Microlearning is a method of learning dispersed in smaller bite-sized components. Learn how it can benefit your training program and where to start.
The way we learn has changed with the digital revolution, and it’s time for educators to adapt. Learners are on the go now more than ever, and they simply don’t have time to sit in a classroom all day.
Clunky eLearning slides of decades past online classes are also outdated. The educators and training facilitators of today are turning to a more effective learning approach: microlearning.
Bite-sized microlearning activities improve knowledge retention and employee engagement. This encourages positive behavior change and delivers meaningful results. It’s a training method built to make good use of your budget and yield a high return on investment (ROI).
In this comprehensive guide, you’ll discover how to implement microlearning in your organization, how to choose the best platform, and ultimately if microlearning methods will work for your training program.
Microlearning is a relatively newer educational model, geared toward maximizing knowledge acquisition and retention. To do so, it flips traditional education on its head—rather than lengthy seminars, you chop up excessive info dumps into useful, retainable nuggets.
Traditional long-form training has always entailed full-day sessions crammed with as much information as possible. There were little to no assessments to determine learner understanding; in addition, businesses often lost a full day or more of work productivity. Just because it was the traditional method, that didn't mean it was by any means the most effective. But we persevered anyway. That is until the data behind microlearning highlighted its worth in ways educators simply couldn’t ignore.
Microlearning also adapts to the realities of the modern learner. Research shows that employees only have approximately 24 minutes a week to devote to L&D activities. There’s simply not enough time to get through an entire lecture or 50-slide PowerPoint in that time—nor to test for retention! Meanwhile, microlearning focuses on delivering targeted information, as quickly as possible. Efficiency and relevance are key.
Instead of trying to absorb an entire textbook of information in a single sitting, microlearning divides key components into bite-size activities over time. Learners access content in interactive modules that include engaging infographics, videos, quizzes, and games.
The content is all very digestible, with sessions lasting only a few minutes. Fun quizzes and games test comprehension in an informal way. In addition, learners can access microlearning materials on-demand, so they can engage when and where it suits them.
You can package your microlearning content in a variety of ways—in fact, you should! Part of the engagement success stems from the fact that learners are exposed to the material in a variety of different forms, each refocusing their attention and forcing them to engage with the material in a different way. Quizzes, games, videos, infographics, and more—you need to combine all of these materials in your modules for maximum understanding and retention.
When attending traditional full-day instructor-led training, learners are rarely tested to gauge comprehension between lessons. The day’s worth of information piles up, and by the end, you’ll be lucky if they remember what you covered just an hour or two before.
Paced microlearning knowledge assessments help address this evaluation problem. Test comprehension with short quizzes that use a range of multiple choice questions, true and false, or open-ended questions. This not only serves to monitor understanding and knowledge retention but also promotes engagement and reinforces new concepts.
Microlearning aims to convey educational material in small bursts. Considering this, remember that infographics are perfect for bridging knowledge gaps quickly—use them! Infographics combine illustrations, graphs, charts, icons, and text into an easy-to-scan visual representation of key points and values.
These images break down complex concepts that are often difficult to visualize and can curb cognitive overload. They also make it easy to picture how numbers and concepts correlate. This makes data easier to digest and improves retention of key points and statistics.
For your infographics to be successful, you need to design them with simplicity and a thoughtful flow of information. And don’t overuse them in program content! Every infographic should serve a purpose—they’re not just decorative.
Video learning specifically targets mobile learners who depend on their smartphones for learning access. Considering how everyone spends all their time on their phones now, it makes for an easy, accessible training method.
Microlearning videos are short and focused. Each video meets a specific learning objective and can be part of a series or standalone clips. You can even make them interactive!
Since videos combine visual representation, audio information transfer, interaction, and even sometimes text, they are the ultimate retention tool. By involving almost all the senses at once, they keep engagement high and the information sticks better. As such, videos are great for demonstrating skills, processes, or concepts that are difficult to explain through text alone.
eBooks and PDFs can serve as supplementary subject matter, providing more in-depth content that learners can access digitally. Since you can download them right to your device, they’re an easy way to carry more detailed material around with you. Your rich PDF or eBook can also serve as the interactive bedrock of your lesson, integrating text, graphics, graphs, tables, audio, and video.
While it’s easy to overload these documents with content, for the purposes of microlearning keep them short, relevant, and highly focused.
