Microlearning: What Is It And Why Is It Beneficial?

  • 24 Dec, 2021


In a study, Microsoft revealed that the average human attention span has been dropped from 12 seconds to 8.25 seconds in the past few years. If this is the truth, then what does it mean? Are we losing our brains? Or is it just that there is a lack of the right content to keep people engaged? And most important! What kind of content should we deliver to learners with such short attention span? The right answer to this question is- Microlearning!

What is Microlearning?

Microlearning is a skill-based approach that delivers eLearning content in short and highly focussed chunks. The average span of microlearning content is 2 to 8 minutes, making it easier for learners to comprehend.
Here are some microlearning examples for you to understand it better:

  • Educational videos like TED-ED
  • Informative videos on social media platforms like Instagram, Facebook, etc.
  • Process infographics
  • Educational content on microblogging sites like Twitter, Medium, etc.

With time, microlearning is getting more and more popular. The reason lies in Hermann Ebbinghaus forgetting curve.
In the mid-1800s, Hermann Ebbinghaus studied memories of people. He found that it is much easier to recall small and highly focussed information than the knowledge in large chunks. He introduced the forgetting curve, which clearly depicts that people forget 60% of their learning within the first 20 minutes. His findings drive the need to learn content in small doses and review them repeatedly for stronger retention.


People forget what they learn with time. This theory backs up the need for Microlearning

Hence, to retain what we learn for longer, the microlearning approach is the right solution as it focuses on splitting the complete information into small nuggets and recalling them in parts.

Benefits of Microlearning

Microlearning, also known as bite-sized learning, focuses on brief and targeted learning. This approach is ideal for employee training and development in any organisation. Let’s look at some highlighted benefits of microlearning approach for a business.

Boosts efficiency

Studies prove that short and focussed information is easier to remember than long and comprehensive content. Microlearning helps learners to retain knowledge for a long time and implement that knowledge in their work. This further improves their existing skills and efficiency.

Saves time

Short content takes short time to create and deliver. Even learners will take lesser time to comprehend smaller learning modules. Thus microlearning approach saves time for both administrators and learners.

Improves productivity

Microlearning is a target focussed approach. It gives freedom to trainers to create content that is relevant for the learner. This helps learners to aquire the specific skills they need to perform well in their jobs. Additionally, learners can access these short contents in their free time without compromising with their ongoing tasks. This helps them to maximise their productivity and achieve their learning goals.

Cost-effective

Creating short content is cheaper as it requires fewer resources and tools. Even learners can access such courses at lower prices making them more saleable. Microlearning approach does not require you to use some external tools to build interactive courses. A customisable LMS like Coconut Learning will be enough for you to create and deliver your microlearning courses.

Learner’s engagement

As already implied in Ebbinghaus forgetting curve, shorter content draws more attention and engagement. Compared to a long comprehensive training format, where learners have to do some serious study, a bite-sized approach demands focussed learning for a brief span. It is very similar to scrolling through your favourite page on Instagram or Facebook. 

Mobile-friendly

Like various microblogging sites (Instagram, Medium, Twitter, etc.), microlearning is very mobile—friendly. Learners can access the content from anywhere, anytime, with a few clicks on their smartphone or tablet. 

This makes microlearning more accessible and approachable. Fortunately, now many LMS solutions have their own mobile apps. Your learners can get some casual learning during their long commute to work.


Coconut Learning mobile app to access your online courses from anywhere

Now that we have learnt about various microlearning benefits, let’s take a look at certain limitations you may face while implementing the microlearning approach in your organisation.

Limitations of Microlearning

Even though the microlearning approach seems very beneficial for delivering an effective training program to your learners, but it is not suitable for everyone. Here are some limitations that microlearning platforms bring along.

Not good for learning analytical skills

Not everything can be learnt in small chunks, especially the analytical skills where we need in-depth knowledge of cause-and-effect relationships.

Not suitable for foundational courses

When we learn a new skill, we need to understand its basics and applications under different scenarios. In such cases, an in-depth study of the subject is a must. For instance, a new pediatrician needs detailed learning in children’s physiology and behaviour. Microlearning approach will not work here.

Soaring personalised content

There are hundreds of training courses that are needed to be delivered in an organisation. On the top of that, if we further split them into smaller chunks, the number will increase tenfolds. To organise all these contents and assigning them according to the specific needs of the learners can get very tedious and time-consuming. We will need instructional designers to manage courses and deliver the right content to the right individual.

Conclusion

The microlearning principle is solely based on 'less is more'. Weighing down both benefits and limitations of microlearning approach, we can say that it is very beneficial for employee training but with proper planning and implementation.

Implement the right LMS to leverage your online training platform with a microlearning approach and produce bigger results from little learning.

For more information about how learning management system can help you create interactive online content, click here

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