Adopting Microlearning in Your Online Training

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COVID-19 has upended traditional training programs for most organizations. Combine this with changing dynamics as millennials become an ever-increasing part of modern workplaces and the result is trainees that are overwhelmed and less patient. The Modern Corporate Learner research shows that today’s workforce is only able to commit about 1% of their workday to training and development. If organizations want to attract, engage and retain current and future workers, they have to adapt when traditional training methods don’t resonate. One possible solution? The adoption of microlearning.

10 Reasons to Adopt Microlearning in Your Online Training

What is Microlearning?

Microlearning is a way of delivering content to learners in short and focused learning “nuggets”. Content is focused on targeted pieces of information and learners spend no more than 3-5 minutes on a particular learning activity. It is an approach that can be used for formal and informal training to achieve higher employee engagement and performance.

Microlearning is not a new phenomenon, rather its popularity has increased with advances in technology. Technology today makes it easier to deliver learning materials using rich formats and on multiple devices.

Why Do Companies Adopt Microlearning-Based Training?

  • Training budgets are being cut. eLearning leaders are under pressure to develop cost-efficient courses, and maximize the ROI of training.
  • The rise of mobile learning. According to Ambient Insight, the global mobile learning market will register an annual growth rate of 18.2% for the period 2012 to 2017 (Ambient Insight, 2013).
  • Time constraints. With less time dedicated to training and development, companies are looking for ways to maximize training opportunities.
  • New learner expectations. A Rapid Learning Institute study suggests that 94% of learners prefer modules less than 10 minutes in duration (particularly for soft-skill topics), and 65% said most eLearning modules contain too much information.
  • Reduced attention spans: The millennial workforce has a short attention span and traditional learning methods don’t resonate with their preferences and expectations.

Advantages of Microlearning for Learners

1. Empowers learners

The most effective way to empower your learners is to allow them to select the content they need in the format that works best for their learning style. Often referred to as personalized microlearning, learners benefit because they can define their own learning path.

To engage learners in their training, they must also feel that they are in control of their learning experience. Microlearning achieves this because you can offer content that is accessible and available on demand.

2. Just-in-time

Whether you are using a mobile app, videos, whiteboard animations or interactive PDFs, microlearning allows your learners to take their training materials with them anywhere they go.

With bite-sized courses that focus on a maximum of one or two objectives, learners can instantly access the course when they need it and immediately apply what they learn on the job.

3. Accessible learning

Learners want to be able to access information from all types of devices (computers, tablets and smart phones) at any time of the day. For example, at the end of their day if they are going to engage in any kind of learning, they want it to be quick, easy and relevant. Microlearning, if designed effectively, addresses these needs.

4. Reinforce soft skills

Microlearning content focuses on teaching one skill or concept at a time. Short modules convey the information rapidly yet efficiently. Soft skills such as communication, working effectively in teams, leadership and writing are often acquired through informal learning.

Short bite-sized videos on these topics are an excellent way to remind employees of the elements associated with these skills.

5. Results in higher learner completion rate

Learners are distracted several times a day. With microlearning, they can choose how they consume content, when they consume it and what content they need.

Spaced repetition has also been proven to have a greater impact on learning. In other words, if you are a busy person and need to commit something to memory, you should space out the repetitions to improve retention. Microlearning effectively facilitates this process. It helps to increase retention and application of knowledge.

Advantages of Microlearning for Businesses

6. Cost-effective training

Considering that microlearning events are shorter than traditional training, content can be created much more quickly, reducing development costs.

You also avoid having to pay for instructors, travel expenses or for the utilities and classroom equipment of traditional workshop-based classes. Microlearning is accessible anywhere from any device.

7. Easy to update

Microlearning is much easier to update than traditional training manuals or online courses. If something needs to be updated, simply send out a quick video. Your workers get the information they need and you (or your training department) saves time.

8. Shorter development cycle

It generally takes 3-6 months to design and develop a highly interactive online course. When it comes to microlearning, less information is produced at a time. Take a one-hour online course. With microlearning, you could break up that course into 3 or 4 mini modules. Each mini module can be rolled out at a different time.

If you are producing a short video, a quick animation or even a document that won’t take your learners more than a couple of minutes to read, you ultimately are working with less content. Less content equals a shorter development cycle.

9. Wider application

Microlearning can be delivered to a large group of learners or to specific individuals based on their learning needs. Administrators only have to assign the learning nuggets to learners or groups of learners and report on training performance.

10. Better performance

Microlearning enables learners to achieve their learning goals faster and transfer their new skills more effectively into the workplace.

Regardless of how you deliver your microlearning content, remember that rewarding learners when they perform well is a great source of motivation. Plus, deploying a training solution that is results-oriented and designed for efficiency will result in better performance across your organization.


Not all training can be done through microlearning. However, it is an excellent tool that can support your formal and informal training programs. The next time you think about how to structure or deliver information to your workforce, you may want to consider microlearning. Check out this article Corporate Training: 5 Steps for Developing a Training Program to help you create and deliver effective training programs.

Ready to choose an LMS software that supports microlearning in your organization? Download our LMS Vendor Comparison eBook and ensure you choose the right Learning Management System,
and the right vendor, for your organization.

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