Microlearning In 2022: Miraculous Or Overrated?

The Newest On 2015’s L&D Wunderkind

When microlearning toddled onto the training scene within the mid-noughties, Amazon was 11, blogs had been previous information, Google was changing into dominant, and Fb was model new. Our brains had been on that slippery digital slope to an consideration span shorter than that of the proverbial goldfish [1]. Bliss was it in that daybreak to be alive and many others.

As people turned groomed by social media to turn out to be ever extra impatient, Google searches for microlearning grew and grew. 2015 noticed a spike which continued to 2019 (and possibly past). In an age the place we’re not ready to attend three seconds for an internet site to load [2], snackable studying appears a sound transfer.

It’s not simply that we’re lazy, though considering onerous is onerous work [3]. Our brief consideration spans are additionally a results of growing cognitive load. Our mind can solely course of a lot every day, but we’re bombarded with a lot data our consideration spans are lowering in self-defense.

One of many causes the darkish lords of tech like Steve Jobs and Mark Zuckerberg put on the identical garments day by day is (or was, in Steve’s case) to lower their cognitive load. Many excessive achievers are hooked up to routines for a similar cause. They’re liberating their minds for extra worthwhile issues than eager about what shirt to put on or what to have for lunch.

Microlearning 101

Skip this should you’re a microlearning professional, ’trigger that is primary.

Microlearning breaks studying up into bite-sized microcontent. Every module is concentrated on a single thought and takes not more than 5 minutes to devour, typically much less.

The strengths of microlearning are many. Listed below are a number of highlights. We’ve stored it to 5 as a result of any greater than 5 bullets is an excessive amount of for our overstretched brains.

  • Microlearning caters to our diminishing consideration spans.
  • It makes indigestible subjects extra accessible.
  • It makes it simpler for learners to hunt data they want after they want it.
  • It helps individuals retain data. Our brains like data served up in tasty nuggets.
  • It’s nice for supporting longer studying. Analysis signifies we overlook 50% of what we study inside an hour and 80% inside the month if studying just isn’t strengthened. Microlearning can repeat key ideas and increase long-term retention.

Why Did Microlearning Turn out to be So Scorching Scorching?

Microlearning developed in response to the growing tempo of life. Even earlier than COVID made in-person coaching a problem, busy individuals struggled to make time for studying. In 2014, Deloitte shared that the typical worker was spending 1% (solely 24 minutes) of the week studying [4].

On the similar time, more and more subtle digital content material made reams of dry studying content material that took hours to digest appear boring, in addition to ineffectual. And let’s be trustworthy, of us; up till a number of years in the past (three, perhaps) most studying content material was fairly dire. Company, boring, and lengthy…very, very lengthy. Not surprisingly, learners started to push again, voting with their mouse by refusing to devour standard studying.

It’s no coincidence microlearning blew up round 2015, on the similar time cellular content material turned the massive buzz. The shift to smartphones noticed the acceleration of the pattern in the direction of consuming content material in bite-sized chunks, and learners started to marvel out loud why they couldn’t devour coaching on their telephones, on the go.

Microlearning additionally matches with our understanding of the completely different efficacy of push and pull studying. Folks can resist studying pushed onto them. But when learners need to know methods to do one thing, are in search of data, or to re-embed studying they’ve already achieved, they’ll be comfortable to tug studying content material themselves. And right here’s the place microlearning excels.

And microlearning’s aligned with creating the holy grail of L&D, a tradition of studying. A studying tradition is advanced and never a straightforward factor to attain, however microlearning helps encourage self-directed studying, one small piece of the training tradition puzzle.

Microlearning Grows Up

The essential idea of microlearning isn’t that radical. Incrementally stacking small chunks of data performs to our pure cognitive processes. Microlearning will get attention-grabbing when studying concept intersects with cellular know-how, gaming, and digital advertising and marketing.

