When to Use Microlearning
Microlearning has proven to be a great driver of learner engagement, perhaps more than any other form of training. When employees need quick help to perform a specific task, ‘micro’ is the way to go as it provides short, concise, need to know information to achieve one specific learning objective.
When to Say “No!” to Microlearning
Just like how training is not the answer for every problem with employee performance, microlearning may not be the solution for all your corporate training challenges. Here are a few situations where it is definitely not the best training solution.
As a Replacement for eLearning: While it may be tempting to replace all eLearning with microlearning, it will not work when there is a lot of content requiring detailed explanations. In such cases, microlearning cannot be used as a standalone solution but can be very effective when used as part of a blended approach. It can also be used to supplement your existing eLearning program.
To Train on Complex Content: When your training program deals with complex content or content that’s highly technical, microlearning cannot be a standalone solution, but can be used to reinforce formal learning.
To Gain Mastery Over a Topic: Mastery requires in-depth study, practice, and a lot of time. For instance, training on a new software or leadership skills cannot happen overnight. It requires opportunities to practice, which is why watching a 5-minute micro video or listening to a podcast is not enough. The more in-depth the learning, the less appropriate microlearning is.
So, How do you Decide When to Use Microlearning?
Training aims to provide employees the ability to perform tasks that will help attain organizational objectives. A job task inventory will help identify what you want employees to do as part of their jobs and choose the best way to help them learn to do those tasks.
Once you have identified the job tasks, you need to categorize them based on four critical parameters, which are ranked from 1 (low) to 4 (high):
- Frequency: How often the task is performed on the job
- Importance: How important the task is to the overall effectiveness of performing the job
- Learning: How difficult the task is to learn
- Risk: What is the risk associated with performing the task incorrectly
Microlearning can used for training on tasks that are:
- Performed very rarely or very often (Frequency 1 or 4)
- Not important or very important (Importance 1 or 4)
- Relatively easy to learn (Learning 1)
- Associated with low risk when NOT performed correctly (Risk 1)
A Look at Microlearning Formats
Microlearning solutions can be used to address a wide variety to learning needs across the learning journey – right from creating awareness about the scheduled training to offering practice opportunities and refresher bytes.
These learning nuggets can be used in a variety of ways (such as explainer videos, infographics, flashcards, or GIFs) to support eLearning through pre-training, refresher training, assessments, and performance support in spaced intervals. Here’s a brief look at microlearning assets or formats that can be delivered digitally.
It’s important to choose the format based on the training need, learner profile, and the learning environment – form should always follow function (and not the other way around)!
These learning nuggets can be used in a variety of ways (such as explainer videos, infographics, flashcards, or GIFs) to support eLearning through pre-training, refresher training, assessments, and performance support in spaced intervals. Here are a few situations where microlearning can help.
Trailers, infographics, GIFs, animations
Inform or Teach
Infographics, podcasts, process maps
Show or Demonstrate
Assess or Test
Microlearning With Other Learning Formats
Within a Blended Learning Framework
Microlearning in corporate training can be implemented within a blended learning framework, to introduce learners to the course, to facilitate learning, to test their existing knowledge, or to reinforce/refresh learning.
Micro trailers/teasers to give an overview of the topic
Micro quizzes as icebreakers
Micro videos to introduce a new topic
Infographics/animations to revise the basics
Micro assessments as pre-tests to gauge existing knowledge
During the training
Micro videos for demonstrations
Simulations for hands-on experience
Interactive PDFs for nice-to-know facts
Infographics for understanding steps/process
Strategic games, micro quizzes for knowledge reinforcement
Infographics, podcasts, interactive PDFs, concept/process maps for performance support
Microlearning and Social Learning
The short microlearning nuggets covering a single learning objective can be shared in social media. Infographics, videos, quizzes, or games can also be posted on social learning platforms to start discussions and promote learning.
Social learning is a great platform to make Microlearning go viral!
Authoring Tools for Microlearning Development
All popular authoring tools can be used to develop microlearning assets. Each has its strengths and lends more to the development of certain formats.
For instance, if you are looking to test learners’ decision-making skills with mini scenarios, go for iSpring. Its inbuilt TalkMaster allows you to select pre-defined characters and backgrounds, add dialogues, and develop scenarios quickly. If you need to develop eBooks, InDesign is your best.
While all tools can be used to develop microlearning, here are a few recommendations.
Best Authoring Tool
|Digital Flashcards||Storyline 360, Adobe Captivate|
|Whiteboard Animations||Storyline 360, Adobe Captivate|