By making play a part of the learning method, you encourage learners to interact with learning material and maintain high concentration.
Game-based learning weaponizes gaming elements such as timed quizzes, challenges, rewards, simulations, and level progression to spur learners forward. The short challenges are highly engaging; learners stay motivated to win and progress to the next level. Gaming integration also reinforces educational concepts and allows learners to achieve learning objectives while offering real-time feedback. Applying the knowledge or skills gained right after learning in ongoing game challenges promotes knowledge retention without it feeling like work.
Unlike other learning methods, which assume all learners understand, focus, and retain information in the same way, microlearning applies a more individualized learning model. It allows learners to start at their current level of understanding and progress accordingly. Learners engage with information in diverse ways that appeal to various cognitive approaches, giving everyone the chance to find what works for them.
Microlearning empowers employees to improve their knowledge and skills by:
It only makes sense that continuous sales training leads to higher net sales. Training keeps sales employees up to date with product information, features, industry developments, and services. They become and remain experts in their field, which helps them excel in a competitive market.
You can also gear your microlearning courses towards improving sales techniques, communication, processes, and procedures. Since sales reps are always on the go, microlearning that they can access on their phone gives them access to the latest information on demand.
For an example of microlearning in action, just look at Comcast Business’ partnership with Mindmarker. Comcast needed to overhaul its sales training plan to introduce a new sales philosophy and product range. Reps would need to apply these new processes and information in all future interactions. This made the training vital to their individual sales success—as well as business success as a whole.
However, providing training in a way that did not interfere with productivity was also key. Thanks to Mindmarker’s microlearning platform, Comcast Business has improved the way they conduct training and coaching for reps, supervisors, and managers, increasing knowledge retention with spaced reinforcement. The learning applications have also resulted in the seamless implementation of new skills in live customer calls.
Microlearning offers a cost-effective approach to continued L&D in the workplace. By slicing training into small segments that are easily integrated throughout the day, it eliminates the loss of productive work hours due to full-day training attendance. It also eliminates instructor and hard copy material costs, venue fees, and scheduling difficulties.
Since microlearning improves individualized learning, understanding, and knowledge retention, it is more effective at a lower cost. The sustainable and quantifiable outcomes of microlearning cultivate a more knowledgeable and professional workforce. This translates into the value offered to customers, which reflects in your bottom line.
Microlearning is applicable to a wide variety of field training. If you’ve got a staff to educate, and they’re on the go, microlearning can work for you—no matter your field. Let’s take a look at a few ways this new method has helped in various fields.
Telecommunications is a highly competitive industry, hinging on continuous new client acquisition while also maintaining a happy customer base. The industry deals with a constant flow of new product developments, which makes ongoing training essential. High employee turnover further highlights the necessity of effective on-demand training.
Microlearning provides a training solution that doesn’t interfere with productivity but instead enhances it. Easily customizable modules allow businesses to target learning to specific functions—such as field rep training, customer service, and technical training—all from a single platform.
Once professionals have entered the workforce, continuing education and career training help them develop new skills and stay abreast of current trends. This helps employees do their jobs more efficiently and provides a springboard for career growth. Many fields require employees to participate in continued education to stay informed of industry developments.
By offering a platform for self-regulated learning, your employees can complete training at their own pace. They can access and complete modules in short increments between everyday tasks. When you remove the pressure and lengthy schedule disruptions that come with traditional learning, you’ll find that professionals are more likely to engage in ongoing education.
Leaders need training methods that are easily accessible and don’t waste time on unnecessary fillers. The short training bursts provided by microlearning platforms are ideal for addressing immediate needs, as well as unplanned scenarios. These might include how to change to a virtual or remote work environment, or how to manage disciplinary hearings.
Training sessions also serve as part of a more comprehensive learning journey to build strong long-term leaders. For example, courses can raise awareness about subconscious interviewing bias. Next levels of course material can then extend to cover interviewing methods and spotting candidate potential. Since content is available on-demand, leaders can take just a few minutes in their day to cover what they need right then, refresh, and access additional information later.
Sales teams need to keep customers happy as a priority—and they need to do so quickly. Customer-facing roles require a thorough knowledge of products, procedures, and technology developments; being able to update your sales team constantly in an effective, time-sensitive manner is crucial. Microlearning makes this possible.
