Ann Wegner
Training and Development Specialist

General Parts, LLC., Bloomington, MN


Shaped from emerging technologies and the need for businesses to produce quick, user-friendly training for employees to use precisely at the time they need it most, microlearning is fast becoming the preferred training method for many, especially the younger generations. Examples of microlearning are everywhere today. Any brief, helpful content that explains, teaches, answers a question, or solves a problem on a single topic can be a form microlearning. The technology we all use today (smart phones, internet, Google, YouTube, and more) enables us to create and deliver all kinds of microlearning in many different modalities, such as short video, podcasts, simulations, infographics, static resources, job aids, social media, gamification and more.

Microlearning can serve as a standalone training experience or can designed to use anywhere within the learning cycle, such as a prework exercise for, incorporated into, or as a refresher after a more traditional, formalized training session, to help augment learning.

Microlearning puts the learner in control of their learning. It is a way of delivering short, bite-sized chunks of content, focused on a specific learning outcome, (such as completing a specific task) to learners that they can comprehend in one quick sitting (typically 5-7 minutes or less), and then immediately allows them to apply what they learned. This immediate application reinforces learning.

Most microlearning experiences that people have today happens in an informal learning environment and enables them to accomplish whatever their current need is. Examples of microlearning experiences include:

• Your wedding anniversary is coming up and you want to tell your spouse “I love you” in their native French language, so you download an app on your phone to help you learn how to say it.
• Or, you do not know where to go to vote, so you use your phone to Google where to vote in your precinct.
• Or you lost a button, and you want to learn how to sew it back on, so you find a You Tube video that shows you how.

These informal microlearning experiences have become so ingrained into our daily lives we do not even recognize them as a learning experience. So, it is not surprising that in today’s workplaces, where change is constant, employees must stay current, and consistently perform in a demanding environment; employees, especially the younger generations expect to see microlearning in their work environments.

Although microlearning is a popular training approach and is a solid instructional strategy that works well for many scenarios such as a short, outcome focused content like performing a task, that can be broken down into simple steps. However, microlearning is not a suitable training solution for more complex content or concepts, which may be better suited for a more traditional or blended training framework. Also, developing microlearning requires a lot of planning, work, and resources to create and maintain.

How can you determine if a microlearning strategy is good for your business? Start by looking at your business needs, and the needs of your employees.

To help you determine if microlearning is a good training strategy for your business you want to consider the type of content that must be trained (focus on “learning by doing”), what technology will be used for the training, what resources you have available to create the content, and what is the time frame required for developing the content.

To learn more about the benefits of microlearning, and how to go about implementing a microlearning strategy at your organization, I suggest you engage in your own microlearning experience, use your phone or computer, to Google “microlearning” or “is microlearning right for my organization” to get started; as there is nothing better than learning by doing.