Microlearning: What you need to know

Learning something new can be a daunting prospect, especially if you’re short on time…

But whether you want to work on your professional development, you’re looking to develop a skill, or you want to improve your performance at uni, microlearning could be the perfect way to enhance your skillset fast.

To help you understand what it involves, here’s everything you need to know about microlearning:


What is microlearning?

Microlearning is an educational strategy used by businesses and other organisations, which focuses on delivering informative content in short, contextual nuggets.

These bite-sized pieces of information can then be incorporated into an employee’s or student’s day-to-day, making them better able to engage with the material and retain vital knowledge.

It can be self-directed, or offered as part of an employee training and development programme.


Who is microlearning for?

This form of learning can be used in a range of contexts – meaning it’s a popular choice for almost anyone who’s looking to learn fast.

It’s most commonly used by:

  • Employees carrying out training and development at work
  • College or university students
  • Individuals wanting to learn or develop their skills (e.g. languages, recipes, vocabulary)


What are the characteristics of microlearning?

  • Sessions should be short (usually around 5-10 minutes)
  • Sessions should focus on one task or concept
  • Sessions should be easily accessible across a range of platforms
  • Sessions should give the user control (e.g. pause functions)


What does microlearning involve?  

Microlearning can involve a number of activities, with most lasting anything from a few seconds to fifteen minutes – making them succinct and quick to digest.

These include:

  • Reading a short paragraph of text
  • Looking at a flashcard
  • Listening to a podcast
  • Watching a video clip or presentation
  • Taking a quiz
  • Playing an educational game
  • Memorising a word, definition, or formula

These tasks are often carried out using a range of applications, whether it’s using a screensaver to prompt a series of simple tasks, a daily email to share snippets of information, or a mobile app to offer short quizzes that can be completed on-the-go.


Examples of microlearning

Many organisations and course providers use microlearning techniques to teach their employees, users, or customers something new.

Examples include:

  • Gamified micro courses that help employees get to grips with duties, health and safety procedures, or software easily and efficiently.
  • Educational apps that provide a fast and easy way to learn a new language, through short lessons and quizzes that involve speaking, listening, and translating.
  • Video series that use time-lapsed drawings or instructional graphics to teach you a new concept or how to build/make/create something new.
  • Cooking videos that offer a wide range of step-by-step guide videos that are designed to help you learn all kinds of recipes.
  • Industry-specific apps that teach you skills at the click of a button, allowing you to choose from a range of a categories and learn in small bursts.
  • Push notifications or emails that teach you something (e.g. a new word) every day, making it easy to incorporate learning into your day-to-day.


What are the benefits of microlearning?

Microlearning is a fast an effective way to help people absorb and engage with a range of learning materials.

Here are just a few of the benefits of using microlearning:

  • It’s specific. Microlearning allows businesses and learners to tailor their materials to a particular subject or area of study, making learning gaps easy to fill.
  • It’s flexible. Microlearning provides more autonomy than traditional learning methods, allowing people to take ownership over their own development.
  • It’s up-to-date. As microlearning consists of short-form content, it can be turned around and updated quickly and efficiently; meaning what’s being taught is always relevant.
  • It’s engaging. Microlearning is a great way to help learners focus and retain information fast, featuring everything from games and videos to infographics and quizzes
  • It’s versatile. Most microlearning tools work across a number of platforms, from mobile phones to tablets; making it the perfect choice for tech-savvy users.


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