Gamechanger or not: is microlearning effective?

Microlearning is the future of learning. This online learning method delivers educational content in small, bite-sized chunks, typically in the form of short videos or interactive modules. It fits perfectly with the current trend, where everything has to be short and fast. But does it deliver the same learning results as, for example, ‘traditional’ e-learning or face-to-face learning? Let’s explore the effectiveness of microlearning.

Content Manager & HR Officer
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Table of contents 

  1. What makes microlearning effective?
  2. Numbers don't lie
  3. Is microlearning suitable for every topic?
  4. How can Easy LMS boost your microlearning?

What makes micro-learning effective?

Short and focused content

Keep it short! Microlearning modules are typically no longer than 20 minutes in length. This allows learners to focus on one specific topic at a time and retain the information better.

Relevance and context

The bite-sized chunks of information are highly relevant to the learner's job or role, which makes the content more meaningful and memorable. Why? Because it catches and holds attention.

Variety and flexibility

Variety is key to learning

Variety is key to learning. Keep the learning experience engaging by providing (the same) information in a range of formats, such as videos, podcasts, interactive quizzes, and games. There will never be a dull moment!

Repetition and reinforcement

Practice makes perfect. Remember your childhood when you had to learn the alphabet? Practice makes perfect. This mechanism still applies. Repetition and reinforcement at the heart of micro learning help the information to stick.

Personalization and autonomy

The best outcomes are achieved through customization. One of the significant advantages of micro-training is that it can be tailored to meet the individual needs, preferences, and level of understanding of the learner. Ultimately, this will lead to a more personalized and self-directed learning experience.

Immediate application

Microlearning emphasizes the importance of making information immediately applicable in practice, which leads to efficient retention in long-term memory and ease of recall.

Microlearning should be combined with other methods and tailored to specific learning needs and goals. To determine its appropriateness, we recommend evaluating the topic, objectives, and audience.

Numbers don’t lie

A growing body of research suggests microlearning can be an effective approach to learning and training. Take a look at these statistics:

  • Microlearning drives over 20% more information retention than long-form training. These results were revealed by German research, where three experiment groups were created. In each experiment group, the ratio of learning content to test moments varied. On one end of the spectrum, participants were presented with all the learning content at once, followed by a comprehensive final test. Conversely, participants were given questions after each chapter. The latter group performed better [1].
  • Microlearning creates 50% more engagement [2]. Hubspot reports that microlearning increases engagement and completion of online training by 4x.
  • Microlearning can lead to increased productivity through improved knowledge retention and better task performance. Researches indicate an increase of 23% to 130% [3].
  • Learning in bite-sized pieces makes the transfer of learning from the classroom to the desk 17% more efficient [4].
  • Microlearning with knowledge reinforcement can vastly improve retention by up to 60% [5].
  • Companies that have adopted microlearning have seen a 130% increase in engagement and productivity over those that don’t use it [6].
  • 78% of the employees felt more confident in task completion after the micro training [7]. Research among dairy personnel shows that micro-training increases confidence and work accuracy.

Overall, research suggests that microlearning is effective for knowledge retention, engagement, and motivation. Nevertheless, more research is needed to understand best practices and their effectiveness for different types of learners.

Is microlearning suitable for every topic?

Microlearning is not suitable for every topic. Some topics may require a more in-depth or comprehensive approach, while others are a more natural fit because of their information level.

Microlearning is suitable for:

  • Topics that learners are likely to encounter frequently in their work or daily life.
  • Topics with a specific goal.
  • Self-contained topics.

Here are five examples of suitable topics:

  1. Math concepts: small bites, big wins! Math is no longer a monster when broken down into manageable microlearning chunks.
  2. Safety procedures: no need to stress. Short and sweet learning sessions will have employees retaining important safety procedures like evacuating the office in no time.
  3. Software training: let's make every day a software tools training day! Share tips and tricks to help your employees get the hang of the important tools they use in the office. Maximize their efficiency, and let their productivity soar!
  4. Time management: microlearning can help employees learn effective time management techniques and stay on top of their work. Work smarter, not harder!
  5. Foreign language: bite-sized lessons help learners become fluent. Who knew learning a new language could be so much fun? Especially handy for multilingual companies!

Microlearning isn’t suitable for:

  • Technical concepts.
  • Scientific concepts.
  • Topics that require a lot of background information.
  • Topics that have a lot of interrelated concepts and principles.
  • Topics that require hands-on training.

Examples of non-suitable topics are complex surgical procedures and aircraft systems engineering.

Nevertheless, sometimes the theory behind (a specific part of) complex matters can be explained in bite-sized chunks, while the practical part fits better in a traditional environment. In that case: go hybrid. Think, for example, of doing cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR). To reinforce the nurses' and doctors' knowledge, a monthly micro-course could do the trick.

How can Easy LMS boost your microlearning?

Easy LMS helps you deliver your online training to your employee in the format you

Easy LMS helps you deliver your online training to your employee in the format you prefer. You can structure courses for maximum recall. For example, you can create a course that lasts no longer than 20 minutes, immediately followed by a short examination.

Combine all your micro training material in an Academy. It will be the go-to place for your learners. Use it to put your training material in a set order, which helps you streamline your curriculum. Because of the ease of use and the clean participant interface, the completion rates will be high. Make the information memorable by adding the necessary interactive elements, like videos, audio, and Prezi presentations.

Useful resources

  1. Asae
  2. Software Advice
  3. SHRM
  4. Mobietrain
  5. Skills Hub 
  6. Cureus 
  7. Journal of dairy science 

Frequently Asked Questions

  • What is the definition of microlearning?
    Microlearning is a method of delivering training content in small, easily digestible chunks. It is designed to provide learners with focused, targeted information that can be quickly retained and applied on demand.
  • Is microlearning effective?
    Research has shown that it improves retention, recall, motivation, and engagement rates. We need more research to understand the best practices for designing and implementing microlearning.
  • Why is microlearning effective?
    Microlearning is effective because it allows learners to focus on specific tasks or concepts and retain the information more easily. It also allows learners to learn at their own pace and schedule, making it more convenient and accessible.
  • Is microlearning suitable for every topic?
    Microlearning is unsuitable for every topic, as some subjects may require a more comprehensive approach or hands-on training.

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