Why Microlearning Is Huge

Microlearning burst onto the eLearning scene in a big way a few years ago. The key reason microlearning is hugely popular is that it works.

It works for learners

They get relevant training content that they can access on demand. They learn what they need to know, when they need to know it. Best of all, they can use their favorite mobile devices to learn.

It works for managers

They see their employees progressing and performance improving. Best of all, learners don’t have to schedule or “go to” training; managers don’t suffer lost productivity when workers are pulled away from their work to learn.

It works for training administrators

Microlearning is easy to create and easy to maintain. Content can be updated quickly and immediately delivered to learners. Best of all, admins can enroll each learner once — and deliver all the training they need. No more chasing learners or annual enrollments. 

Why microlearning works for onboarding

A series of wooden cut out in shapes to represent people standing in neat lines on a table. A hand is holding a plastic, blue "person," similar in shape to the wooden ones, getting ready to place it among the rest.

New hires have a lot to learn. There’s the day-to-day tasks and responsibilities of their jobs. Then there’s all the company info, like who’s who in the leadership, how to sign up for benefits and who takes care of ordering supplies or replacing the toner in the printer. There’s less-tangible information too, which is essential to their success—company mission and values, corporate culture.

Putting new hires through a bunch of one- and two-hour training modules, one after another, is tedious and can make them want to escape, avoid or procrastinate. 

If you hire only occasionally, the training might not even be available when you need it. If you hire seasonally or onboard a large number of new employees all at once, training hundreds of employees can create a logistical nightmare.

All of these factors point to why microlearning is huge in onboarding.

Microlearning is the answer

Microlearning has many strengths that make it especially suited for onboarding.

Microlearning is easy to personalize

Not all new hires will be doing exactly the same thing. Personalize training by signing each new hire up for all the general company content — then targeting specific role-related training to each person, according to their job. They’ll get up to speed fast and keep engaging with the training until they have mastered it.

In addition to training people on role-related content, microlearning makes it easy to target content to a specific division, geographic location or time of year. Sales personnel who start in May don’t need to master your winter product lineup just yet; auto parts workers in Florida may not need the module on snow tires at all. Deliver the most relevant content first — and never put learners through the content they don’t need to know.

Move learning into the workflow

Let the new employees get started on their jobs and spend those critical first days meeting their new team, rather than hiding them away in a training room. Offer them short microlearning sessions to introduce essential information and skills in small bursts, so the learners can process and understand it. They get the best of both worlds — time to settle in and a gradual, manageable, relevant learning path.

New employees understand why microlearning is huge

Learners can use their favorite, familiar mobile devices to engage with microlearning, anywhere and anytime. They don’t have to master a new LMS while they are just getting acclimated to their new job. It’s easy to complete short units of microlearning in between meetings, paperwork, and other new-hire tasks.

New hires cover a lot of material in their first days and weeks on the job. There’s no way they’ll remember it all. Unlike an eLearning course that they do once, microlearning is available on demand to remind them of what they’ve learned. 

A continuous microlearning platform like OttoLearn sends them activities to refresh their memory and ensure long-term retention of the most important information.

Why microlearning works for dispersed workforces

Close-up of a map focusing on Africa and Europe. There are various push pins stuck in the map and all are connected via thin, red string.

In many industries, workers are on the go. They work remotely or spend a lot of time traveling to client sites. 

Other businesses are spread out over a huge geographic area. Training all those workers can be a headache. 

Workers who travel a lot, are on a retail or manufacturing floor, or who work remotely might not have easy access to LMS-based eLearning courses. Getting everyone into a classroom is impossible.

The ability to get around these problems is why microlearning  is huge in training dispersed workforces. 

Microlearning delivers

Training dispersed or mobile employees is a breeze with microlearning.

Microlearning is where learners need it

Learners can use their favorite, familiar mobile devices to engage with microlearning on demand. They can learn anywhere, whenever they have a few minutes of downtime. They can complete short units of microlearning in between meetings, during the commute, or on breaks.

It’s easy to go global with microlearning; many platforms are built to support multiple languages. The short, easy-to-update content is also easy to localize with translations, appropriate measurement units, images that are culturally appropriate, language that sounds natural to local learners, and more.

Microlearning content is relevant and focused

Deliver the right content when the learner needs it. 

Microlearning consists of narrowly focused, bite-sized content. It’s easy to assign the right content to the right learners. 

If different branches of the business are promoting different merchandise — snow skis in Colorado; water skis in Arizona — it’s easy to match microlearning content to the learners’ needs. Don’t waste their time on irrelevant material.

Microlearning offers flexibility in other ways, too. Mobile-friendly formats like podcasts, chatbots, and text-based learning are ideal for deskless and dispersed workers.

