Athena developed some of the first microlearning for training and development in the early 1990's as a part of our award-winning New Leader series of CD-ROM e-learning programs, which combined longer lecture and case-study materials with short bursts of wisdom to help support the learning.
After running a pilot program followed by interviews with senior HR leaders of Fortune 1000 companies Athena found that learners were gravitating toward shorter, quick-hit, bite-sized lessons over the deeper dive. Attention spans were becoming shorter and people were, even then, feeling the pressure to get things done as quickly as possible.
Athena decided to take a radical departure from the way online learning was going and began to work with faculty like Dr. Marshall Goldsmith, best-selling author of What Got You Here Won't Get You There, David Allen, author of Getting Things Done and Dr. Rick Kirschner, co-author of Dealing with Difficult People to break their knowledge down into short, highly-targeted lessons that could be delivered using video over the internet which we called SmartBytes™.
Athena launched our first video-based, microlearning lessons on the internet in 1999, a full 6 years before YouTube was founded. Admittedly, our somewhat radical approach to learning got us kicked out of more than a few offices with comments like "short lessons are worthless, people need 3 hours or longer to learn anything" or even "video on the internet will never take off, you should stick to text."
Fortunately AthenaOnline was able to weather the initial, negative reactions to this new form of learning and continue to build on what we were hearing from users of this new methodology. As a new generation of learners, who grew up on YouTube entered the workforce Athena's approach to learning was exactly what they were looking for. Athena was also a forerunner in mobile delivery becoming an Apple staff pick for mobile delivery in 2008.
Now with a library of over 2,700 lessons
and an extremely robust learning portal
that can be customized to fit each organization's unique needs AthenaOnline is not only a pioneer, but a leader in the delivery of this 'new' form of learning.