What is Microlearning? Deep, timing optimized, and quick

Optimized learning through microlearning

Many of us are trying to hack our way to better lives. We know our work should be deep, and our timing should be optimized. Now we’re realizing that our learning should be quick.

Learning that is focused, fast, and efficient—known as microlearning—can provide several meaningful benefits to learners of all ages. Microlearning for businesses has been a popular trend for years. Examples of microlearning courses in the workplace include on-boarding new employees, training, and professional development courses. 

Now, microlearning content is gaining traction for students in traditional classroom environments and eLearning.


Microlearning Definition

Microlearning is defined as content delivered in short, digestible formats that learners can access at their convenience. This type of learning experience is most effective when it is:

  • Brief: The “sweet spot” for microlearning content averages between 2 to 10 minutes.
  • Focused: It delivers one key concept.
  • Interactive: Instructors have the freedom to choose from a variety of mediums, including videos, podcasts, animations, and infographics. 
  • Accessible: We should no longer assume that people are learning from desktop or laptop computers. Microlearning content should be easy to access on mobile devices and tablets.
  • Applicable: Students must be able to easily identify the outcome of the lesson and even apply their new knowledge right away.


Benefits of Microlearning Courses  

Studies have shown that people thrive and become engaged learners when their needs for autonomy, competence, and relatedness are met.

Done properly, microlearning videos and content meet these essential conditions because:

  1. Students learn at their convenience and in an environment that works best for them (autonomy); 
  2. The lesson is directed to one topic, helping students feel like they mastered the subject (competency) and; 
  3. They are encouraged to apply the lesson to the real world or their studies (relatedness).


Microlearning for Higher Education

Many like to bemoan the short attention spans of Millennials and Gen Zs. Microlearning content is even seen as a remedy for this problem. The reality is more complex. 

With rising tuition costs, 43% of full-time undergraduates reported having jobs. Young adults and adult learners may not be short on attention but simply short on time. Microlearning addresses that challenge by providing content students can access on their mobile devices and at their convenience.

Microlearning for Business

With the growth of the eLearning industry, today’s learners span generations. It’s a good thing, too. 

According to a World Economic Forum report, the necessary skills needed to perform a job will change by 42% by 2022. Microlearning lessons offer exciting opportunities to help workers develop new expertise.

Businesses can leverage microlearning even further by offering micro-credentials for in-demand skills such as machine learning and leadership development.

Related Reading: How to Choose an eLearning Design Agency

How to Develop Microlearning Content 

Although the content is brief, creating microlearning content is not necessarily simple. It requires thought and use of instructional design principles. When developing curriculum—for an eLearning microlearning lesson or as an add-on to an in-class experience—consider the following:

1. Format

The information and learning outcomes need to be clear and include access to extra resources. Many of UNINCORPORATED’s blog posts are structured this way.

For inspiration on developing a format, visit What is Branding? and What is a Brand Manifesto?.

2. Video

Think of this element as a TED talk. It’s centered on one topic and it’s concise. To see an example, watch our video on How to Draft a Mission Statement.

3. Visuals

Infographics, photos, and charts can make complex topics easier to understand and create that sticky learning experience both instructors and learners want.

4. Fun

Help students reinforce their new knowledge with polls, quizzes, or any other gamification tools.

When USC Price wanted to create additional value on their website, we helped them design an online quiz on leadership styles. It remains a popular feature and has helped increase the number of applications. 

Want to be ahead of the curve and design your microlearning lesson? Our post, Recruit Students with this 7-Step Content Marketing Supply Chain, offers video production tips and resources for digital assets. 



Want to create or revamp your microlearning content or eLearning course? Let's talk!


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