Why microlearning works for compliance training

Learners dread the annual compliance training drill. Whether it’s harassment-prevention training for managers, safety training for factory workers, or a review and update on endless regulations for finance and banking professionals, the annual training is an occasion for procrastination.

Learn why microlearning is huge in compliance and safety training.

Microlearning eliminates the annual ordeal

Stop chasing learners and start seeing progress. Microlearning is a perfect fit for compelling compliance training.

Spaced repetition boosts knowledge retention

Learners often have to master a large number of terms, facts or rules in their compliance training. A continuous microlearning platform delivers that content in multiple ways, over time. Repeated exposure cements that information into learner’s long-term memories.

Much annual compliance training is delivered in a single, long, comprehensive eLearning course or in-person training session. Learners then take a test, answering questions on a small fraction of the content. Then they’re done for the year. 

With continuous microlearning, they will engage with the content over and over, in small bits, throughout the year. They will see all of the necessary content over and over, but spread out. It’s engaging; each session is completely different. Training content they know will come up less frequently, while content they need practice with will be available more frequently through spaced repetition automating the entire process. And it’s effective.

Measurable mastery and improvement

Many microlearning platforms keep tabs on what learners know and how they’re doing. Managers can see right away whether learners have mastered the content. And it’s easy to show regulatory or licensing bodies that learners have covered and mastered the information they are required to know. Stop counting course completions and start measuring results.

Microlearning is always up-to-date

With an annual training model, learners might be missing information or using outdated content. A continuous microlearning platform is easy to update. 

Adding new content or revising existing content typically takes only a few minutes. The new content is immediately delivered to learners, and the outdated content is gone. Eliminate confusion and ensure that learners have the latest information.

Why microlearning works for knowledge retention

Cramming doesn’t work. Neither does taking a three-hour eLearning course. Not if you want to remember what you’ve learned. For long-term knowledge retention, spaced repetition — repeated exposure to small, manageable bits of information — is ideal.

In a word: microlearning

Whether for learning or as a follow-up to a comprehensive training program, microlearning is the perfect knowledge retention approach.

Our brains love spaced repetition learning

A textbook, a two-hour lecture, even a 30-minute video covers hundreds — thousands, even — of bits of knowledge. Our brains can’t process and remember all of that. Breaking that content into bite-sized nuggets and feeding them to learners over time, a few minutes a day, is a far more effective way to ensure retention than delivering a fire hose of information in a single session.

Some microlearning platforms exercise each piece of information in several ways, a technique called “interleaved” learning. Learners might be asked to define a term, apply a concept, or judge whether an action makes sense. Looking at learning from different angles, repeatedly over time, is like practicing your tennis backhand. The more you do it, the better you get.

Adaptive learning improves mastery

Learners hate repeating content they already know. They hate wasting their time on “training” they don’t need. 

An adaptive microlearning platform does away with so-called one-size-fits-all eLearning that really fits no-one. It delivers different content to each learner based on what they need to know, how well they need to know it — and it even considers what they already know.

Make learning fun

Microlearning often adds game elements to memorization-heavy or dense content, making repeated practice fun. Microlearning with interactive activities and the use of gamification principles makes the training materials naturally engaging. Learners spend more time on “training” so they remember more, move the learning into long-term memory — and their performance improves.

Why microlearning works for performance support

A huge reason that learners procrastinate and avoid training is that they have to schedule it and take time away from work. Many people have trouble even finding time to eat their lunch; they can’t imagine having two hours to spend on training. Especially if they think the training will be boring, redundant, irrelevant — or all three.

At the same time, they do run into questions and problems. If only there were a way to get them the specific information they need, at the moment they need it...

Microlearning is like Google — tailored for your workplace

As a follow-up to training, as an on-demand job aid, or as an instant problem-solver, microlearning is the ideal way to boost efficiency and accuracy. Provide learning in the workflow and improved performance support using microlearning.

Searchable small content units

Microlearning is made up of micro — small — content. Each unit is specific. It solves a problem, explains a concept or process, answers a question. 

When hundreds or thousands of separate microlearning units are packaged together in an app, an LMS, or a content library, learners can search for and quickly find the specific content they need.

Avoid work disruptions

Going to training takes learners away from their work. Looking through a 30-minute video or eLearning course for one specific answer takes learners away from their work. 

Searchable, targeted microlearning provides the information needed without pulling workers away from the task they need help with.

Learners can access most microlearning anywhere. If they’re working at their laptop or desktop computer, a few clicks can get them to the content they need. If they’re on the go, opening their smartphone or tablet quickly gets them the answers they’re seeking.

The right content at the right time

Some jobs require remembering a lot of details, sometimes about products that change often. Microlearning puts the latest info, current product availability, and newest models and features at every employee’s fingertips. Learners never have to worry about providing outdated or inaccurate information to a client again.

Why microlearning?

The real question is: Why NOT microlearning

Discover More About Microlearning