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What Is Microlearning And Why Does It Matter? Examples And Best Practices

Microlearning is an approach to learning and development that offers information in small, focused chunks. The elements are usually designed to be stand-alone lessons that provide instruction on a single topic or skill. 

Examples of microlearning for corporate training include:

How can you help your learners retain information from their training courses and ensure they aren’t overloaded with information? Meet the “bite-sized” learning strategy — Microlearning. 

Microlearning delivers training content in short bursts often at the point of need. By using job aids, short videos, FAQ sites, and more, microlearning allows learners to absorb information on a single topic through a focused, stand-alone learning resource. 

At Roundtable Learning, we help organizations adopt modern L&D strategies fit to their learners’ needs. We’ve seen how microlearning, among other techniques, can effectively engage learners through high-impact, just-in-time learning activities. 

This article will define microlearning, explore the benefits and disadvantages of microlearning, and provide 7 best practices for incorporating microlearning into your corporate training. 

What Is Microlearning?

Microlearning is an approach to learning and development that offers information in small, focused chunks. The elements are usually designed to be stand-alone lessons that provide instruction on a single topic or skill. Microlearning activities differ across training topics and are driven by the specific learning environment of the organization. 

Skill-based training and software training often try to replicate a specific event or decision-making process. For example, your organization can provide learners with a quick video on a recent equipment advancement that provides just-in-time learning solely on the update.

Microlearning for soft skills training, on the other hand, may provide additional information about a narrow topic or use microlearning to promote application of prior learning. Perhaps your organization wants to equip managers with strategies to lead their team. A microlearning activity could be an article that teaches them of the value of specific strategies. 

Regardless of the topic, for microlearning to be effective, it’s important that it’s delivered in a way that can be easily consumed by learners. For example, it doesn’t make sense to deliver training via video if all employees don’t have easy access to computers to view the content. While it’s common to use phones and other mobile devices to deliver microlearning, it’s not always the best access option.

4 Examples Of Microlearning In Corporate Training

Employees at your organization can microlearn through any of the following resources: 

  • Job aids and other handouts — A job aid is an on-demand resource that commonly comes in the form of digital materials or handouts. 
  • Short videosShort educational videos are straightforward and easily accessible digital learning tools that learners at any level can benefit from.  
  • FAQ sites — FAQ (frequently asked question) sites are a digital resource that learners can refer to for quick answers to questions they may have. 
  • Short eLearning courses — Brief eLearning courses (3-5 minutes) are often highly interactive and are an effective way to deliver information-rich content. 

What Are The Benefits Of Microlearning?

Microlearning benefits learners, organizations, and program developers in the following 6 ways: 

  1. Works with the short attention spans of learners
  2. Delivers content at the point of need
  3. Greater flexibility in offerings and development
  4. Easier to have multiple versions for different branches or geographies of an organization 
  5. Activities can be offered that appeal to multiple learning styles
  6. Microlearning activities can be offered together to create a self-paced learning program

What Are The Disadvantages Of Microlearning?

While microlearning comes with a variety of advantages, it does have several drawbacks, including: 

  1. May have limited interactivity for learners
  2. Reduces opportunities for learners to collaborate and learn from each other
  3. Harder to build accountability
  4. Difficult decisions about what to include
  5. Some content does not lend itself to the medium, including more hands-on technical training

7 Best Practices For Incorporating Microlearning Into Corporate Training

Bite-sized microlearning may be just what your learners need to develop their skills, but how exactly can you incorporate microlearning into your organization’s training strategy? 

  1. Stick to very narrow topics — Microlearning should be focused on narrow topics (1 topic per module) to keep content as targeted as possible. 
  2. Know your audience — With microlearning, it’s important to know your audience and the skills gaps you’re looking to close. 
  3. Use a story-based approach to disseminate information — A story-based approach not only makes learning fun, but also yields higher retention rates. 
  4. Be multi-platform if possible — By being multi-platform, you’ll provide your learners with multiple touchpoints to access their microlearning activities. 
  5. Make feedback immediate if there is a quizInstant feedback boosts learner engagement and productivity by immediately correcting mistakes and actively involving learners in their learning process. 
  6. If stacking multiple microlearnings, provide a reason to continue through competition Competitive elements (e.g. leaderboards and badges) incentivize learners to continue completing their training. 
  7. Provide the challenge upfront — By providing the challenge upfront, learners will know what they’re working toward and be motivated to complete the activity. 

Could Microlearning Work For Your Employees?

This article has reviewed what microlearning is, examples of microlearning for corporate training, and best practices for incorporating microlearning into training. 

Ready to give microlearning a try? Our L&D experts are here to support your training and development efforts every step of the way! Contact us today or explore more of our resources on all things L&D.

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