What is Microlearning?

Microlearning is defined as small learning units or bite sized pieces of content. It isn’t simply taking existing content, chopping it up, and putting it online. Microlearning is a granular approach to learning that uses cutting edge instructional design techniques to gradually build up knowledge, skills, and abilities.

Easily accessible via devices such as mobile phones, tablets, and laptop computers in formats as varied as videos, blogs, games, quizzes, simulations, podcasts, or slideshows, microlearning solves for dwindling attention spans, just at the time when technology is changing so rapidly that traditional training methods can’t keep up.

Any learning or insight that can occur in a few minutes or so is a form of micro-learning. Micro-learning can also be understood as a process of subsequent, “short” learning activities, i.e. learning through interaction with micro-content objects in small time frames.

This method is ideal for learners because the content is relevant and can be consumed at the time of need. Even more so, it can be used as performance support, offering access and review in the field or as a resource for delivering updates, price changes, or anything else requiring regular augmentation. This facilitates just-in-time learning, perhaps taking advantage of moments that don’t normally seem like training opportunities, like waiting for the bus or on a lunch break.

Not just beneficial for learners, microlearning is also optimal for trainers: the pieces are easy to create, manage, and distribute, and much faster to produce. By organizing content into smaller units or tracks of learning, you can simultaneously service both new and veteran workers, because they’re able to orient themselves in the ecosystem of the course, reviewing or skipping content as needed.

Summing-up: Our days are filled with moments of learning – whether by design or by happenstance. Microlearning works. Not surprisingly, this is how our brains are already wired, by the way. And it’s how humans have learned and interacted throughout millennia (across distances in short, efficient bursts).

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