What is microlearning?


What is microlearning? You encounter microlearning on a daily basis, sometimes without consciously noticing it. It's often used in marketing, tv commercials, bus stop signboards, and even catching up on the latest news or going through tweets in your timeline can be considered micro-learning activities.

As of recently, microlearning is a frequent term being mentioned, especially in corporate eLearning. Microlearning provides a wide range of benefits to both employers and learners.

Microlearning is a way of teaching and providing content to engage learners in short bursts of 1-5 minutes, focusing on specific learning outcomes without overwhelming the learner. The learner controls their self-paced learning journey and can decide the best times and environment to learn. In general, microlearning activities are best utilized at the exact point when a student will need the information or when they are going to be most receptive.

Why microlearning?

Microlearning uses digital learning techniques to make content more straightforward for learners. Learners can engage in lessons that are easy to understand, aiming to fill knowledge gaps or acquire new information. Microlearning training content comes in many activity types, from videos, audiobooks, podcasts, games, infographics, presentations, app notifications that push bursts of information to learners, etc. 

How to use microlearning?

The learner is given 2-5 minutes to learn one specific objective by completing a task such as:

  • Onboarding new employees

  • Snappy interactive multimedia videos

  • Instant chat sessions

  • Forum interaction

  • Quick games

  • Bite-sized podcasts

  • Simple infographics

  • Snapshot Flashcards

  • Short quiz

  • Bursts of facts through App push notifications

  • Quick Q&A summary

Benefits of microlearning

Improve knowledge recall

  • Instead of overwhelming the learner with fast amounts of data in one session, microlearning provides small pieces of information to process it more effectively in a self-paced environment. Research has demonstrated that learners absorb short bursts of information more. Microlearning reinforces learning and memorability.

Mobile microlearning:

  • Microlearning is ideally suited for self-paced mobile learning where learners can access small bursts of learning content whenever or however they choose.


  • Allowing learners to get the specific lessons that they need and are interested in without having to wait for classes schedules

Learner motivation:

  • Learners are encouraged to complete short online videos as a task assignment. Short activities increase motivation and encourage learners to engage more.

What is micro learning in an eLearning setting?

Microlearning should not replace your training strategy but can be used as a supplement to your training strategy. Micro learning is great for self-paced skills training and can fit into your overarching strategy.

For example, it can be used to reinforce your longer forms of training. if you have an hour-long training module that all employees are required to go through, you can use microlearning to reinforce their learning through app push notifications reinforcing key points, short videos, and an occasional short newsletter.

Microlearning is:

  • Self-paced

  • Discrete

  • Short and simple

  • Skills-based

  • Immediately actionable

  • Available at any point


“Tell me, and I forget, teach me, and I may remember, involve me, and I learn.”

Benjamin Franklin


Microlearning content

Creating effective microlearning content is about more than just chopping up your longer training modules into bite-sized pieces of content. When you make those microlearning modules more interactive, learners are more likely to have increased knowledge retention. The following section below explores the top common types of microlearning content.

Microlearning: Videos

Short, topical videos are a great way to deliver microlearning, but on their own, they’re fairly passive to consume. 

Adding captions to videos is one way to make them more interactive. First, it makes them more accessible for hearing-impaired learners, as well as those who aren’t able to watch with the sound on for environmental reasons. It also makes the videos more engaging because people can read along and absorb information that way, as well. 

Go a step farther by adding interactive quizzes to your videos that reinforce the information by testing learners on the fly. You can also add buttons with pop-up tips, links, and other extra resources. 

Microlearning: Presentations

Presenting a concept in a slide format allows users to go at their own pace, and because they’re required to click from slide to slide, it can be more interactive than video.

Make your presentations even more interactive by embedding short quizzes within the unit, with options to retake them if they miss answers. Mix up the quizzes with styles such as drag-and-drop, fill-in-the-blank, and multiple-choice to test learners in different ways. 

Microlearning: Webpages and documents

Another common way to present microlearning concepts is as a single page of short engaging editorial text, diagrams, and images. Make these pages more interactive with digital flashcards that have an illustration or question on one side; when learners click them, they flip over to reveal the explanatory text. 

The act of flipping the card helps learners make a visual connection between the pieces of information and is a great option for helping employees memorize things like vocabulary or a set of processes. You can also use links to situate microlearning modules into a larger context so that learners can find out more if they need it. For example, you can link to outside resources, internal documents, or other trainings they can take. See some of these interactive microlearning techniques in action?


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