What Are the Benefits of Microlearning?

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 minutes to a few seconds. This type of learning is usually designed in a series of high-quality, distilled experiences given to learners during a specific timeframe.

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. 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?

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 are more likely to remain focused and interested. Learners can retain information better via repetition and regularly returning to topics.

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 strategy for how episodes will be discovered and/or delivered.

Can I Track Microlearning with xAPI?

Microlearning often involves a wide range of media, including digital video and mobile apps. xAPI can track learner interactions—such as pausing, playing, and rewinding videos—and content delivered via push notifications from mobile apps. But older e-learning specifications, such as SCORM, can’t track these kinds of experiences.

Up Next: Content Curation & 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?

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