Microlearning 101: An Evolving eLearning Trend

Microlearning is a powerful and effective learning method that uses small chunks of information and just-in-time multimedia content to teach skills, knowledge, and behaviors. This learning strategy aims to provide learners with the necessary information at precisely the right time. In this article, we’ll explore what microlearning is and why it works so well for learning both at work and at home, as well as tips on how you can use it today.

Microlearning is ideal for training employees on new skills or updating their existing knowledge, as managers can use it to quickly and efficiently upskill their team. In a nutshell, microlearning refers to short-term learning in small chunks. Content can take many forms, but the reasoning behind this particular strategy is that learners will be able to access information in a variety of ways and in a short amount of time.

A few content microlearning examples are:

  • Videos
    Videos are the most popular form of content used in microlearning. Video tutorials and demonstrations are perfect for demonstrating new skills or explaining simple processes.
  • Quizzes
    Quizzes help learners assess what they’ve learned and focus on the content that will be most helpful. At a glance, quizzes can tell you if learners are proficient at basic tasks or need more training on advanced topics. Questionnaires and quizzes can help in micro-courses by providing instant feedback to learners so they know where to improve.
  • Podcasts
    Podcasts are one of the most popular forms of this teaching method, and it’s easy to see why. People can listen on their way to work, at lunchtime, during a long walk—basically whenever and wherever they want! The best part is that podcasts don’t require fancy equipment or technical skills; podcasting tools like Anchor are easy to use, even for beginners.
  • Lectures and presentations
    Lecture-based learning is often expensive and time-consuming, so it’s not the best solution for every environment. Micro-lessons take far less time to prepare but can still give learners an engaging experience to learn new information quickly.
  • Images
    Images are a great way to convey simple ideas and concepts. They’re not as interactive as videos, but they can still help people remember critical information presented in a short amount of time. Studies show that visual learning increases retention by 29% to 42%, as images are stored directly into our long-term memory [1].
  • Text
    Text is a well-known form of microlearning. We can easily type out what we want to say, but it’s not always as simple for people new to the language or learning a few phrases in another language. Leaders should use this form of content sparingly, as it takes up more time and can be far less engaging for employees.
  • Games
    Depending on their learning objectives, games may help with things like critical thinking skills or collaboration strategies. While games may not be helpful for training employees on customer service or admin processes, they can be helpful if you’re trying to improve teamwork and connectedness.

Did you know? Eight out of ten Learning and Development professionals prefer micro-lessons to traditional learning courses.

Microlearning Vs. Macrolearning

Microlearning isn’t the same as macrolearning, but the two can be used in conjunction. Microlearning can supplement macrolearning so that when you want learners to understand a topic further, pairing the two types of learning allows all aspects of the topic to be covered.

Macrolearning is the opposite of microlearning since it involves a complete learning experience into complex concepts, ideas, or processes that take longer to understand. While individuals can micro-learn on the go, macrolearning requires higher levels of concentration and a longer attention span.

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With macrolearning, employees will generally complete a task or solve a problem and then receive feedback to learn something new. It’s a lengthier process, but if they have mastered all of the macro-skills and knowledge, it will be easier for them to upskill.

Though microlearning is undoubtedly a faster and simpler process, both macro and microlearning are helpful methods of upskilling your workforce.

Is Microlearning Effective?

Research shows that yes, microlearning is indeed an effective method of learning. People are more engaged when they can learn at their own time and pace.

Here are several reasons why this type of learning works so well:

It Helps With Retention

Micro-lessons can increase retention rates because learners don’t need to remember as much information at once when data is broken up and shared in small chunks. Based on RPS research, micro-courses help improve long-term retention by around 80% [2]. Employees are more likely to remember information presented to them after hearing or seeing something only once.

It’s Easy To Learn And Review This Way

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Individuals can engage in this learning strategy anytime, anywhere. It doesn’t require much time or effort to complete tasks, unlike reading long documents or watching hour-long videos. Microlearning makes it possible for people with busy schedules to track their progress and stay on top of the new skills they’ve gained. Whether your employees need a skill refresher or you want to share important information with them quickly, this method is perfect for learners on the go.

It’s An Effective Way To Update Knowledge And Learn New Information

Microlearning is also an effective way to update existing knowledge or learn more regarding a topic. Micro-courses are short, easy to remember, and convenient for learners who cannot attend formal learning workshops for whatever reason. It does not take too much time, and it’s perfect for people who work in shifts or have other limitations that prevent them from studying the traditional way.

It Can Help Reduce Costs

This learning strategy can help reduce costs because individuals can learn what they need to in their own time. This means they don’t have to pay for the entire course—only what they actually need. Moreover, using microlearning for effective performance management is a great way to avoid unnecessary costs and time spent on training. It enables learners to access information in whichever way suits them, and this helps learners retain information, thus increasing performance.

People Want Information Quickly

With all the distractions people face throughout the day, it’s no wonder that speed is a major selling point for the microlearning method. In fact, according to research by Bradbury, the attention span of an individual steadily decreases after 20 minutes [3]. That’s why it’s important to break up content into short, easy-to-digest pieces that are perfect for people who have a lot to learn in very little time. By breaking down information into short, easy-to-digest lessons, it’s easier than ever to get the knowledge you need to make better decisions and improve your efficiency.

How Can eLearning Use This Learning Strategy?

eLearning allows students to access their courses and content via web-based platforms and portals. It goes hand-in-hand with microlearning, as it gives people access to micro-courses anytime, anywhere in a matter of minutes.

eLearning includes online courses and other types of self-paced training materials delivered through various digital formats, including videos and interactive modules. It can use the microlearning approach by breaking down information into short, easy-to-digest content modules, perfect for people in the eLearning setup.

A study shows that learners in an online class setup have a shorter attention span due to being more vulnerable to distractions [4]. Thus, companies and other learning environments can benefit greatly from micro-lessons.

Tips On How To Use Microlearning In eLearning

Using microlearning in eLearning may seem confusing, as some people aren’t sure how to divide content into smaller pieces. To make things easier, eLearning developers and other leaders in an organization can follow these tips:

1. Highlight The Most Important Information

Due to time constraints and other commitments, some people might not read everything available in their online courses. One way you can use the e-microlearning strategy to resolve this is by highlighting which content learners need to focus on first. Highlighting information can help emphasize certain elements and break down lessons into shorter pieces. Moreover, color-coding and prioritizing learning material can help improve learning outcomes and retention by shifting the focus onto what’s most important.

2. Make Use Of The Different Micro-Content Formats

As mentioned before, there are many different

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