4 ways to maximize microlearning effectiveness

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4 ways to maximize microlearning effectiveness

Aptara Editorial | Posted on 15th Dec 2016

The concept of microlearning makes sense. As the attention span of human beings begins to shrink, and we become more reliant and accustomed to leveraging mobile technology in our everyday lives, condensing and delivering information into smaller formats is more effective. However, whether it is for use in the academic environment or corporate training, there are certain strategies and elements that make microlearning programs successful.

Taking a traditional, legacy piece of content and simply dividing it up into smaller segments – then delivering it on an online platform – does not mean that a company has successfully incorporated microlearning into its operations.  In order to glean the wide array of benefits associated with mLearning technologies and digital learning tools, such as microlearning, organizations must take a specific and strategic approach to the creation, development and implementation of it. Below are some best practices for doing so.

1. Focus on one concept at a time
It is not the size or duration of the microlearning course that matters so much as the depth of the concept covered. Each segment should be tailored to address just one concept. Whereas legacy learning systems may have been structured to give users hour-long training sessions, hitting on a broad area of topics within a given subject, microlearning evolved as a way to reinvent lengthy, instructional-based education to a format that was better suited for the brain of new age learners.

And this means that, instead of encompassing a number of different points in one unit, each microlearning session should cover just one objective, with a duration of anywhere between three and seven minutes. Given this short time frame, it is difficult, not to mention impractical , to try to hit on more than one point. Instead, this approach provides a way to cover one concept in a more meaningful, engaging and ultimately effective way.


With microlearning courses, aim to cover just one objective at a time.With microlearning courses, aim to cover just one objective at a time.

2. Use a building block approach
Because there is only so much time allocated for each individual training session, creators must be strategic in their approach to digital content development. For example, there needs to be a sound understanding of which concepts the user needs to learn first in order to grasp and retain the information offered later. Breaking up concepts into bite-sized bits of content should make it easy to arrange different elements of the course as needed. Additionally, when a microlearning course is created, it should touch on the points delivered before it to help not only introduce the next topic, but reinforce the ideas taught in the previous ones as well. 

3. Integrate an array of multimedia
Again, converting legacy content into digital formats and breaking it down into smaller chunks does not mean a microlearning course has been created. The effectiveness of this eLearning strategy hinges on the use of innovative technologies and techniques that optimize the education experience. People have different learning styles, so incorporating a number of elements and formats into a course helps improve its success. Training modules should include a mix of multimedia components, including video, audio, gamification and interactive content (such as animations and clickable links). 

"The goal of microlearning is to make the digital content delivery quick and convenient."

4. Leverage open source software
As Learning Solutions Magazine pointed out, one of the main purposes of microlearning is for the digital content to be consumed and digested through formats that are quick and convenient for the user. To achieve this, though, companies need to make sure learners are able to access, begin and complete the microlearning training from anywhere - and on any device. With people using an increasing number of digital devices, from PCs and desktops to tablets and smartphones, it is essential that the platform used to create and deliver the microlearning course is compatible with all browsers and operating systems. 

One of the best ways to guarantee that the eLearning content translates seamlessly across all devices is to build it using open source technology, such as Moodle, PHP, MySQL, or JavaScript frameworks. Furthermore, using a learning management system that operates using HTML5 ensures mobile portability that can be used with legacy and future browsers. Another reason that this is important in microlearning success is because it allows companies to update the training modules on an as-needed basis. Given the ever-evolving landscape of technology, organizations need to leverage a microlearning system that enables quick, responsive strategies for adapting content.

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Mobile Readiness, Corporate Learning & Performance, Digital Content Development