Microlearning: definition, benefits, and best practices

Do you remember when you went to school, and you were forced to study history or philosophy from huge books?...
19 December 2022

Do you remember when you went to school, and you were forced to study history or philosophy from huge books? You had to translate all that information into an exam that could easily take you 4 or 5 pages. Well, microlearning may be the opposite of that concept. 

Nowadays, microlearning is a concept closely related to new technologies and e-learning. However, it has more and more variables when it comes to its implementation by the institutions and companies that make use of it. 

In this article, we will define the concept and talk about its benefits and good practices so that you can maximize e-learning training in your company or institution.

Microlearning: definition

We want to start this post by answering one of the questions you are probably asking yourself right now: what is microlearning?

The simplest answer is that what we know as microlearning is a learning format based on training content that is very easy for people to understand and process

How is this achieved?

Through short information pills that students can access at any time and from (almost) any device.

This is one of the most widely used tools in e-learning courses and is very useful, for example, in developing the soft skills of a company’s employees.

Microlearning

Microlearning theory

One of the keys to understanding why microlearning is so important for training processes to make use of microlearning is to understand the theory of microlearning.

Why do humans digest concepts better when they are shorter, visual, and repetitive

This is something that is perfectly explained by the German philosopher Hermann Ebbinghaus. According to Ebbinghaus, “learning is better when the same amount of study is spread over periods than when it occurs closer together or at the same time“. In short, the brain retains the progressive acquisition of new concepts more lightly than those that are repeated. 

Thanks to new devices, with instant access to training, we can obtain these repetitions and bend the forgetting curve. And the more we repeat and use the information, the more likely it will end up in our long-term memory

Microlearning: benefits and advantages

The main benefits that have made microlearning one of the most important educational methodologies today through content fragmentation are the following:

  • It’s simplicity made training: learning pills are easy-to-consume content that increases learners’ attention. As they are interactive audiovisual formats, it is easier to make time in our busy day to dedicate time to them
  • Less memory overload: human attention is limited in time, so, thanks to microlearning courses and the new training methods derived from them, information is more easily retained.
  • Training is much more accessible: today’s microlearning is designed to be consumed on various devices, whether mobile devices, tablets, laptops or desktop PCs. 
  • It generates more significant interaction on the part of its users: since the content is quick to consume, students feel that they have understood it more efficiently and it motivates them to  continue and participate. It is also influenced by the fact that the content tends to be very applicable to real life and helps to solve real problems.
  • Ease of content updating: it is also handy for the people who generate the content to be taught in the training courses so that these pills can be updated simply and quickly. Times change very rapidly and education must stay caught up.

Microlearning: best practices

There is no universal standard on how microlearning should be used, nor is there an official guide of good practices, so all we can do is give you a series of recommendations that will allow you to get more out of this type of training.

Reset the objective of your students in each unit

Try to ensure that your students have achieved it by the end of each unit, no matter how basic or complicated the objective is. This way, they will be able to move on to the next microlearning module with a “clean” mind and without backpacks from previous units. 

Remember that giving too much information in one unit can cause students’ memories to overflow and concepts to be retained with greater difficulty.

Microlearning definition and benefits

Including gamification for a more immersive experience

Mixing education and games is always a good idea. Gamification of your content will make students feel more attracted to and engaged with the content

To do this, you can implement scoring systems, virtual trophies, levels, etc. to make your students or employees motivated and looking to improve themselves.

Make all of your content “responsive”

What do we mean by this? You need all those content pills to be viewable and playable on any current device. That is, if you design something having in mind that it will be consumed on a computer only, it may be a mistake, as more and more people use mobile phones to consume content and learn.

Fortunately, today’s content design tools allow you to design with all types of devices in mind. 

Looking for microlearning software?

Nowadays, any of the leading LMS (Learning Management Systems) on the market, such as Moodle, Blackboard, Open LMS, or Classe365, is prepared to host content in the form of learning pills

They are modern systems that were born almost with the concept of microlearning under their belt, so if you are looking for a learning platform where you can train your employees or students through microlearning techniques, any of them will work wonders for you. 

In order to certify that your employees or students carry out this training with guarantees, we recommend you to use a proctoring system. In the case of SMOWL products, they have a complete and easy integration with the mentioned LMSs. You can ask us for a free demo and test the system without obligation.


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