Microlearning Short & Sweet: Benefits and Best Practices

What if we told you that you could easily master rocket science in a matter of days through microlearning?

Well, that’s a little bit of a stretch. We wish we possessed such learning capacity and power of recall. If you’d ask me what superpower I yearn to acquire, I’d say the ability to be a Super Learner. That would surely come in handy in our fast-changing dynamic work environment.

But guess what, learning just got easier in recent years. Companies are increasingly moving away from the traditional learning framework and embracing microlearning at a stupendous rate. Experts refer to microlearning as the one-way ticket to flee the goldfish-memory trap.

What precisely do we mean?

Understanding Microlearning in Brief

Another word for microlearning is bite-size learning. However, nano training and micro training are still applicable in certain circles. It simply refers to optimizing any learning content for length, making it as short and precise as possible without sacrificing the vital elements.

With that microlearning definition, one would easily assume that all topics, otherwise referred to as micro-units, are typically short. That’s a misconception. Micro-units are divided into micro, messo, and macro components. A successful microlearning course will improve the educational outcomes realized in traditional learning while personalizing learning and using less time for each learner.

Microlearning has garnered significant attention in the past few years in the worlds of association onboarding, continuing education, global sustainability organizations offering safety training for workers, and heightening completion and retention rates of emergency preparedness learning, among others.

Microlearning courses are 17% more efficient than their traditional counterparts. That could be a primary reason traditional learning is taking the backseat in modern-day companies, with over 74% of time dedicated to distance asynchronous microlearning.

We can go on and on and list an entire encyclopedia of microlearning usage or even write a review of the trend of microlearning in the workplace today. But we’ll reserve that for another time. For now, let’s look at some benefits of microlearning.

Gains from Integrating Microlearning in the Workplace


  • Microlearning is relatively cost-effective and more efficient

Compared to the traditional learning criteria, microlearning is generally less expensive to set up and maintain. The biggest challenge comes in personalizing learning for hundreds of employees.

  • Microlearning significantly improves course completion and knowledge retention

What’s the use of starting anything if one won’t successfully see it to the end? Microlearning makes learning easy and flexible for learners, boosting course completion. Moreover, spaced repetition and recurring content ensure the learner grasps the key points and retains that knowledge in the long run. What’s more, due to the transient nature of micro-units, it becomes ideal for “moment of need” education where learners can quickly scan through the desired unit when its need arises.

  • Microlearning significantly lowers cognitive overload for the trainer and learner

Which would you enjoy more: sitting through a three-hour class after lunch or going through three units covering the same topic each 7-minutes long? Cognitive overload in traditional learning removes the fun in learning, making it burdensome and tiring.

  • Microlearning is trackable and scalable

This means that trainers can quickly assess the learning curve of learners and evaluate where changes need to be made.

  • Microlearning is eventually more engaging

Research suggests that microlearning revamped the level of engagement from 15% to 90%. This could suggest why 94% of edupreneurs and e-learners prefer microlearning to long-form traditional learning.

7 Best Practices to Actuate Microlearning in Organizations

Micro training calls for a strategic approach, failure to which could lead to more costs and fragmented learning. Below we’ve compiled some pro tips to integrate microlearning into your organization.

  1. You may not necessarily need to begin afresh when setting up the course. Recycling works too. Think of reusing and reworking existing modules to fit a microlearning environment.
  2. Always have the end in mind when starting. That will make it much easier to break down this high-level goal into smaller sub-tasks that will drive you towards your objectives.
  3. Use a 50/50 approach to the KUAR framework. That is 50% knowing and understanding and 50% acting and reflecting.
  4. Aim for bite-sized modules and apply the principle of spaced repetition for better recall. Miller’s law suggests the average human can mostly retain 7 ± 2 facts in the short-term memory. Apply this maxim accordingly.
  5. Use a mix of materials to appeal to different audiences and the four types of learners – auditory, visual, reading, and kinaesthetic. Incorporating a mixture of short videos, polls, infographics, and interactive quizzes will also grab attention and cement engagement.
  6. Micro-challenges and gamification mechanics also create engagement and enable learners to retain the knowledge for much longer.
  7. Utilize learning nudge-based prompts and notifications to sustain attention spans. This relies on the same psychology of notifications on social media platforms. They hook you. Designing a microlearning LMS that uses notifications after short periods will leave a hook-on effect on learners.


Learning is an art, a beautiful and much-needed one in our day. Done right, the organization could reap plenty of benefits, not to mention the increased productivity associated with increased effective learning — way to put a smile on your shareholders’ faces.

So, are you ready to master the superpower of learning through microlearning?


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