What is Microlearning? Benefits and Examples.

3 years ago

Microlearning. An age-old method of training employees, popularized in the mid-2000s, but a term which is now used in companies today for employee training in the flow of work.

Training is no longer limited to the HR department. Increasingly, all or part of a company is responsible for training workers in the flow of work. The department of sales and marketing, for example, may be in charge of sales executive training. This is normally included in their annual performance evaluations. However, learning how to use microlearning to assist sales teams in the workplace has become a necessity for any company. You have probably come across some microlearning as a consumer. Websites such as 'Daily Motivation', 'DailyAffirmations', or those produced by the likes of Aviva or Monster.com are prime examples.

With the rapid digitization of business organizations, efficiency has become more important due to reduced costs. However, due to digitalization, there's also an increased need for increased employee productivity. Employers can use microlearning to improve employee efficiency by reducing training costs. In fact, the Internet provides a 'push' or 'pull' approach to microlearning.


With pull microlearning, the employees scan their email and pick out some of the microlearning they've received. This is usually in their 'To-Do' folder.

By interacting with the microlearning, the employees get a better understanding of the course content, as they try out some of the techniques, tools, or tactics presented. The employees might even try to apply some of the new knowledge to the workplace. They might refer back to the microlearning text as a reference. This is especially true if the microlearning is presented in a question-and-answer format which requires the employee to 'read between the lines in order to answer correctly.


Employees receive content via their e-mail or messaging system. Employees will read the microlearning in order to keep up with their work. So employers can use this technique to push out microlearning content to relevant teams for example if they want to keep their sales team up-to-date on a new important product or update. Although it's the same process, the marketing department has to come up with a creative way of presenting the microlearning.

What’s the difference between Microlearning and Macro learning?

Microlearning refers to the present form of online learning or education in which there are no specific assignments or projects to be carried out. The term 'micro' is often used in relation to technology. Now the words 'micro' and 'macro' are often used interchangeably. However, there is a difference between macro learning and microlearning.

Macro learning can be described as a learning process taking place in depth within a specific environment. Microlearning is a science-based learning and instructional method designed to deliver training and education through multiple learning modalities in a compressed time frame to achieve a particular learning objective. It is used as a technique for learning based on macro skills which help employees learn the workflow in an organization. A lot of studies have shown that microlearning improves employee efficiency by reducing training costs.

What Is The Difference Between Microlearning And Mobile Learning? 

You can follow microlearning on your computer or tablet. And you can follow on your mobile other modalities of distance learning.

However, due to the brevity of the format, the "micro" version of e-learning is particularly suitable for smartphones. There is a kind of natural affinity between this microformat and the mobile medium. Therefore, mobile learning favors micro-learning.

Benefits of Microlearning

Microlearning isn't just a byproduct of our internet-age limited attention spans or a shoddy eLearning technique for when we don't have a lot of time. In reality, science supports it as a reliable and efficient learning tool.

Research has shown that when we study in short concentrated bursts, we learn more (and retain it better) than when we are forced to sit through hour-long lessons — but of course, your younger self who was bored to tears at school already knew that.

Microlearning also happens to be a perfect match for the digital era, where everybody has a smartphone and many people have a lot of free time, such as long commutes to work.

Although primitive forms of microlearning, such as flashcards and quiz books, have been around for over a century, when they are combined with modern eLearning, they become much more strong, as they can access vast content repositories, add multimedia, use gamification strategies, or use techniques like spaced repetition (where content is shown to the learner at specific intervals that enhance its retention).

The limits of micro-learning

Because the formats offered are very common, this pedagogical modality cannot be suitable for all training. Indeed, the acquisition of certain knowledge or skills requires a long plug learning time or real scenarios. Micro-learning modules must be combined with other pedagogical modalities such as face-to-face training. However, micro-learning is ideal for putting into practice or evaluating recently acquired concepts.

Micro-learning also offers benefits for the trainer. The latter chooses a tool adapted to a specific pedagogical objective. It should also be noted that the cost of modules is less important than for larger modules in e-learning. However, it is essential that micro-learning modules are integrated into a global training strategy policy. In addition, remember that any trainer must be trained in order to learn how to use micro-learning tools.

Microlearning examples

Microlearning materials can be found in all sorts of areas. The most common form of microlearning for employees is the short, ten to twenty-second, video clip.

Microlearning can include text, images, video, apps, games, or webinars. The example below shows the usage of video to present microlearning content for a business organization.

An employee will try to learn a new task by using microlearning. Microlearning can be used for training employees in the flow of work. Microlearning should be presented via websites like Daily Motivation or as a stand-alone application and not appended to the end of a video. Microlearning should be supplemented with timed practice, which will help the employees practice the microlearning content in a realistic context.

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