Microlearning – short learning activities to build your knowledge little by little

Microlearning refers to learning topics in small, easy-to-adopt units. The idea is to learn about a specific subject from content summarized to e.g. an infographic, a video or an interesting snippet of text. These kind of brief learning minutes are very short, and the focus is on achieving one target at a time.

When the course is provided using a mobile friendly platform, learning is flexible and only takes a minute at a time. This enables on-demand learning – and when it takes place the gained knowledge can be turned into action immediately.

Enhancing time management with more flexible learning

With microlearning developing one’s own knowledge becomes easier, as it feels considerably more effortless to study for a minute every now and then, than to arrange time for a full day training. When a learning activity only takes a minute arranging it is easy e.g. using a smart phone. One might study a couple of minutes while waiting for the customer meeting to begin or by listening a short podcast on commute to work. A great way to turn even the shortest moments of idleness into productive learning.

Continuous learning as a natural part of the company culture

Digital solutions enable usage of microlearning in support of continuous learning and skills development and are therefore tools for integrating learning as a natural part of the company culture. It is essential to ensure the access for relevant information for employees whenever and wherever they may need to access it. This is an important way to support their work performance precisely when needed. Having the information at hand and when studying it only takes a moment, one can adopt new information easily among the daily work. This enables learning precisely where and when it is needed.

Enhancing effectiveness of trainings by the right timing and repetition

How to bring theory into practise? It can be facilitated by integrating training with everyday working and by providing opportunities to continuous microlearning. Effectiveness of learning increases when learning is in fact a natural part of the work instead of an isolated activity. It can be easier to perceive the relation between the content of the training and one’s own work when the subject is discussed within the right context. The acquired knowledge is more likely to turn into practise when one can apply it to one’s work immediately.

Learning new subjects is often easier when the subject matter is divided into small units. When the training is split into small units and executed during a longer period of time it supports turning theory into practice and the forming new habits, which again might also be supported by providing chances to practice and self-reflection.  

Intrinsic motivation is the strongest motivation

When divided into small modules, an online course can support learner-centered training. This way the learner may complete the traininat a time most suitable for them and even in the order preferred. They can proceed with the course according to their own schedule, when the time is right and studying is most effective for them. This contributes to the learning results.

Intrinsic motivation is the most powerful form of motivation and it induces commitment. Moreover, for a learner a new challenge is easier to approach in small steps. Completing these small tasks generates more experiences of accomplishment, which again increases motivation.

Ideas on how to use microlearning for skills development

Enhance the flexibility of your training by splitting it into a series of smaller modules

  • Split your online training into a series of smaller modules that can be completed independently from each other. This way the completion of the whole course becomes more flexible. Dividing the training into convenient units and for a longer period of time supports adoption of new information.

Make recapitulation of content learned easier by summarizing it

  • One way of implementing this is to summarize the content of ta wider course into short microlearning entities, to which one can easily return to when needed. Refreshing one’s memory on the subject therefore becomes effortless!

Enhance practical knowledge by using case-based learning

  • Create short videos in which case examples are presented. This kind of approach serves well to sales and customer service training. Stories support memory and help to remember the learned facts.

Encourage sharing the know-how between the whole work community

  • Involve the entire work community in sharing their know-how. Make it a habit to share the best practices within the team by creating microcontent available to everybody.

Streamline the onboarding process by using microcontent

  • Delivering onboarding training by using microcontent makes the training easier to complete. Compact microcontent focused on the most important matters help the newcomer adopt important knowledge in an easier way. When in a new position there is plenty to learn and the information flood may be overwhelming.

Four tips for creating microcontent:

  1. Divide the subject matter into small, limited units and cover only one topic in one unit.
  2. Define one clear and practical objective to each learning activity.
  3. Present the content in a dense form so that it only takes a moment to study – depending on the subject from a couple of seconds to maximum of 15 minutes.
  4. Create versatile and interesting contents by utilizing different elements such as videos, infographics, texts, podcasts and case examples.