What Is Microlearning?

Microlearning refers to bite-sized learning content divided into short spurts. Unlike traditional hour-long micros elearning courses, microlearning comprises small units or micro-nuggets of information. Each micro-nugget may comprise a video, infographic, or quiz that learners can complete in under 10 minutes.

Microeducation has gained immense traction recently as companies realize the limitations of lengthy online courses. Microlearning delivers content which better aligns with dwindling attention spans in the digital era while also supporting mobile learning.

Major types of microlearning include:

  • Short videos
  • Infographicsа
  • Audio podcasts
  • Quizzes
  • Lists or tips

In a nutshell, define microlearning as bite-sized learning content chunked into small units. It delivers just the essential information without unnecessary padding or filler content.

types of microlearning

What Are The Benefits Of Microlearning?

Microlearning delivers immense value by enabling faster, affordable and more effective training. With the micro study definition in mind, let's analyze the key advantages in detail:

1. It's Faster To Deliver

Creating hour-long elearning courses consumes significant time and effort. Subject matter experts, instructional designers, developers and testers must collaborate iteratively spanning months to build comprehensive micro learning training programs. This prolonged timeline hinders the ability to address emerging needs quickly.

In contrast, with microlearning, small units of 5-10 minutes can be created rapidly by even individual contributors. With shorter dev cycles, microlearning solutions can be delivered in under weeks to align with changing business requirements. The accelerated rollout also facilitates just-in-time training to equip learners precisely when they need it. Instead of waiting for lengthy courses, microlearning nuggets are available on demand to support immediate needs.

2. It's More Affordable

Developing traditional elearning requires extensive investments in several key activities, and this resource-heavy process translates into skyrocketing course production costs. On the other hand, microlearning cuts overhead substantially. With lower investments in development and resources, microlearning delivers outstanding ROI, making solutions more budget-friendly.

3. It's Flexible

Traditional learning typically demands block time commitments from learners to complete long courses. However, scheduling large chunks becomes difficult given shrinking attention spans coupled with demanding work requirements.

Microlearning provides flexibility to work around these challenges through:

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  • Bite-sized units adjustable to tiny pockets of availability
  • Options for variable duration ranging from 90 seconds to 15 minutes
  • Learning commencement, pausing and completion as per user convenience
  • Personalized learning pathways aligning with preference

So microlearning solutions offer unmatched agility that proves perfect for time-crunched modern learners.

4. Learners Find It More Engaging

Research insights into the brain's working and micro learning theory reveal that short content bursts enhance attentiveness while strengthening recall and retention. Microlearning incorporates these proven techniques to deliver:

  • Enhanced focus undiluted by long course duration
  • Stickiness stemming from condensed and crisp content
  • Improved memory aided shorter content chunks
  • Multi-sensory stimulus variety staving off boredom

5. Supports Self-paced Learning

Every learner has unique skill levels, pace of information processing and evolving developmental needs. Extensive traditional courses often fail to adjust to these individual differences. Mandatory learning paths with a fixed duration and rigid assessment timelines overwhelm struggling learners while slowing advanced ones.

Microlearning enables self-determined learning aligned with personal progress through flexible order of unit completion, content type self-selection, customizable learning "playlists," and testing-based readiness.

6. Enables Personalized Learning

Within the e learning software, variations also exist in individual learners` inclinations and styles. Some demonstrate distinct preferences for visual, auditory or kinesthetic content.

Creating a single standard course incorporating every learning preference is extremely arduous. Instead, microlearning offers simplified personalization through a modular content approach with standalone units, easily replaceable and re-sequencing units, AI-driven content generation, and contextual recommendations created based on usage. With modular and interchangeable microlearning components, L&D teams can tweak experiences dynamically to serve personal tastes.

define microlearning

What Are The Limitations Of Microlearning?

Modern employee onboarding tools vastly utilize microlearning methods. However, microlearning also comes with a few limitations.

1. It's Not Ideal For Complex Concepts

Breaking down intricate concepts into micro-nuggets dilutes the learning experience. Microlearning works best for simpler ideas that you can convey within narrow bursts.

2. It's Not Suited For In-depth Training

If learners must dive deeper into a subject or skill, microlearning alone may not suffice. You’ll still require comprehensive training programs for in-depth development. While microlearning offers immersive and focused learning, it cannot entirely replace broader training interventions. You’ll need to use it strategically, along with formal learning programs.

Microlearning Best Practices

Here are the most important tips for implementing microlearning solutions effectively:

1. Check Whether It's Right For Your Use Case

Before investing resources into microlearning, examine if it aligns with your goals and audience's needs. The technique works brilliantly for awareness building, onboarding, product training, etc. But for regulatory compliance or leadership development, you'll likely need a blended approach.

2. Use Multimedia

One can achieve a richer microlearning experience by leveraging images, infographics, audio, video and more for richer microlearning experiences.

3. Turn On Gamification To Boost Engagement

Levels, points, badges and other gamification elements can make microlearning solutions addictively engaging. While not being absolute, these elements help to motivate consistent participation.

4. Use Micro-assessments To Assess Progress

Quizzes, surveys and other micro-assessments let you evaluate learning retention and progress at frequent intervals. Insights from these assessments can also guide your training strategy.

Microlearning Examples

Knowing the basic information about microlearning, its benefits, and its problems is, in fact, enough to start utilizing it. But let's take another step toward understanding this concept and look at some diverse real-world examples of microlearning:

1. Microcopy

These are snackable learning tips used extensively in user onboarding flows and comprise one of the most popular applications of microlearning principles.

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2. Microlearning Videos

Short, focused videos that explain concepts form a commonly used microlearning format. For instance, Nutanix creates microlearning videos under 90 seconds covering various tech subjects.

3. Microlearning Apps Or Mobile Apps

Bite-sized mobile apps with learning games, flashcards, and trivia quizzes enable the consumption of microlearning on the go. Usually, these apps support multiple devices and operative systems.

4. Micro-challenges And Games

Gamified micro-challenges are quests, levels, competitions and other game elements in learning. At some point, these gamification elements seemed to be the pinnacle of the teaching. But this is not true. Gamified elements are outstanding, but they won't do the job for you alone.

5. Infographics

Visual infographics also provide an easy way to deliver microlearning. They simplify concepts through creative visual representations. These serve especially well to deliver highly structured content, such as comparisons, technical specifications, etc.

6. Social Media

Organizations leverage formats like Twitter or Instagram posts to deliver easily consumable microlearning content to mass audiences. While not the most reliable way, it has proven helpful for consumer education.

So beyond formal learning, microlearning platform options today span games, social posts, video clips, and more. The versatile format allows easy integration with modern tools like mobile devices, learning experience platforms (Cloud LMS) and more. And apart from saving costs, microlearning solutions boost engagement, recall, and productivity.

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Wrapping up

The bite-sized and focused nature of micro elearning makes it highly relevant for today’s workforce. Integrating microlearning strategies into your programs can, therefore, deliver immense value. Hopefully, the pointers and micro learning research shared above provide some inspiration on getting started.

At the same time, it’s important to carefully determine when microlearning works and when you need comprehensive training. Once you make this assessment, implement microlearning solutions using multimedia and interactivity for maximum appeal and effectiveness. Measure learning continuously through micro assessments. And turn to formats like infographics or videos for easier content creation at scale.

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