Simply In Time And Simply Sufficient

Cellular tech and Google rebooted the best way we demand and devour data. We’ve at all times been impatient, curious monkeys (nicely, OK, apes), however with little supercomputers in our pockets and the knowledge of the world at our fingertips, we’ve turn out to be just-in-time data junkies. We anticipate to have the ability to discover the information we’d like immediately, and we’re not inclined to wade by a three-hour course to extract a nugget we may Google in seconds.

Nevertheless it’s not that we don’t need to study. You would argue we’ve entered a golden age for eLearning, the place digital know-how, job insecurity, and complex advertising and marketing have intersected to create demand for studying as by no means earlier than. Nevertheless, that starvation for studying is combating with our lack of time, and the clear winner is microlearning.

Microlearning fanatic Josh Bersin advocates for content material “that instantly teaches what we have to know, that inserts itself on the time of want, and is so attention-grabbing that we keep in mind it after only some minutes.” We’re speaking about studying within the stream of labor and life.

Simply-in-time microlearning rules embrace:

  • Making it simple for learners to seek out the data they need after they want it.
  • Answering questions with extremely focused data.
  • Being platform-agnostic so learners can entry studying at any time when, wherever.
  • Partaking snackable content material codecs like micro video or audio, graphics, quizzes, and different interactive studying instruments. Extra subtle microlearning might even provide a selection of codecs to cater to completely different content material preferences.
  • Decreasing boundaries by making studying briefly hits accessible and rewarding.


One other up to date improvement that lends itself to microlearning is gaming know-how, with gamification methods typically used to make microlearning much more participating. Gaming parts like quizzes, puzzles, interactive scenes, incentives and rewards, progress monitoring or chief boards, all attraction to our aggressive nature and encourage creating a studying behavior.

Refined Visuals, Storytelling, And UX

Digital advertising and marketing is steeped within the psychology of persuasion, and L&D builders can study quite a bit from entrepreneurs. High quality microlearning adopts three key digital advertising and marketing instruments.

  1. Visible aesthetic is central to engagement and delight of studying. Lovely design is all over the place, and if eLearning doesn’t match the delicate digital aesthetic learners have grown to anticipate, it’ll be perceived as second finest.
  2. Storytelling is central to studying and microlearning is not any exception, with micro situations being the proper machine to hook individuals in and make an idea related and relatable.
  3. Person expertise, or UX, is the artwork of utilizing data-driven insights to rigorously craft a digital expertise to be intuitive, frictionless, and fulfilling.

When Microlearning Fails

Microlearning misses the mark when it’s oversimplified. Microlearning isn’t merely taking standard studying content material and chunking it up into small helpings.

Certain, that may make long-form content material extra digestible, but it surely doesn’t contemplate the opposite features of subtle microlearning, specificity (i.e., simply in time and simply sufficient), gamification, subtle visuals, storytelling, and UX.

Two key elements holding company microlearning again are usability and visible aesthetic. UX could be difficult to nail with out data-driven insights, and that’s an space the place SCORM-based studying platforms let L&D professionals down. Chameleon’s now hosted on a web-based platform, delivering knowledge to assist L&D designers optimize person design. In the event you’re unable to make the shift to Chameleon, you’ll be able to nonetheless take into consideration UX out of your learner’s viewpoint. What would they anticipate? What would they get pleasure from? What would make them need to return?

Visible communication’s essentially the most highly effective mode of communication most people have. That’s why we created Chameleon to enhance the design and aesthetics of digital studying content material. In your microlearning (and all studying content material) to achieve success, you will need to give learners an awesome visible expertise that makes studying fulfilling and enhances your model.

Creating participating microlearning begins with acknowledging that there’s a disconnect between the standard of the content material learners devour in on a regular basis life and a lot of the studying content material they devour at work. Your job’s to shut that hole and make studying content material as (or much more) fulfilling because the content material they binge on social.

Why Aren’t Extra Companies Doing Microlearning Effectively?

Microlearning isn’t a brand new idea. However we work with L&D builders at many companies and we hardly ever see anybody doing it. And I’ve a number of theories why.

One cause may merely be that folks aren’t used to creating microlearning. It’s an idea, not enterprise as traditional. There are lots of L&D ideas individuals love to speak about however nobody does.

