written by
Dr. Damodar Rai

What Do You Know About Macro, Meso and Micro learning in HR ?

Learning & Development Learning Continuity Planning Employee Engagement 4 min read

The question , What do you know about macro,meso and micro-learning in HR ?, is very pertinent in learning and development field of human resource management.

It also tells us why we should pursue three stages of macro, meso and micro learning, one after another, to achieve a real breakthrough in learning and development.

1.0 Definitions

Let us now define the terms.

1.1 Learning

Wikipedia defines the learning as the following:

  • The process of acquiring new, or modifying existing knowledge, behavior, skills, values or preferences.
  • Study of nature and processes involved in many fields, including educational or neuro or experimental psychology and pedagogy.

1.2 Macro learning

Photographer: Jubal Kenneth Bernal | Source: Unsplash

Macro learning is a formal learning intervention, which may constitute of the following:

  • A self learning event.
  • Dealing of one subject or area at one time.
  • It also deals with the above in much detail.

The reference, programiz.com defines the macro, as something, that covers a large amount or is large in size. An example of the macro is : to study the fundamental key driving elements of economics. This , in that case , may be termed as macroeconomics.

The reference, dictionary.com , defines the macro as large, , long , great or excessive. It is used in the formation of compound words.

In that way, macro learning focuses on the whole or total aspect of a topic, domain, subject or an area. We do it in the following manner.

  • We choose a particular topic under a broad field. The example may be choosing team building as a topic under the broad field of human resource management.
  • Then, prepare a course ware for team building. Course ware may be prepared after detailing various aspects of team building in it . The same may be offered to the learner.

1.3 Meso learning

Meso is a combining form of word. The meaning of meso is middle or intermediate.

It is the opinion of the author that meso learning is the intermediate stage between macro and micro learning.

Macro learning may be , thus , at cross organizational level. On the other hand, the meso learning may be imparted at institutional level.

1.4 Micro learning

Micro learning
Photographer: Kelly Sikkema | Source: Unsplash

Wikipedia defines the micro learning as the following :

  • Relatively small learning units and short term learning activities .
  • Short term focused strategies, especially designed for skill based understanding or learning or education.
  • Micro perspectives of learning and skill development.

2.0 More about macro, meso and micro learning

We are fully aware by now, that learning and development covers a wide range of topics.

Keeping the above in view , and also the audience levels ,as well as the learning objectives, the specificity of macro, meso and micro learning also differs.

Macro level deals with the learning interventions at cross institutional levels. Macro learning may be more real time . It may utilize the refined material from meso and micro levels.

Also , we may design the learning interventions in this case, specially for non educational sectors such as corporate entities.

On the other hand, we may undertake meso learning interventions at institutional level. One may also do it between different institutions by signing Faculty Exchange Programs, and or collaborative agreements etc.

The author is of the opinion that these type of learning interventions are extremely beneficial to the institutes. This is because ,they are able to take benefits of the expertise and latest innovations of different organizations .

However, micro learning is at present the most popular method of learning intervention. It operates at individual learner level.

We may impart learning to these individuals in groups also through remote devices. Also, the personalized mobile devices available with individual learners are proving to be a boon in micro learning.

We must bear in mind that depth , total detailing and well preparedness of learning interventions at macro and meso levels, will immensely strengthen the micro learning. In fact the inter dependence of all the three learning interventions at macro, meso and micro levels is an indisputable fact .

Keeping the above in view, the learning and development professionals should always strive to integrate all the three viz macro, meso and micro learning.

3.0 Why should we always keep in mind the macro and meso learning, before designing micro learning

Micro Learning - Designing
Designed by rawpixel.com / Freepik

From the discussions in the above sections ,we may conclude that in macro learning, one focuses on the whole of a topic or domain. One picks a sub field within an entire field. Consequently, we then introduce the course ware to the learners. From the design point of view, the macro learning takes a holistic approach and deals with the subject in totality.

Micro-learning ,on the other hand, focuses on short, crisp, bite sized information nuggets. We will have to transfer these to learners in a fast and efficient manner.

It also means that while macro and meso learning products are total in nature, the micro learning objects are one specific part of this total.

We should also remember that part may be taken out of the total, but total may never come out of part. Though, many small parts may make a total, when they are joined together.

Thus, a macro or meso level learning product may produce many micro learning objects.

Hence, unless the learning and development professionals work very meticulously ,to prepare macro and meso level learning intervention products , micro learning may never ever be evolved.

Micro learning is , thus, a subset of macro and meso learning.

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