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What Is Microlearning?

When your training becomes overwhelming and leaves learners feeling uneasy, adopting a bite-sized approach can be an effective solution. Check out our full article to learn more about what microlearning is and how it can improve training engagement and knowledge retention!

What Is Microlearning

What Is Microlearning, What It Isn’t, And Why You Need It

Microlearning delivers significant impact.

It stands out as a more captivating, less time-intensive, and cost-effective alternative to traditional eLearning. Although it may not suit every training requirement, it proves remarkably efficient for corporate and commercial training purposes.


What Is Microlearning?

Although there isn’t a formal definition of microlearning, all microlearning-based training shares a common feature: brevity. This could involve small learning units or short-term learning activities.

Microtraining offers learners succinct bursts of content to engage with at their convenience. Content can take various forms, from text to interactive multimedia, but it should always be brief.

Here are some examples of microlearning content:

  • Text (phrases, short paragraphs)
  • Images (photos, illustrations)
  • Short videos
  • Audio (brief snippets of speech or music)
  • Tests and quizzes
  • Games (e.g., simple single-screen challenges)

It’s worth noting that not all microlearning platforms support every type of content listed above. Check with your microlearning provider to confirm which formats are available.

Despite its recent surge in popularity, microlearning has a history predating the computer era. However, its widespread adoption occurred with the rise of the modern smartphone. Leading microlearning platforms now resemble a blend of Twitter and Instagram, tailored for educational purposes.

In today’s fast-paced world with limited attention spans, microlearning emerges as an effective training model suitable for various purposes, including employee onboarding, compliance training, and skills enhancement.

What Are The Benefits Of Microlearning?

Delivery Speed

Microlearning facilitates faster course delivery. With fewer components to create, you can construct courses comprising numerous units within a short timeframe. This agility enables swift responses to evolving business objectives and emerging training needs.


Producing a microlearning course is notably more economical. It demands fewer resources and involves fewer instructors. Additionally, specialized “microlearning tools” are not essential for content creation; a standard LMS content editor suffices, although a dedicated microlearning-based platform streamlines the process.


Microlearning courses encompass a broad spectrum of subjects covered in conventional eLearning, albeit in bite-sized formats. They can offer comprehensive overviews of topics or delve into intricate subjects.

Enhanced Engagement

Microtraining stands out as the most captivating training delivery approach available. The microlearning experience resembles browsing your favorite social app on a smartphone, in contrast to the more formal atmosphere of traditional training.

Improved Knowledge Retention

Research on microlearning suggests that repeated study and revisiting of material near the point of forgetting result in better retention. Microlearning units facilitate such repetitive study as they are compact, self-contained, and easy to revisit.

Enhanced Learner Autonomy

Conventional online training, characterized by text-heavy courses, isn’t conducive to short study sessions. Conversely, microlearning enables learners to engage in casual learning whenever they have spare moments. Moreover, due to their compact nature, microtraining courses are easily downloadable and accessible offline.

What Are The Limitations Of Microlearning?

Microlearning cannot be simply categorized as superior or inferior to conventional eLearning; its effectiveness varies depending on the subject matter. However, in general:

Complexity Limitation

While microlearning excels at conveying straightforward information, it may not be the optimal choice for complex concepts. Although feasible, conveying complex ideas through microlearning necessitates additional effort, such as breaking down the concept into simpler components. Nonetheless, a bite-sized course can provide a valuable high-level overview of a subject.

Inadequate Depth

Microlearning may not be suitable for subjects requiring extensive study and depth. For instance, it may suffice for learning conversational German but may not be adequate for studying German literature. Nevertheless, in numerous scenarios, particularly in business training, a concise, self-contained course proves to be precisely what is required.

Microlearning Best Practices

When comparing microlearning to traditional courses, creating a microlearning course is generally simpler to start and quicker to complete. However, ensuring its effectiveness requires adherence to specific best practices:

Evaluate Suitability

Assess whether microlearning aligns with your specific requirements. If your subject matter is complex, requires extensive study, or relies heavily on in-person training, microlearning may not be the most appropriate option as the primary method, although it could still complement other approaches.

Condense Content

Avoid simply transferring large portions of conventional eLearning content into microlearning units. Instead, focus on crafting brief and focused content that effectively conveys the key concepts.

Enrich with Multimedia

To maintain learner engagement, incorporate multimedia elements such as videos, images, illustrations, and animations. However, ensure that these elements add value to the content and serve a purpose beyond mere decoration.

