Five Microlearning Trends to Watch Out for in 2021


Wondering about the fate of microlearning this new year? Here’s an article that tells you what will be trending in microlearning, in 2021.

Microlearning and Its Five Trends for 2021

Of all the major eLearning trends that dominated 2020, it was microlearning for corporate training that earned a respectful spot. From small video clips, podcasts and TED talks, to infographics and images, microlearning offers a wide range of tools and resources that make learning short and snappy, yet highly effective. Corporate training LOVES microlearning because it uses the modern learner’s attention span optimally to deliver training that is focused on a single learning objective.

Watch this webinar to know how to efficiently implement microlearning in training.

While microlearning has been an online corporate training favorite for the past couple of years, I couldn’t help but wonder about what would be trending in microlearning in 2021. COVID-19’s impact on corporate training has pushed employees to work from the comfort (with the occasional pet & kid interference) of their homes. Despite that, employee training did not come to a standstill and learners found newer and more innovative ways to learn while they earn.

Without further ado (and anymore spoilers) let’s dive into the top 5 microlearning trends that can send macro ripples in 2021’s corporate training domain.

Top 5 Microlearning Trends for 2021

Here are 5 microlearning trends that are expected to rise in 2021.

1. Increased Association with Mobile Learning and Software Applications.

Mobile learning for corporate training facilitates microlearning by being the most efficient platform for hosting and delivering microlearning for learners. The rise in microlearning with a heightened focus on mobile learning is evidence for the same. And for good reason too.

I don’t need to talk about the wide range of mobile devices (smartphones and tablets) being used globally today. Thanks to this widespread use of handheld smart devices, eLearning content developers and training managers have made ‘microlearning with mobile learning’ the best go-to solution for their employees’ training needs.

Each microlearning module deals with a single performance-based learning objective, making the content highly focused and targeted. It is only logical that mobile learning is used to deliver such modules, given that learners are constantly with their phones most (if not all) of the day. And it makes much more sense for performance support or just-in-time training to be delivered via these mobile devices, in the form of microlearning nuggets.

So, it would not be surprising if we see a further up-rise in the use of mobile devices for training in 2021.

2. Advanced AI Backed Analytics and Adaptive Learning

The effectiveness of any training needs to be measured to assess training ROI. And the analytics provided by the organization’s learning management system become the most reliable source for learners’ progress and achievements, especially when the number of learners runs into thousands.

Now, with advanced artificial intelligence monitoring learner activities on the LMS, it becomes very easy to track learner progress and achievements.

Thanks to the constant vigilance by deep learning and neural networks, every single step of a learner, from the point of accessing a course to its completion, including the total time taken, number of pauses, revisits, assessment attempts, can be tracked.

But what do we do with that information? The answer is adaptive learning.

All those user analytics can be used to create custom learning paths for the learner. So, if a learner is having trouble understanding the architecture of a graphics processing unit, a couple of microlearning courses explaining the differences between Pascal and Maxwell architecture (I am sorry I’m such a nerd), will be automatically recommended to the learner. It’s like Netflix – you get suggestions and recommendations based on the genre you watch.

Bottom-line? Advanced AI based analytics and adaptive learning will rule microlearning in 2021. Excited? I am!

3. More Focus on Games and Gamification

If you have read my blog on the mobile learning trends of 2021, you’d know how much games and gamification matter in the ‘small training course’ department. Microlearning is no different when it comes to leveraging the full benefits of game-based learning and elements of gamification. Let’s see how.

An effective microlearning course does not contain a 1000 word text document or a PDF. Rather, it consists of engaging elements like videos and images, infographics and podcasts, games and interactivities. Thanks to the support of mobile learning, adding small educational games that help achieve the learning objective becomes a reality in microlearning.

Apart from games, gamification elements like leaderboards, scoresheets, rankings, level ups, rewards (even nicknames and gamer tags), etc. can be added to make learning more edutaining.

4. Enhanced Simulations and Scenarios

For those new to them, branching scenarios in online training are used to test learners’ knowledge and hone their decision-making skills to help prepare them for real-life situations – something that comes in quite handy when they are dealing with customers trying to close a sale, or preparing for a safety drill, etc.

Branching scenarios and real-life simulations can be developed and integrated within a microlearning module, or put up as an assessment. Irrespective of how they are used, they are going to be a major microlearning trend in 2021.

5. Cutting Edge Augmented and Virtual Reality Solutions

Finally, something that makes us feel like Tony Stark albeit with less qualifications and talent. Augmented and virtual reality are making their presence felt in online training. They have already penetrated microlearning and here are a few reasons (including market statistics) why AR and VR are poised to become a major microlearning trend in 2021.

According to the latest statistic, the global VR market (including all immersive and semi-immersive mixed reality applications) is expected to grow from
USD 13 billion in 2020 to USD 47 billion in 2025. So, 2021 can expect to see a major push for AR and VR markets.

Apart from that, AR and VR applications in corporate training have grown significantly from their initial baby step days. AR is being increasingly implemented in training, more so for impromptu product training (where pointing the phone camera towards the product will reveal relevant information) or sales training. VR and AR applications also came in handy for training during the COVID-19 lockdown. So whatever else is going to trend in microlearning in 2021, AR and VR will be leading the pack.

Wrapping It up!

2021 is going to be quite a happening year for microlearning. Did the hours spent staring at screens during the lockdown decrease our attention spans? If that is the case, microlearning is going to be a clear winner. With the right push using the right platforms and assets, the above five trends can soon be pervading global corporate training.

We don’t know what 2021 actually has in store for us. But that shouldn’t stop us from diving deep. So, here is a free eBook on what will be trending in 2021 in eLearning, written by eLearning experts themselves.

eLearning Trends 2023 – The View from the Trenches

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