Besides immediate product updates and training, you can also integrate microlearning into long-term growth programs, such as problem-solving abilities, negotiation, selling skills, and customer service.
An effective sales microlearning platform will be easy to update with the latest industry developments, provide access to information on-demand, and foster healthy competition among sales staff with leader boards, badges, and awards.
As experts retire, underskilled newcomers come on board, and technology rapidly advances, constant training is essential to keep an entire team on the same page. Microlearning helps you standardize training across locations, ensuring that every employee understands regulations, job functions, safety protocols, machinery operation, and HR procedures.
Since all team members receive the same information, there should be no inconsistencies in the information provided. The brief training nuggets can effectively be incorporated so that learners are not overwhelmed within their first day on the job, forgetting most of what they learned.
Microlearning also then helps to reinforce knowledge and skills, which results in reduced mistakes, safety incidences, and non-compliance.
Without product training, employees cannot sell effectively nor offer efficient customer service. Product training is essential to answer customer questions, perform maintenance, and remain relevant in any given industry.
Microlearning allows employees to receive consistent and ongoing product training—whether it’s regarding maintenance, sales, or installation. The team can confidently perform their roles as soon as new products are rolled out, regardless of their location and schedules.
Microlearning helps designers, developers, and other tech professionals stay on the pulse of what’s happening. It can also help non-technically minded individuals to effectively use company software and navigate simple troubleshooting tasks. Since platforms convey information in a way that incorporates practical examples and visuals, it simplifies the technical subject matter. In addition, employees can access information on-demand when they’re struggling with a certain problem or need more in-depth knowledge.
Healthcare professionals deal with critical, high-demand situations daily. They work long, demanding hours and also have to keep on top of regular compliance training. This makes microlearning perfect for healthcare professionals since they can access compliance and skills training from their mobile devices at a time that suits them. They don’t need to spend hours weekly on training, but can instead incorporate learning into their daily schedules effortlessly.
Healthcare workers can catch up on urgent new developments, medications, illnesses, and equipment through microlearning modules right away. Every employee can have access to this information, regardless of where they are based or how inconsistent their schedules are. Regular training reduces safety and injury incidents, as employees remain aware of workplace and health hazards.
Additionally, microlearning serves as a valuable tool for pharmaceutical companies that require consistent updates and training on new developments, research, findings, equipment, and methods. Microlearning globalizes training in a fast-paced and ever-evolving environment.
Microlearning has revolutionized L&D, changing education to meet the needs of modern learners and workplace scenarios. As digital tools advance and society pivots to remote work, traditional training methods are no longer relevant. Microlearning, then, is necessary to futureproof your organization. It’s one of the most effective ways to ensure your workforce remains relevant, knowledgeable, and a step ahead of competitors.
From learning new business tools, protocols, and software to staying ahead of industry trends, every business requires staff training at some point. An increased shift to hybrid and remote work, however, has made this training something of a challenge. With people scattered across multiple locations and cities, varying schedules or time zones, and differing needs, it is impossible to meet everyone's needs in one go.
Microlearning solves this problem. It allows businesses to offer skills development and knowledge acquisition for each employee's level of development—whether newly onboarded or at the management level. Time zones, schedules, and locality are irrelevant, as the material is accessible around the clock from any location. Microlearning jumps the hurdles that a remote work context poses for more traditional L&D methods, and allows immediate training on urgent developments as necessary.
Microlearning is especially helpful in onboarding new remote employees who cannot simply ask in-office peers for assistance. With extensive access to a variety of topics, they can familiarize themselves with company procedures and protocols without feeling overwhelmed.
Microlearning is the ultimate way to leverage modern technology for a modern workforce. Besides being accessible on-demand and catering to short attention spans, microlearning incorporates tech-driven personalization, automation, and innovation.
Mindmarker has been referenced in the Josh Bersin Company report Learning Technologies and Platforms 2022 and Beyond as one of the top platforms for ‘Learning in the Flow of Work’. Mindmarker’s microlearning platform integrates adaptive learning to automatically direct learners on a personalized path, scheduling lessons according to preferred content types and program objectives.
The platform leverages digital tools to transform content into engaging material that appeals to a variety of learning preferences, and reflections and quizzes enhance knowledge retention and measure outcomes. In addition, the platform meets conventional data and security standards and offers integrates easily with a range of workplace systems and tools.
