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What is microlearning? Definition, benefits and use cases

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Microlearning is often used in the corporate training world, but what does it actually mean? This article will explain what microlearning is and how it can be used to improve learning in the workplace.

What is microlearning?

Microlearning is a term used to describe a learning method that delivers small, targeted bits of information or training to help learners achieve a specific goal. This instructional approach is usually carried out in short bursts, and is often delivered via an online or digital platform. Microlearning can be used to supplement long-term learning goals, or as a standalone learning method.

There are many definitions of microlearning, each with its own similarities and differences. Let’s look at some of them.

Wikipedia defines microlearning as “Dealing with small learning units and short-term learning activities.”

Karl Kapp, in his book ‘Microlearning – Short and Sweet’, defines microlearning as “an instructional unit that provides a short engagement in an activity intentionally designed to elicit a specific outcome from the participant.”


Learning expert Will Thalheimer describes microlearning as “relatively short engagements in learning-related activities, typically ranging from a few seconds up to 20 minutes (or up to an hour in some cases). It may provide any combination of content presentation, review, practice, reflection, behavioral prompting, performance support, goal reminding, persuasive messaging, task assignments, social interaction, diagnosis, coaching, management interaction, or other learning-related methodologies” (Thalheimer 2017).

Carla Togerson, Head of Learning Experience Strategy at the award-winning L&D consulting firm Torrancelearning, explains: “Microlearning is learning content that can be consumed in less than 300 seconds.”

The definitions are numerous. However, the ideology is the same.

Practice makes perfect, is a habit that microlearning cultivates. The benefits of microlearning are many. They range from high levels of engagement, increased retention, higher job productivity, behavioral changes, etc.

📣 Message for the reader

People forget nearly 90% of what they have learnt within just 7 days, unless the concepts are reinforced. That’s why employees swamped with documents, presentations, and classroom sessions are not likely to learn much.

However, time constraints make it difficult to reinforce vast concepts.

What can you do instead? Arm your employees with one concept at a time. Studies show the human attention span is only 8.25 seconds, so keep your training concise.

RapL is your software for that.

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Why is microlearning effective?

In an age when we  are constantly inundated with information, it can be difficult to keep up. This is where microlearning comes in. Microlearning is a learning method that delivers small, bite-size  content. This type of learning has proven to be more effective than traditional methods, as it enables learners to better retain information. But why is microlearning so effective? Here are a few reasons:

  • Microlearning is more engaging. Bite-sized content is more engaging than larger chunks of information. This is because they are easier to digest and don’t require as much mental effort to process them. As a result, learners are more likely to pay attention and retain what they have learned.
  • Microlearning is more flexible. Microlearning is more flexible than traditional learning methods. This is because it can be easily integrated into our busy lives. We can learn in short bursts throughout the day, without having to devote a lot of time to learning.
  • Microlearning is more efficient. It is more efficient than traditional methods, as it allows us to focus on specific topics. It does not waste time on information irrelevant to us. This means we can learn in a shorter amount of time and still achieve the same results.
  • Microlearning is more effective. It is, because it uses the concept of spaced learning. This is the phenomenon where a user learns periodically. This way, information is better retained when learned over time, with breaks in between.

So there you have it! Microlearning is an effective way to learn, and there are several reasons. If you’re looking for a more flexible, efficient and effective way to learn, microlearning is for you.

What are the benefits and disadvantages of microlearning?

Microlearning can be delivered in various formats, including videos, podcasts, infographics, and articles. Microlearning has many benefits. This learning strategy can be used to effectively target a specific area of need or interest. In addition, microlearning episodes are relatively quick and easy to complete, which makes them ideal for learners with limited time or attention span. Finally, this instructional approach can be easily customized to meet the unique needs of individual learners. While microlearning offers many benefits, there are potential drawbacks to consider. One potential issue is that microlearning episodes may not provide learners with enough context to understand how to apply the information. Moreover, microlearning modules, if not used effectively, can simply become another form of busy work. It is important to carefully consider the objectives of microlearning before implementing it in an instructional setting.

Some benefits of microlearning include:

  • Increased knowledge retention and understanding
  • Engaged and motivated learners
  • Greater flexibility and accessibility
  • Reduced costs

How can microlearning be used in business?


Microlearning can be used in various ways in businesses. It can be used to train employees on new software or processes, provide refresher courses on topics, or provide just-in-time information when an employee needs it. Microlearning can also be used to create a customized learning path for each employee based on their individual needs and development goals.

Furthermore, microlearning can be used to support and strengthen the corporate culture. For example, if a business is trying to promote a culture of Diversity and Inclusion (D&I), they could create a microlearning course on D&I that all employees would be required to complete. This would help ensure that everyone is on the same page when it comes to corporate culture and values.

Video, audio and home study courses have been used in businesses for years. They offer employees a convenient (and sometimes entertaining) way to learn a new process or skill. But when it comes to achieving real results, video and audio training don’t always cut it. For example, employees at a manufacturing company need to learn how to use new software. They may watch many instructional videos on the software and practice using the software on their own. But the fact that one doesn’t immediately apply what you learned—and may forget some materials over time—means that the learning process is more complicated than it needs to be.


Microlearning is an instructional strategy that delivers content in short, bite-sized pieces that are easy to digest and can be completed in a short period. This type of learning is perfect for busy professionals who want to learn new skills, but don’t have the time to commit to traditional methods. If you’re looking for a way to improve your skills without taking too much time, microlearning could be the answer.

Thanks for being with us all the way here

Dear reader, thanks for being with us all the way till the end. We suggest 2 things from here

1. Speak to us if you want a microlearning strategy deep-dive: Microlearning is extremely effective, if approached sensibly. Microlearning is the answer to today’s shortening attention spans and we know how to make learning successful via microlearning. Drop your context here and we shall partner with you for the rest.

2. Lap up more content: We have written some intense literature on how microlearning is the superglue between people and successful business operations. Access all of it here.

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