Microlearning: An Evolving Trend

Author: Charu Kapoor


The concept of microlearning is not new, but it is becoming increasingly popular in the current scenario across the world. As there is a shift in demand from heavily loaded elearning courses to more manageable chunks of information, keeping in mind the low attention spans of learners, instructional designers are accepting the fact that learning happens better when the amount of information is small.

So, what is microlearning? Microlearning is about getting your elearning in small doses, as tiny bursts of training material that is easier to comprehend in a short time irrespective of the platform. If you have heard about the Cognitive Load theory, you will understand that our working memory grasps tiny bits of information more efficiently and processes and stores it in the long-term memory.

Though macro learning still takes place in schools, institutions, and the corporate sector to develop our knowledge and skillsetswhen specific info is required on the job, the simple yet efficient microlearning works better. Recent research has also shown that a shorter content increases information retention by 20%. Haven't you noticed that you tend to retain the information shared on social media platforms like Twitter and Inshorts in a better manner? This is because of the character limit ofTwitter and crisp news nuggets created by Inshorts. Similarly, in this age of mobile learning, when info is needed on the go, bite-sized learning is more impactful and leads to better results over time. The ask from Instructional Designers is to make it more engaging for the learner yet retaining the simplicity and the real-life connect. For employees in the corporate sector, this means just-in-time information which they can use to perform their jobs better. These nuggets of information are independent, sometimes reusable, and easily accessible. Another important feature of microlearning is that it should be searchable with appropriate keywords and should allow the learners to easily apply and integrate it into their everyday life.

At this point, I would like to draw your attention to the learner satisfaction that is achieved once the learning has happened. Let us understand this with the help of an example of learning to bake a cake. If you can learn the process of baking a cake by watching a YouTubevideo, you will for sure feel happy at your accomplishment. This is the learner satisfaction and the feeling of achievement that comes in after completing a task. As a matter of fact, if you succeed in one task, you will be motivated to learn other tasks as well. Therefore, small nuggets of microlearning can do wonders to your confidence and your overall well-being.

If we try to look at the disadvantages of microlearning, it can be said that it is not a be all end all solution. You will need a holistic view of things when the body of work is large, and the material needs to be studied in detail.

However, in this era of mobile learning, microlearning is evolving bit by bit and indeed has a promising future. It is a trend to watch out for and is slowly and surely being accepted as an integral part of the elearning world!


Charu Kapoor
An elearning professional and a management graduate having an eye for detail and a knack for creative content creation. Has been working as an Instructional Designer in the elearning domain for over ten years. Is an avid reader and blogger as well.Likes to see the world as a glass half full.
Currently she is working as anInstructional Designer with eWandzDigital Services.