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A Complete Guide to Microlearning

The forgetting curve by Hermann Ebbinghaus suggests that we forget 80% of what we learn within 30 days of a learning exercise. This famous theory suggests that traditional training methods can result in low rates of retention over time. To improve retention instructional designers have employed various tactics to engage learners. One of these is microlearning – learning in short, meaningful bursts that can be carried out more regularly. Here’s our complete guide to microlearning.

What is microlearning?

Microlearning is a way to deliver training content to learners in bite-sized, focused bursts. Each unit or module focuses on an individual learning objective. Microlearning relates to the structure and the consumption of a course.

What does the micro in microlearning mean?

The word micro suggests that the units of content are small. But what exactly is the unit of measurement? Is it size, length, word count or detail? The answer lies in the experience rather than the content. The whole point of microlearning is the efficient consumption of training. If a 30-second video communicates the learning objective better or faster than two paragraphs of text, then that’s the medium to use.

Types of content used

Microlearning describes chunks of content that each cover a unique learning objective. Think of them of as bite-sized learning activities. They can stand on their own, or be linked together to form a course in your LMS. But what is microlearning content? The types of microlearning content vary but include some of the following:

Choosing the right types of media to use

The goal is to communicate the learning outcome in the best or most efficient way possible. Video is perfect for microlearning because it’s a rich media type. Another good example is the use of infographics. A single infographic communicates a large amount of information in a concise, digestible format. We’ve even included an infographic later in this post to prove the point!

An example of microlearning

To show how microlearning can be used we’ll take a ‘Fire safety in the workplace’ course as our example. This course has an overall goal of reducing risk and keeping your employees safe. It can, however, be divided into distinct ‘chunks’. Each one covers a unique learning objective. Microlearning The modules are as follows: The entire course clocks in at 15 minutes but is delivered in bite-sized portions. Each unit is an important element that stands on its own. Together they form a comprehensive course that benefits the learner. 

Benefits of microlearning

Microlearning benefits you and your learners in the following ways:

Disadvantages of microlearning

The microlearning model is far from perfect. As with all eLearning trends, you need to examine their practicality and value before throwing your weight behind them. It’s obvious that there are benefits to microlearning but let’s consider two situations where it mightn’t work for you and your learners:

Microlearning guidelines

If you’re rolling out microlearning in your organization or contemplating it in the future, there are some rules to follow.

An infographic explaining Microlearning  




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