Microlearning strikes away from the normal method L&D groups make on-line studying. A traditional method to on-line studying is to work with Topic Matter Specialists. This leads to massive modules as a result of consultants are inclined to cram as a lot content material as potential. They’re cursed with data and assume everybody ought to know as a lot as they do. This may be problematic should you’re attempting to make a shift to microlearning.

Another excuse individuals haven’t embraced microlearning could also be resourcing. Lots of L&D groups are understaffed and microlearning could be more durable to supply than lengthy content material. I used to be speaking to a business author who defined it’s normal in her trade to cost extra for brief content material, because it’s more durable to distill issues all the way down to their necessities. It may be robust to consolidate lots of content material into one thing that’s efficient and retains stakeholders comfortable.

And at last, there’s lots of concept on the market, however not quite a bit in the best way of step-by-step directions on methods to make good microlearning. In the event you’re an L&D designer eager to make microlearning, how do you begin?

How To Construct Microlearning That Kicks Arse

Listed below are a number of ideas from our professional studying designers on creating microlearning that’s helpful, fulfilling, and exquisite.

  • Know microlearning’s strengths. It’s good at:
    1. Altering habits over time
    2. Reinforcing studying
    3. Making micro-resources
    4. Sharing updates on new merchandise or insurance policies
  • We have a tendency to make use of microlearning in two methods:
    1. Introducing an idea with a sequence of small classes offering important data in a condensed format.
    2. Supporting that idea with a library of just-in-time micro-resources.
  • Begin along with your learners, perceive their efficiency gaps, and set your studying aims. Resolve which studying is finest aligned to microlearning’s strengths.
  • Break these aims down into microtasks. Consider each piece of content material as answering a query from a learner, “How do I do X?”
  • Harness the ability of user-generated content material and get your Topic Matter Specialists creating knowledge-base content material to create a complete data base of micro-resources.
  • Combine up your content material codecs. See microlearning as a multi-platform marketing campaign.
  • Maintain it brief. 5 minutes max. A 15-minute module ain’t microlearning, of us.
  • Make certain your microlearning is constructed on a totally responsive, mobile-friendly platform so it may be consumed wherever and at any time when, on any machine.
  • See microlearning content material as an ongoing effort, not one and achieved.
  • Make investments time in creating your measurement methods. How will you measure:
    1. Enhance in data
    2. Enhance in productiveness
    3. Behavioral change

Microlearning Examples Out In Τhe World

The microlearning examples we’ve got to share are from our personal studying modules as a result of we’re but to work with a consumer who’s embraced microlearning and executed it nicely. Eager to alter that, although.

Working From House

Our work-from-home module was created in the course of the first wave of COVID, to assist work-from-home newbies set themselves up a protected, wholesome workspace. 9 bite-sized ideas for working from house could be consumed in a few minutes.

Bite-sized tips on working from home

Chew-sized tips about working from house.

Interactive elements give tips for online meetings

Interactive parts give ideas for on-line conferences.

Brave Conversations

This brief train designed to assist groups with onerous conversations gives snackable tips about methods to efficiently method tough subjects. Three micromodules use parts like interactive lists and interactive storytelling to encourage self-reflection.

Asking people to rate how challenging they find different tricky topics

Asking individuals to price how difficult they discover completely different tough subjects.

Learners accompany Skinny through a range of challenging scenarios

Learners accompany Skinny by a variety of difficult situations.

Eager To Give Microlearning A Go?

Microlearning might not be simple. However its time has come. Expertise, the best way we work, and the best way we devour content material have converged to create a panorama the place microlearning’s the pure selection. We’re right here that can assist you grasp microlearning on your group.


[1] You Now Have a Shorter Consideration Span Than a Goldfish

[2] The necessity for cellular velocity

[3] Ask a Neuroscientist: Why is considering onerous so onerous?

[4] Main in Studying

Downloadable Modules:

eBook Release: Chameleon Creator

Chameleon Creator

Chameleon Creator is a totally responsive HTML5 authoring device that’s constructed with a design-first angle.

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