With so many distractions and the constant inflow of messages from devices, we lose concentration easily and struggle to retain much of what we hear and read. Reinforcement is key to offering dynamic training. When developing the platform, Mindmarker based its design on science, studies, and proven methodologies to deliver impactful education that will stick.
The modern workforce consists largely of Millennials and Gen Z workers, who both prioritize flexibility in the workplace. Thus, to engage, attract, and retain talent, you too need to prioritize flexible learning, as well as offer chances to grow. Microlearning caters to the demand for L&D opportunities, as well as flexibility. Leverage it to attract new talent—and retain top employees!
With a larger number of employees working at least partly remote and a geographically dispersed workforce, an effective and cohesive employee onboarding process is more important than ever before.
Onboarding plays a determining role in employee retention. It sets the tone for new employees’ long-term commitment.
Microlearning can facilitate an efficient and effective onboarding process that engages new hires from their very first day—without overloading or overwhelming them. You can customize your courses according to the individual's role and entry-level into the business.
To enhance information retention and help employees thrive in their new roles, the onboarding process should also encourage ongoing learning. By presenting material in a way that is easy to process and interactive, new hires will be more at ease with the amount of information they need to internalize. Microlearning further strengthens information retention by incorporating multi-media and visual aids, ensuring that every nugget is relevant and meaningful.
Employing strategies such as spaced learning and reinforcement equips employees with precisely what they need, when they need it, while also strengthening key development factors. This sets employees up for improved confidence in the workplace. In turn, you’ll benefit from enhanced productivity, employee retention, and a greater return on the time and money invested in your workforce.
We’ve already emphasized that microlearning is made for the modern learner, allowing them to complete lessons on the go and revisit information whenever they need it. But how exactly does this work? What tangible boosts can you expect to see in your workforce once you make the switch?
One remarkable inefficiency of traditional training methods is the lack of reinforcement. Learners attend training for a day, and soon forget most of what they learned. This results in a poorly spent budget and none-the-wiser employees with little behavioral change. Ebbinghaus’ forgetting curve proves that continuous reinforcement of learned content can increase information retention. That’s why Mindmarker applies methods reinforced with proven cognitive science to its platform. Mindmarker uses strategies such as:
The topics you cover in your employee training (and even onboarding) are often complex. While employees may have attended training sessions, there is no guarantee of their understanding nor of how much information they actually absorbed. Learners can quickly become overloaded; juggling multiple other pressures in their day-to-day life, they sometimes struggle to commit these large portions of information to memory. Even the most attentive employee will fail to remember everything when overloaded with complex concepts in a single session.
Microlearning distills this complex information into small portions, targeting only the most important information. A multimedia approach stacked with infographics, videos, and interactive games further simplifies dense topics in a way an hour-long seminar simply can’t. Regularly returning to this information in the form of spaced-out quizzes keeps employees engaged with the material, jogging recall of previous lessons before building on them in the next lesson.
Spaced learning condenses content and presents it three times, in different ways, at 10-minute intervals. Besides keeping the content size manageable and engaging, it also serves to embed important information in the learner’s memory.
Since learning is sometimes more of a requirement than a matter of personal interest, learners may find it hard to fully engage with content. And as training is an added deliverable on top of an already full schedule, fast-tracking the pace may not be helpful for the individual or the business. But by integrating microlearning technology to guide understanding and balance challenge and satisfaction, you can encourage long-term skill development regardless of how focused they are on processing new information.
Keeping employees engaged—not only in learning but also with the company in general—is more important now than ever. With an increasingly remote workforce employees can feel cut off from company culture and isolated in their roles. Microlearning helps employees improve job performance while keeping them engaged and working towards a common goal.
Long-form training materials simply are not conducive to keeping learners engaged. The short, concise, and interactive nature of microlearning keeps lessons stimulating, which in turn produces better results. Microlearning also makes plenty of room for creative information presentation, which makes it more memorable and more engaging than any traditional type of learning material. And since information is presented in a way that can be incorporated into the flow of work, learning schedules remain highly flexible.
So you’re ready to shift to a microlearning model, but now it’s time to choose a platform. Where do you start? After all, choosing a microlearning platform that offers the features and characteristics you actually need is essential to the success of your programs. Consider the following features when searching for the best microlearning platform for your business.
A good microlearning platform should be enterprise-ready. At its core, the product should perform efficiently under the extreme conditions a large enterprise will put on it. To ensure the platform you choose is enterprise-ready, consider the following four aspects.
