Microlearning refers to the learning method with the objective to deliver mini bursts of information.

A typical microlearning activity could be viewing a flash card, memorising a word, listening to a short podcast, watching a brief video or answering a series of questions in a quiz.

Compared to e-learning, which can be in the form of courses lasting several days, microlearning is based on short bites of learning with one or two learning objectives.

Microlearning is focused on specific learning outcomes and can be used as a part of formal training. For example, it can be a perfect way to refresh knowledge or offer a rapid learning technique for those who need a reminder or information boost.

Additionally, microlearning gives users the opportunity to learn without having to browse through numerous pages of content to understand a topic.

What are the types of microlearning?

There are numerous platforms in which learners can access microlearning materials. Blog posts are an easy way to provide a short burst of information and offer the easy ability to send a link to team members to read and digest at their own leisure

Slideshows are useful for conveying short sections of information, using visual aids and offering a highly accessible medium that not only works across computers but also on phones and tablets while on the go.

The quickly consumed sections combined with visual elements can assist learners to remember information more easily while incorporating videos with audio can diversify this learning method further.

Videos equipped with closed caption transcripts are highly accessible for both visually and hearing impaired learners.

Further microlearning activities include the creation of online games, which aims to make training more fun and get learners actively involved.

The games can offer scenarios and multiple choice answer quizzes; each level can be associated with one lesson or skill that has to be learned.

Plus, simulation can help to improve commercial awareness and offer the learner the opportunity to engage with scenarios, before experiencing them in live environments.

Why should workplaces embrace technology for microlearning?

The workforce is changing, mainly due to the arrival of Millennials in the workplace. Millennials typically prefer to use their own mobile devices for training, at their own pace, and they want relevant content targeted specifically to them.

Employees want to be in control of their training by completing it in the way in which they are most comfortable, and by facilitating this, trainers are more likely to receive a more proactive reaction.

Strategy changes and updates in corporate culture, induction or continued education can all be covered through microlearning, with online content much more easy to update in comparison to paper-based courses.

To keep up with fast-paced changes occurring within a business, microlearning can be a great option for ensuring content is current and up to date.

Furthermore, Millennial prefer content that spans just 5 to 6 seconds in length, according to a study by comScore. The study shows that long tiring content will lead to the learner quickly losing interest and motivation.

Providing short learning bursts, which can be accessed on electrical devices in their own time, gives them the opportunity to learn at their pace and in a way most suitable to how they absorb information.

Although the general consensus may be that Millennials attention span suggests a lack of want to learn, according to the Bersin by Deloitte Future of Corporate Learning report, training and development benefits are the most valued of all employee benefits.

The study showed that 22% of millennials wanted further learning as an essential part of their work benefits package, while only 14% desired cash bonuses.

Essential tips for successful microlearning programmes

Microlearning is one of the most important trends in human resources today and will continue to grow in the future, so it's important that it is executed successfully.

Firstly, it's important to understand the audience and how long you want to make the learning last and on what platform. You also need to identify a learning objective; this will help to create the content and assist the learner in understanding what the outcome should be from the course.

Additionally, you should think about how you want the learners to interact with the microlearning materials, such as considering if it should it be interactive or is video enough?

Another important point is to remember that microlearning needs to be short, so get straight to the point with the content and provide links to further information if the learner wants to conduct further reading for a deeper understanding.