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6 Common Myths about Microlearning Dispelled!

Bats are blind… elephants are afraid of mice… duck quacks don’t echo… a served earthworm regenerates into two earthworms… Well, the list of such myths is never-ending. And when spread on the internet, these myths gain traction and get people to believe in them. Like most concepts, Microlearning, which is a popular training format in the eLearning industry, has also been a victim of these ‘myth’-leading fads! This article attempts to bust them and present nothing but the truth.

Benefits of Implementing Microlearning

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Myth 1: Any Content Delivered Within 5 Minutes is Microlearning!

Well, Microlearning does involve chunking information and making it simple, easy-to-consume units. However, assuming short content to be microlearning is just a delusion. It has to be understood that the length of the content is only a part of microlearning. But at the core, microlearning units need to be stand-alone, tangible pieces.

For instance, Paula wants to make a no-bake cheesecake. She types “no-bake cheesecake recipe” on YouTube and watches a 3 three-minute video. After watching the video, Paula can make a cheesecake. This can qualify as microlearning as the content is short and tangible.

Check out how this organization used microlearning for its product training

Myth 2: It is Time-Dependent

Just like the delusion that short content = microlearning, the assumption that microlearning is time-dependent is also a misconception. While quick and easy, and based on need-to-know are common tags given to microlearning content, it mustn’t be tied solely to the ‘time factor.

According to YouTube, the average video view is 4.4 minutes. However, there are a few educative videos that take longer than 5 minutes, and they still capture the learner’s attention – all thanks to the content being fun and educative.

So, the point here is that microlearning content is not time-dependent. However, the content has to be crisp, simple, engaging, and accessible on a need-to-know basis.

Myth 3: It Requires Advanced Technology

The power of production is an important factor to draw attention from the viewers and keep them engaged. Even learners are inclined to eLearning solutions that have good production value.

However, high-quality solutions can be developed from the convenience of homes using smartphones and laptops. There are several authoring tools available for creating high-value eLearning materials and they are quite easy to use.

Another very important thing to keep in mind is that Microlearning content is more about Performance Support. Performance support can take many forms, and not all of them call for specialized technology. Consider job aids like FAQs, checklists, and decision trees, designing them doesn’t require high-end technology, and so does microlearning content.

Myth 4: It is All About Videos

We have to agree with the fact that videos are a great way to deliver educative microlearning content. At the same time, other modalities such as FAQs, infographics, checklists, interactive PDFs, eBooks, quizzes, and podcasts are also very impactful to deliver microlearning units. The key purpose here is to generate content that serves the learner on a ‘need-to-know’ basis.

For instance: Consider infographics – By definition, an infographic is “a visual representation of information or data”. Infographics can be used to present large chunks of data in a visual manner that is easy to consume, and visually appealing image. Similarly, decision trees can come in handy when trying to let the learners work through problem-solving issues.

So, it has to be said that microlearning is not just about videos. Several modalities can be used to deliver microlearning content. The best suit can be determined based on the type of training provided.

Myth 5: It is One Size Fits All

One size fits are one of the biggest myths of all time! Customization and personalization are at the heart of almost all businesses. Considering that it is a part of performance support and reinforces content, microlearning units are meant to serve a specific purpose and need to come in handy on a need basis.

Considering this, it is important to understand that microlearning solutions need a clear strategy mapping out the needs of the learners and the business goals. Just adding a microlearning component to the existing L&D activities is not effective. The content, the modalities, and other aspects should all be worked on according to the strategy.

Another important point to keep in mind is that microlearning cannot solve complex, behavior-based issues on its own. However, it can help and support challenging learning activities. A thorough analysis and a fool proof strategy are helpful.

Myth 6: It is Just Chunking Content

Well, this is a very prevalent misconception that people have about microlearning. However, microlearning is not just chunking heavy content. It is much better to define it as eLearning content delivered in bite-sized units. At the same time, microlearning content is also super specific and each microlearning unit discusses a specific learning objective.

Chunking of eLearning content, on the other hand, involves breaking down the content into smaller, independent modules. An example of this could be the chapters in a technical manual. These chapters are all interdependent. These chunks cannot stand alone and should be consumed in sequential order. They may not make any sense if consumed randomly.

Wrapping Up

To wrap it up, microlearning is an eLearning approach that focusses on what is crucial and is immediately applicable. It involves keeping the learning process “small and focused”. So it works best for corporate training where the employees should balance work and L&D activities within the given time. Now that you are aware of the facts from the myths, it is easier for you to plan and implement it for your corporate training.

But to implement it right, it is also important that you know what microlearning is and what it is not! And this webinar recording will help you with it.

Editor’s note: This post was originally published in November 2022 and has been updated for comprehensiveness.