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What is Microlearning? An up-to-date method for effective learning

Unlock the power of microlearning in the corporate world with our concise guide. Discover its game-changing benefits and how it is reshaping continuous learning. Boost your team's productivity today!


Microlearning redefines the learning and development landscape, particularly in the corporate world. This educational approach involves delivering content in bite-sized format. It is not merely a trend or fad but a powerful response to the shifting nature of work and the modern learner's needs.

In this guide, you'll discover the essence of microlearning, its efficacy, and strategies for its successful integration into your organization.

Explore the power of microlearning:

What is microlearning?

Microlearning is an innovative educational approach that delivers content in concise, bite-sized modules, each targeting a specific learning objective. This learning method is ailored for the modern learner's fast-paced lifestyle and diminishing attention span. Microlearning harnesses the principles of cognitive science to promote efficient knowledge retention and application in the corporate environment

Why is microlearning effective?

Microlearning aligns perfectly with today's fast-paced, digitally-transformed work environment, where information is abundant and attention spans are shrinking. According to a study by Microsoft, the average human attention span dropped from 12 seconds in 2000 to 8 seconds in 2013, less than that of a goldfish. As such, traditional lengthy learning modules are no longer effective. 

Enter microlearning its short and focused nature caters perfectly to this new reality, making it an integral part of corporate e-learning strategies.

At its core, microlearning is about understanding how our memory works and using that knowledge to increase learning effectiveness. The principle behind microlearning rests on the 'forgetting curve,' a concept introduced by the German psychologist Hermann Ebbinghaus. He discovered that the brain tends to forget information over time, with the sharpest decline occurring in the first 24 hours. But this is when microlearning can help. It provides small pieces of content that can be quickly learned and repeated, thus enhancing knowledge retention.


According to a study by the Journal of Applied Psychology, microlearning enhances retention and performance by up to 20%. An eLearning Industry study found that learners can absorb and retain information 17% more efficiently when that data is presented in smaller units. Such statistics emphasize the effectiveness of microlearning in fostering learning and development, thus increasing team performance.

Microlearning isn't just about shrinking the size of learning content. It's about redesigning experiences to meet modern needs and lifestyles. It's an approach that respects the individual’s time, provides flexibility, and allows personalized learning paths. This learner-centric model is why microlearning is becoming increasingly popular in the corporate learning space.

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Examples of microlearning formats

Microlearning comprises various engaging formats, each serving different learning needs and preferences:

  • Text: Bite-sized phrases or short paragraphs give essential information quickly and easily.

  • Images: Photos or illustrations visually represent concepts, aiding comprehension and retention.

  • Videos: Short instructional or explanatory videos provide a dynamic way to present complex information.

  • Audio: Short audio clips or podcasts allow for learning on the go.

  • Tests and Quizzes: Quick assessments reinforce learning and provide feedback. 

  • Games: Simple games or challenges engage learners, making learning fun and interactive.

Individually or combined, each of these formats can effectively facilitate microlearning, depending on the content and the learners' needs.

What are the benefits of microlearning? 

Microlearning's rise to prominence in corporate learning is not by chance; it is a direct response to its unique advantages in the learning and development arena. In today's fast-paced business environment, it enhances the efficiency of the learning process, promoting engagement, and aiding knowledge retention.

Time-Efficiency: Microlearning is speedy, catering to today's time-constrained learners. It offers bite-sized information that individuals can consume quickly. According to eLearning Industry, microlearning requires 300% less time than traditional training while delivering the same amount of information, making it a perfect fit for busy professionals.

Ease of Delivery: Microlearning is designed for accessibility, that plays a crucial role in ensuring continuous learning and development. Its digital nature and concise format make it easy to deliver across various platforms, including mobile devices. 

Engagement Amplifier: By breaking down information into digestible chunks, microlearning reduces cognitive load and makes learning more enjoyable, increasing engagement. A study by Axonify found that microlearning boosts voluntary participation by up to 50% compared to traditional e-learning methods.

