The term microlearning has been around for a while, but it’s more than just a buzzword. It incorporates a whole array of learning techniques, each of which has been around – if not well-articulated – since the beginning of time.

Microlearning is all about delivering short, fast, bite-sized chunks of information… isn’t it? Actually, microlearning is about much more than the size of assets and completion rates. It’s about delivering a series of training interventions that impact learners. The type of intervention and when it is accessed is just as important as its content. 

A good microlearning programme doesn’t chunk up courses into smaller ones. Instead, it uses a variety of appropriate tools within your learning infrastructure and applies the principles of spaced repetition and practice.

“It’s now possible to create more consumable instructional content that’s accessible to the learner in the moment they need to learn.”

- Josh Bersin -


Microcontent is the name given to short, focused bite sized chunks of a digital learning solution. How micro is microcontent? A good rule of thumb is think of each piece of microcontent as being a 'single-outcome' resource. If a learner retains the knowledge that the microcontent was created to explain or show, then that’s a good outcome.

Microlearning content can take many forms. These include videos, animations, infographics, games, assessments, quizzes, demos, images, simulations, interactions, text explanations, scenario questions and user-generated knowledge-shares. A truly engaging solution includes a variety of formats.

Monday to Friday image


But how can we provide opportunities for learners to revise learning and to practise applying this new knowledge? This is where spaced repetition, or spaced practice, comes in.

Many new learning experience platforms have built-in algorithms that automatically deploy microcontent at strategic moments over a period of time. This provides learning interventions for learners in the key areas where they need a certain sustained level of knowledge. Click here to read about our learning experience designers' (LXDs’) take on spaced repetition.

AI and Adaptive Learning

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    Basic AI has already crept into online learning – for instance, chatbots and instruction from a ‘human’ computer voice. Now, intelligent algorithms are being built into learning systems to analyse results and make intelligent decisions. These algorithms are constantly learning and growing in complexity, allowing adaptive learning to become more sophisticated. They no longer personalise a learning solution based on test results alone. Now they consider the ability of learners to apply knowledge to real-life situations and their confidence in doing so.

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    In this way, intelligent software can now identify gaps in learners’ skills and knowledge. They can also tailor a learning pathway to include spaced practice and adaptive learning. The built-in intelligence constantly assesses each individual learner’s competence, and brings them along a unique learning journey.

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    Your small chunks of relevant, digestible content are served up to each learner at regular intervals. Key information is repeated and reinforced, and new topics are introduced at an appropriate time. Competent learners can be fast-tracked through a learning programme. Learners that need more time and opportunities to learn are also catered for.

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    Customisable deployment schedules allow L&D professionals to create highly focused, efficient, engaging and smart learning programmes for learners with varying needs. In the past, spaced practice strategies relied heavily on manual efforts. Now, auto-deployment means that L&D can imrove performance support by focussing on the learning outcomes and the quality of the content.

Data-driven learning

The advance of AI has given rise to powerful analytics in online learning. It’s no longer about achieving 8 out of 10 in a final assessment. Likewise, the statistics don’t focus any more on merely the number of pages learners have visited. It’s now possible to properly gauge how effective the learning is.

Today’s dashboards highlight important topics and reflect learners’ actual competence and confidence levels in these areas.

We now have valid microlearning statistics, and real data on which to focus effective learning strategies. These statistics can be used to increase and manage budgets. They can also help make the business case for the development of crucial or more in-depth learning resources.



For business:

Scalability of training

Cost control

Outcome-based results

Increase learner engagement

Agile development process

Direct alignment of end product to intended goal

Creation of reusable learning objects

Microcontent that can live anywhere

A culture of innovation

Fast, strategic deployment and rollout

Ability to address niche (underfunded) areas quickly and cost effectively

Faster response to business challenges

Choice and flexibility

Ability to quickly update content

For learners:

Long term knowledge retention

Relevant content

Reduced cognitive load

What you want, when you want it (JIT or just-in-time learning)

Shorter, less time-consuming tasks

Shorter attention span required

A variety of engagement types and media formats

Mobile-first learning

Opportunity to self-author and share knowledge

Access to up-to-date information

Access to the harder-to-reach (previously under-resourced) knowledge areas

AGILE development


A microlearning solution can be flexible and scalable in nature. This brings time efficiencies and cost control and the ability to roll out training quickly. An agile approach to development enables an L&D department to respond quickly to business needs. It can drastically reduce the time training takes to reach the learner, providing both short term and long term gains.


MIcrolearning is agile in another way: it’s extremely suitable for mobile learning. Your learners can make their learning agile, available to them at their point of need while they work.

These assets can sit independently of each other and be deployed to your learners from within the appropriate learning environment.

microlearning design process

This effective microlearning design model can make a radical difference to the quality of the learning you provide. Like the learning itself, it’s all about simple steps.


Where to start

There are multiple ways that your organisation could embrace microlearning. You might want to adopt some small aspects of microlearning to complement existing training programmes or as part of a blended learning programme. Or maybe you want to revolutionise your learning content and replace your old compliance training with a full microlearning solution complete with its adaptive layers and powerful analytics.

For helpful guidance on applying microlearning principles to traditional elearning, read our blog here.

Regardless of the authoring tool, microcontent can be deployed as standalone learning resources.
This content can sit:

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    on a microlearning platform that is integrated into your lms

So, microcontent can replace, enhance or complement existing learning activities. It can quickly be reused and repurposed. User engagement tends to be much better when the content is delivered in in bite-sized chunks that fit in with modern learners’ busy timetables. These are all key reasons cited in a recent article on Forbes, leading them to state that microlearning is the future of Professional Development.

Our microlearning solution, Verify, combines microlearning, spaced practice, and data-driven learning and can slot easily into learners’ lives.


a fully managed microlearning service


Make an Informed choice

Microlearning isn’t the answer to everything. But understanding the principles and options can help you to make more discerning choices for your learners.

Let us help you develop a microlearning solution that suits your organisation.