What is microlearning?

" Micro-Beads " by  Zach Discerner  is licensed under  CC BY 2.0 .

"Micro-Beads" by Zach Discerner is licensed under CC BY 2.0.

There’s a buzz around microlearning these days—one of the hottest new trends in learning and development. Managing partner Paula Yunker recently attended Training Magazine’s Training Conference and Expo in San Diego and attended three different microlearning sessions herself—and that was just scratching the surface! She also had a coffee chat with a colleague who has recently created over 30 microlearning bursts, each one minute, related to new corporate processes and procedures.

So what is microlearning? It’s is not a tool or method—it’s a way of looking at what information the learner needs at the time they’re trying to accomplish something. Learners are in control of what and when they learn. According to Ray Jimenez of Vignettes Learning, “microlearning is low-effort, fast, easy and applied quickly. It’s context rich and ready-to-use content—it’s about usefulness, not just chopping up a lot of learning content into smaller bits.”

Content must be intentionally packaged into segments small enough to absorb when it’s needed—typically bite-sized bursts of ideally one to four minutes in length. Context is also needed—what can you relate the learning to that makes sense to the learner when they need it? What interactivity and media can you incorporate to make learning more engaging? Microlearning should be accessible from multiple devices to ensure learners have easy access to learning when and where they need it. Lastly, microlearning is also about including strategies to prove learning has taken place.

Many organizations are embracing microlearning because it’s cost-effective and quicker to develop than standard training solutions, it’s faster to launch, and it can be updated fairly easily. It can be used as a stand-alone learning burst, as a series of bursts that make up an entire training program, or as part of a larger blended training program.

Are you interested in learning more about microlearning? Have a look at some resources below to get you started:

What microlearning have you created? What resources do you find particularly helpful? Let us know in the Comments section below, on LinkedIn, Facebook, or Twitter!