Enhanced Knowledge Retention: Microlearning leverages the spacing effect and the forgetting curve to improve knowledge retention. It provides frequent, repeated exposure to content over time, helping transfer information from short-term to long-term memory.

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Self-Paced Learning: Microlearning caters to individual learning paces, accommodating different learning styles. This self-paced approach increases learner satisfaction and effectiveness, as demonstrated by a LinkedIn study that found that 58% of employees prefer to learn at their own pace.

Learning on the Go: The mobile-friendly nature of microlearning supports learning anytime, anywhere, turning downtime into productive learning time. In today’s mobile-first world, this is particularly relevant. According to a report by eFront, 70% of learners feel more motivated when training on a mobile device.

Personalized Learning Experience: Microlearning can be easily customized to suit individual learning needs, providing a more personalized and practical learning experience.

Headway's microlearning solution, tailor-made for business learning, exemplifies these advantages. The platform offers a variety of content formats and supports learning on the go. Hence it is an ideal choice for businesses looking to leverage the power of microlearning to enhance their corporate learning and development strategy.

What are the limitations of microlearning?

Despite its benefits, microlearning has challenges. When considering its implementation, it's essential to comprehend the intricacies involved to ensure its successful integration into your corporate learning strategy.

Intricacy of Complex Topics: Microlearning, by its nature, deals with 'micro' or smaller, bite-sized pieces of information; it is less suited to tackle topics that require a deep dive. However, this doesn't rule out its use entirely for more intricate subjects. Platforms like Headway have designed solutions that cleverly segment complex information into manageable learning modules, creating a journey of knowledge discovery rather than an overwhelming information dump.

Need for Specialist Expertise: Transforming comprehensive topics into concise, engaging, and effective learning nuggets demands a deep understanding of the subject matter and learning methodologies. Headway offers a solution to this challenge by providing a range of expertly crafted courses, ensuring the content you deliver is engaging and effective in delivering learning outcomes.

While these challenges do exist, they are not insurmountable. Instead, they act as prompts for learning and development professionals to take a more strategic, considered approach to implementing microlearning.

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Leveraging microlearning: increasing your team's efficiency with the stable strategy

Microlearning's strategic implementation in corporate learning and development can significantly enhance your team's performance and productivity. Through bite-sized, focused learning modules, microlearning leverages our cognitive abilities. It creates an efficient learning process, and ultimately, more competent, confident employees.

Microlearning presents knowledge in bite-sized chunks, which are easier to understand. Studies suggest that the brain is better at encoding information into long-term memory when consuming it in small, structured doses. Consequently, microlearning can enhance knowledge retention, leading to a more proficient workforce. It's a perfect fit for the modern world, where attention spans are shorter and learning on the go is becoming the norm. 

Several essential tips can help you maximize the impact of microlearning in your company:

  • Mobile-Friendly Design: Ensure content is accessible and easily used on all devices.

  • Seamless Access: Integrate microlearning into the daily workflow to foster continuous learning.

  • Gamification: Use gaming elements to boost engagement and motivation.

  • Promote Continuous Learning: Regularly use microlearning content to reinforce knowledge and skills.

Headway is an ideal example of an effective microlearning solution. Offering over 1500 book summaries across various disciplines, the platform enables employees to choose the learning paths that best match their roles, responsibilities, and learning preferences. This tailored approach leads to higher engagement and fosters a culture of continuous self-improvement, increasing team performance.

Headway's platform, compatible across various devices, allows employees to learn at their own pace, whenever and wherever they choose. This accessibility can significantly boost learning engagement, leading to improved knowledge acquisition and application and a more effective team.

In conclusion, integrating microlearning into your corporate learning strategy with a platform like Headway can significantly improve your team's performance. By enhancing knowledge retention, enabling flexible learning, and fostering a culture of continuous improvement, microlearning will serve as a powerful tool to increase your team's efficiency and productivity.

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