Microlearning is ideal for distilling information in small, easy-to-understand segments—especially when so many of us are challenged for time and attention. However, there are a few downsides to this approach. The blog post explains the pros and cons of microlearning and how you can add it to your blended learning strategy.
What is microlearning?
Microlearning targets a single learning objective and lasts from a few seconds to a few minutes. This type of learning is usually designed in a series of high-quality, distilled experiences given to learners during a specific timeframe.
So instead of sitting through a lengthy presentation, microlearning presents information delivered via quick videos, quizzes, infographics, or interactive simulations—which learners can complete in a short period of time.
As a result, microlearning helps enhance learner engagement, retention, and knowledge application.
How is microlearning relevant to blended learning?
Microlearning experiences, or episodes, are relevant to blended learning because they often exist in various contexts that learners may not find via a learning management system (LMS).
For instance, episodes may be emailed, shared online, or embedded into a relevant software package. In other words, this type of learning often takes advantage of a broader range of media than traditional training approaches, such as eLearning courses.
What are examples of microlearning?
Microlearning examples include:
- watching a 4-minute how-to video in place of a 40-minute elearning course
- reading a chapter each day instead of reading an entire book in one sitting
- using a collection of screen captures to illustrate individual software functions rather than attending a one-day intensive course
- emailing a question once per day instead of compiling them into a quiz
What are the advantages of microlearning?Flexibility and convenience
Compared to more traditional learning methods, this approach can be more efficient because it’s often spaced throughout a period of time. That means learners can access training content anytime, anywhere, and on multiple devices.
And because microlearning modules are short, learners can easily fit them into their work schedules and are more likely to remain focused and interested.Improved knowledge retention and application
Microlearning provides learners with a steady stream of new information. That means learners can retain information better via repetition and regularly returning to topics.
Learners also can reinforce their knowledge and skill sets while staying current on the latest developments and best practices in their fields.Cost and time efficiency
Because content is distilled down to the essentials, learners spend less time training. And less time training means more time for working, resulting in significant cost implications across an organization—especially when a large percentage of learners have completed training.
Finally, these experiences can be easily repeated and referenced as needed. Specifically, learners can quickly locate the element(s) they need without having to dig through masses of irrelevant content in an expansive elearning resource.
What are the disadvantages of microlearning?
There’s a risk in distilling content to the point that important material is omitted. Furthermore, it may not be possible to divide a complex topic into parts that are small enough to be considered “micro.”
Or, a topic may be broken into so many episodes that learners are overwhelmed. That’s why it’s essential to have a microlearning strategy for how learners will discover and receive episodes.
Can I track microlearning with xAPI?
Microlearning often involves a wide range of media, including digital video and mobile apps.
For instance, xAPI can track learner interactions—such as pausing, playing, and rewinding videos—and content delivered via push notifications from mobile apps. But older eLearning specifications, such as SCORM, can’t track these kinds of experiences.
Up Next: How to curate training content for blended learning
In our next post, we’ll explain the importance of curating your learning materials—especially as they continue to become available outside your organization. Don’t want to miss out?
About the author
As a co-author of xAPI, Andrew has been instrumental in revolutionizing the way we approach data-driven learning design. With his extensive background in instructional design and development, he’s an expert in crafting engaging learning experiences and a master at building robust learning platforms in both corporate and academic environments. Andrew’s journey began with a simple belief: learning should be meaningful, measurable, and, most importantly, enjoyable. This belief has led him to work with some of the industry’s most innovative organizations and thought leaders, helping them unlock the true potential of their learning strategies. Andrew has also shared his insights at conferences and workshops across the globe, empowering others to harness the power of data in their own learning initiatives.
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