying employees on effective training methods is hugely important. You'll find out pretty quickly if they prefer to receive a large block of training all at once or if they prefer short videos delivered more often. 

Make the survey anonymous and people will not be afraid to tell you that they're losing focus during your long training sessions. Maybe they'll tell you to keep up the good work with your traditional training? You won't know what works unless you measure it. Survey your employees.

Determine resources!

Again, videos take time to produce and can be incredibly costly - major obstacles to implement micro training for the resource-strapped legal department. 

Take inventory of your resources. Do you have time to devote to creating infographics and videos? If not, can you hire someone to custom make them for you?

If neither of these options is right for you, it may be necessary to stick to the traditional training model (which in and of itself can take a lot of time). 

All in all, there is no one "right" answer for an organization. Despite the research, traditional training can be effective (sorry goldfish). Corporate counsel should put time and effort into determining if micro training is right for them. 

What do you think?

Leave your thoughts in the comments below!