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  • Writer's pictureTravis Jordan

What is Microlearning? Definition and Tips

Updated: Jul 20, 2019


What is Microlearning?

In a world of regular change in the workforce, new technology, and rapidly shrinking attention spans, microlearning has taken center stage in the learning industry. So what exactly is Microlearning? At IDC, we define microlearning quite simply as "the delivery of bite-sized content nuggets." The eLearning industry states that "a microlearning module is focused on meeting one specific learning outcome, by breaking down a large topic into numerous bite-sized modules and allowing the learner to take them in the order of their choice." (source:

Why Microlearning?

Yes, the concept or "bite sized learning" is not novel and it has been around for years. So why are we seeing a surging trend today? Demand. Users are demanding shorter learning because of shrinking attention spans and learners are expected to get up to speed much faster. Learners no longer have the patience or desire to wade through a 30-minute online "course." Additionally, technological influences such as mobile learning, social media, and improved bandwidth speeds are also impacting the need. Below is a fantastic infographic from AllenComm that visually demonstrates some of "the why" behind microlearning:

Microlearning Infographic

Examples of Microlearning

Microlearning is a relevant and essential learning method in the K-12, Higher Ed, and Corporate sectors. So what does microlearning look like? Below are a few examples of microlearning:

1. Short, task based video demonstrations

2. Packaged simulation

3. Brief, "gamified" activities

4. Instructive animations

5. Visually rich job-aids

Top 3 Tips to Get Started with Microlearning?

Microlearning seems intuitive, but it is not always an easy task to create, package, and deliver bit sized learning that WORKS! Below are a few tips to get started with microlearning:

TIP #1: Keep it Short. Ensure that your content nugget takes no more longer than 1-3 minutes for a learner to consume.

TIP #2: Keep it Focused.

Identify a single learning objective for each of your content nuggets. Don't get distracted by creating multiple learning objectives for a single asset.

TIP #3: Keep it Captivating. Ensure that your content is both engaging and relevant. You will also want to be sure that you are using various mediums (video, games, scenarios, etc.) to capture the attention of your learner.

Author: Travis Jordan, Founder and CEO of Instructional Design Central, LLC

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