Microlearning has been around in one form or another for a while now, but not everyone may be familiar with it. And unlike some other flavor-of-the-week learning theories, there is some solid and demonstrable science behind microlearning – if properly employed.

We’ve seen the evolution of corporate training result in shorter, more digestible courses and an increased reliance on eLearning, but microlearning takes it a step further. Instead of a typical one-hour training session covering a dozen talking points, or a 20-minute eLearning course, microlearning “courses” are typically 3-5 minutes or less. The idea behind this method relates to our short-term memory. Essentially, we can store up to 5 or so new bits of information before it gets “overwritten” before it can safely make its way to our long-term memory. With traditional learning methods, it’s often information and sensory overload in a single session. This could be due to time constraints, regulatory requirements, or just the pain of trying to get everyone in the office to sit still in a room at one time. Microlearning events focus on one specific topic at a time in bite-sized chunks that have a better chance of making their way into our long-term memory.

Microlearning: Not Just For Kids

Another advantage of microlearning is the variety of ways it can be delivered. Everybody learns a little differently, and we all have our own preferred learning styles (tactile, visual, etc.), but microlearning has a little something for everyone. Delivery methods can include presentations, activities, games, discussions, videos, quizzes, short readings, and several other learning methods. Microlearning activities are also ideal for mobile devices. The flexibility in format compliments the diversity in learning styles and offers better ways to reach an audience.

From a learning management perspective, microlearning can address a lot of the issues that learning & development professionals struggle with constantly.   

Problem – Information is constantly changing.
Solution – A new 5-min activity is easy to produce and is a great tool for just-in-time training

Problem – Time/resources needed to conduct multiple training sessions.
Solution – Many microlearning resources are available and free online.

Problem – Training overload/change fatigue
Solution – Microlearning focuses on one thing for just a couple of minutes, reducing the ‘train-drain’ and increasing retention.

Now, microlearning won’t solve all your training challenges or work for every situation, but it can be a valuable tool in your blended learning & development program. In our increasingly-busy corporate culture, microlearning provides a much less-disruptive method for quickly closing small knowledge/skills gaps. While we may never fully get away from more traditional methods of training our teams, microlearning as part of a comprehensive training strategy can boost retention and overall engagement.

For more information on Greystone’s training opportunities and how your team can benefit from microlearning, check out our End User Training services here.

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