Big software solutions require big security solutions. This should be top of mind when searching for a platform. The solution needs to keep information safe as it moves across different devices, servers, and people. It must be capable of successfully combatting cyberattacks and hackers. Most importantly, it needs to connect employees seamlessly while keeping data secure.
Any platform you consider must offer options for secure logins and authentications that assure users that their data and account information is protected, while simultaneously providing easy access for administrators. Check data management policies, where data will be stored, and how long it remains on the server.
Your chosen microlearning platform must be able to handle the weight of an entire enterprise using it daily. Can the database do everything you need in a live production environment? The cloud service, technologies, and encryption will all affect the load it can handle. If there is a sudden spike in use, you want to know that the software can quickly scale to accommodate it.
In addition to being able to carry the load you require, it must be easy to manage at scale without increasing administrative burdens or impacting functionality. As your training programs expand to more parts of the business, group management, control delegation, and user provisioning are all essential features for administrators to maintain control. Automated onboarding will simplify the massive task of getting hundreds of users set up, saving countless days of work.
Check for compliance audits and certificates with the provider. This ensures that they can deliver what they promise.
Enterprise-grade software should be able to integrate with the systems and software your company already uses. This can assist in accelerating workflows and making processes more efficient.
In a nutshell, when checking for an enterprise-level service you need to ensure it meets international data security standards, is capable of providing reliable applications 24/7 around the world, and features an open API for integration with your current enterprise systems.
You want a learning platform that is rich with adaptive learning capabilities. Mindmarker, for example, allows corporate learning teams to create, schedule, and deliver compelling programs grounded in proven learning methods. These ‘mind markers’ consist of short learning segments based on your company’s existing training material. Innovative content such as audio, video, text, images, infographics, games, competitions, quizzes, and community boards are all integrated to form a highly engaging program.
The platform also offers program sequencing and scheduled delivery based on objectives, content type, and module timelines. Administrators can also configure automated adaptive learning rules to direct learners on a personalized learning journey.
The platform you choose should provide useful analytics for learners, training, and company advancement. Consider whether the platform lets you evaluate learning based on knowledge retention, assessment scores, participation, and content application. You must be able to monitor employee progress and identify those who might need additional assistance.
You also need to determine the level of behavioral change and the impact that training has on business results. This may depend on the industry in question, and might include increased sales for sales teams, reduces safety incidents for construction or manufacturing teams, and improved adherence to company procedures for new hires.
You’ll likely see plenty of platforms or services marketed as incorporating microlearning. But do they really focus on the scientifically-proven methods that lead to success? Any platform worth your time must include spaced learning and reinforcement to make content more engaging and effective. Short bursts of information presented once-off without reinforcement and measurement will simply prove ineffective. Microlearning only works when you integrate it correctly. Your chosen platform should figure out the methodology for you, so you can focus on the content that leads to business and employee growth.
Microlearning has transformed and simplified adult learning. Professionals have an avalanche of daily tasks to get through already. Although many want to expand their knowledge and skills, they just don’t have the time or capacity to do so when it requires days off work, reduced productivity, and additional expenses. Microlearning changes all of this.
With a platform that distills complex or large amounts of information down to easily consumable, bite-size sessions, employees can now learn, grow, and develop at a manageable pace. This method reduces overload, increases information retention, and enhances employee engagement. In the end, it leads to more effective behavioral change and a knowledgeable, professional workforce—boosting employee retention, productivity, performance, and your bottom line.
Mindmarker has revolutionized training for seasoned professionals, new hires, and the hybrid workforce writ large. With Mindmarker’s cross-platform functionality, learners can access microlearning sessions from any location at any time. The platform lets learners choose subject matter according to their immediate requirements, and only progresses to more complex topics when they feel ready. Giving learners control of where, when, how, and how fast they learn fosters engagement and retention.
At the same time, management has access to data points such as scores and completion rates to track employee progress and identify areas where assistance may be required. Data regarding program success and engagement also allows for continuous improvement, effective decision-making, and designing content that is relevant and in demand.
Mindmarker offers a secure, scalable, and reliable platform, accessible to administrators and learners 24/7 around the globe. Are you ready to boost your L&D program? Request a Mindmarker demo today and discover how strategic professional development opportunities can transform your workforce and drive business success.