Integrate Gamification

If your microlearning platform supports gamification features, consider incorporating them to enhance learner engagement. Gamification, already proven effective in traditional eLearning, can be particularly engaging when combined with a mobile-friendly microlearning approach.

Implement Micro-Assessments

Enhance the learning experience by incorporating micro-assessments such as mini-tests and short quizzes. These assessments enable efficient tracking of learner progress towards training objectives within the microlearning framework.

Important Features of Microlearning

Microlearning encompasses more than just compact training modules. Here are several features that highlight its effectiveness as a training strategy for employees:

  • Single Learning Objectives: Unlike traditional eLearning, microlearning focuses on one performance objective per module. This approach ensures clear understanding before progressing.
  • Targeted Information: Microlearning predominantly delivers need-to-know information, saving time and offering specific, relevant content crucial for job tasks.
  • Addresses Short Attention Spans: With concise modules typically lasting 8-10 minutes, microlearning caters to learners with limited attention spans and busy schedules.
  • Mobile Accessibility: Microlearning modules are designed for easy access on various mobile devices, promoting flexibility and convenience for learners.
  • Diverse Formats: Microlearning comes in various formats such as videos, infographics, podcasts, quizzes, and games, enhancing engagement and breaking monotony.
  • Versatility in Learning Lifecycle: Microlearning can serve as standalone training or integrate seamlessly into different stages of the learning cycle, from pre-training to post-training reinforcement.
  • Standalone or Integrated: Microlearning modules can stand alone or complement traditional training, providing additional interaction and flexibility.

These features make microlearning an excellent corporate training solution, improving retention and effectively supporting employees throughout their learning journey.


What is microlearning and why is it beneficial?

Microlearning refers to a training approach that delivers concise and focused bursts of content to learners. It is more engaging, cost-effective, and adaptable compared to traditional eLearning. Microlearning enhances learner engagement and knowledge retention by offering content in small, digestible units.

What types of content can be included in microlearning?

Microlearning content can vary and includes text (phrases, short paragraphs), images (photos, illustrations), short videos, audio (brief snippets of speech or music), tests, quizzes, and simple games. The key is to keep the content brief and impactful.

How does microlearning improve learner engagement?

Microlearning is designed to be more engaging by resembling the experience of browsing social media apps on a smartphone. It offers quick, accessible content that fits into busy schedules and allows learners to study in short, focused sessions.

What are the benefits of using microlearning for corporate training?

Microlearning enables faster course delivery, reduces costs associated with training resources, and caters to learners’ preferences for brief and focused learning experiences. It also supports enhanced knowledge retention through repeated exposure to bite-sized content.

Is microlearning suitable for all types of training needs?

Microlearning may not be ideal for complex subjects requiring in-depth study or for topics that demand extensive exploration. However, it can be highly effective for providing overviews, reinforcing key concepts, and delivering supplementary training alongside traditional methods.

How can multimedia enhance microlearning content?

Incorporating multimedia elements like videos, images, and animations into microlearning content can significantly enhance learner engagement. These elements should be relevant and add value to the content, making it more interactive and appealing.

What are the limitations of microlearning?

Microlearning may not be suitable for complex or deeply analytical subjects that require a comprehensive understanding. It is more effective for delivering basic information or reinforcing specific skills rather than facilitating deep exploration or critical analysis.

How can gamification be integrated into microlearning courses?

Gamification features can be added to microlearning courses to increase learner motivation and engagement. This includes incorporating elements like quizzes, challenges, and rewards to make the learning experience more interactive and enjoyable.

How should microlearning content be evaluated for effectiveness?

Microlearning content should be evaluated based on its ability to deliver key messages concisely, engage learners effectively, and facilitate knowledge retention. Feedback from learners and assessments can help measure the impact and effectiveness of microlearning initiatives.

What are some best practices for implementing microlearning successfully?

Successful implementation of microlearning involves evaluating the suitability of microlearning for specific training needs, condensing content effectively, enriching content with multimedia elements, integrating gamification features, and utilizing micro-assessments to track learner progress and ensure effectiveness.


Microlearning offers a flexible and effective solution for modern training needs. Its ability to deliver concise, engaging content makes it valuable for corporate and commercial training. While it may not suit every situation, its benefits in terms of enhanced engagement and improved retention make it a valuable addition to any training strategy. By leveraging its strengths and following best practices, organizations can optimize training outcomes in today’s fast-paced world.


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