What is Microlearning?

Microlearning is one of the most widely discussed and debated trends in the learning industry.


The ATD research report, “Mirolearning: delivering bite-sized knowledge” reveals that some 40 percent of the study’s nearly 600 participants indicate that their organisation currently uses microlearning.  Of the other 60 percent who reported that their organisations don’t currently use microlearning, 41 percent plan to start.


Axonify in 2018 did a Microlearning Global Benchmark Report, which found that microlearning is used across dozens of industries to support a multitude of training applications.  In particular, Axonify reports large pockets of adoption in what it calls “deskless” workers in retail (27 percent) , finance and insurance (22 percent), as well as telecommunications, healthcare, call centres, pharmaceuticals, and a handful of others.


Convenience is no doubt a major factor for these industries.  In fact, participants in the ATD study who currently use microlearning in their organisations reported the top benefits were that learners can access it when it’s convenient (41 percent) and it’s less likely to overwhelm learners (40 percent).


However, convenience cannot be the only reason your organisation decides to use microlearning.  Indeed, like any other learning effort, you need to be careful and strategic about how you incorporate it into your learning ecosystem for optimum effect on employee performance.


What is microlearning

There are many definitions for microlearning, ranging from long-winded academic definitions to short, sharp ones such as “any short piece of content delivered to a learner.”  After sourcing the research, they conclude that although there are various explanations of what microlearning is, most definitions agree that:

  • Microlearning is focused on one to two learning objectives
  • Microlearning is brief and typically between two and up to 15 minutes
  • Microlearning is action-oriented in the sense that there is a specific achievable purpose or goal
  • Modlettes is the ideal platform for microlearning.


Microlearning can take the form of a quick, self-paced e-learning course, a video, an app, or an infographic.  Get the idea.  What is important is that the content can be quickly consumed and fits a critical purpose or meets specific learning objectives.


How People Use Microlearning

While microlearning isn’t constrained to any particular training we see it has four key uses . . . performance, persuasion, post-instruction and preparation; thus, giving varied and modern approaches to supporting employees in their respective work environments.


Performance-Based Microlearning

The first use for microlearning is seen as ‘just-in-time’ or at the point of need – for example how to safely change the gas bottle on a fork-hoist or how to fill in a sales report correctly.  Microlearning doesn’t always have to be cognitively based content, either.  For instance, performance also can have an affective domain emphasis, or it could be a mixture of affective and cognitive content . . . such as how to prepare for an appraisal review.


Persuasive-Based Microlearning

The persuasive use for microlearning is meant to modify the learner’s behavior and is usually goal oriented, for example, applying a presentation technique for a sales rep.  In turn, the goal is not only to use the technique in a sales presentation but be successful in using it.



Post-Instruction Microlearning

Post-instruction microlearning complements a larger training programme the learner has attended, probably a classroom workshop.  This type of microlearning distills the key concepts from the larger training course into bite-size pieces for use in refreshing the learner, whether scheduled by the organization or available readily to learners.  For instance, Business Brains Asia Pacific has a series of quizzes that participants do over a spaced period after they have completed a management programme.  These are structured in three levels of ascending difficulty and the objective is to get to and complete the third level.


Preparation-Based Microlearning

Preparation provides an opportunity to set up a series of planned learning initiatives to prepare for a larger learning event.  This could be a content refresher or new, general content.  Either way, learners would all have equal understanding prior to executing the larger learning programme.



Modlettes is the ideal platform for microlearning because . . . .

it supports six different training mediums, the design of the Modlettes can be achieved without any specialist knowledge, the system delivers to all mobile devices and results of quizzes are delivered back to the channel supervisor.

Give Modlettes a try at www.modlettes.com


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