DO IT IN 5 MINUTES or what
microlearning is and when to use it

What is microlearning?
Microlearning is learning a small amount of material in a short period of time. This e-learning trend is gaining more and more popularity every year.
Educational content is broken down into small bite-sized portions (hence the second name – "bite-sized learning"), which contain only the required amount of information.
    Such short formats allow a learner to choose the necessary modules and plan their learning path. At the same time, each module should be a logically complete piece of material. The same formula works for each unit of study:
    That is, each lesson contains one completed thought.
    Microlearning can utilize a variety of formats for delivering training material: videos, apps, long-reads, podcasts, and surveys. After all, the main feature of this approach is the ability to learn without distraction from business and work tasks, for example, in a car on the way to work or in a café during a lunch break.
      Microlearning is not a new popular short-term trend that everyone will soon forget about. Portioned learning has accompanied humanity for many millennia. This was the traditional way of transferring knowledge and skills before the advent of schools with an 11-year curriculum. Masters taught their apprentices the craft little by little, showing them step by step how to perform a certain task correctly: to mold a pot out of clay or to shoe a horse.

      The rhythm of a modern person's life is very fast, so now such training is more in demand. It's more difficult for people to devote time to self-education; we are used to grabbing information on the go: reading the latest news in a Telegram channel on the way to work, watching a couple of 10-second videos on TikTok while standing in line for a parcel, do a couple of exercises on Duolingo while the kettle is boiling.

      In addition, according to the latest global study, people spend about 40% of their waking life online (about 7 hours a day). And microlearning can compete for users' attention along with communication and entertainment apps.

      Source: Digital 2022 Global Overview Report
      COVID-19 also played a role; it caused many companies to switch to remote work. This has provided great opportunities for microlearning, as companies and universities need to keep the learning process continuous and relevant in the new environment.

      The benefits of microlearning are supported by modern research.

      For example, scientists from the Technical University of Dresden experimented to find out whether different distribution of questions affects learning activities and achievements. The experiment participants were divided into three groups: Group 1 answered 1 question after each of the 16 chapters of the text, Group 2 answered 4 questions after every 4 chapters, and Group 3 answered 8 questions after every 8 chapters. The results of the experiment showed that participants in Group 3 showed less achievement compared to Groups 1 and 2.

      Source: Distributing vs. Blocking Learning Questions in a Web-Based Learning Environment, 2015
      In addition, microlearning is an effective tool for fighting against forgetting. The German scientist H. Ebbinghaus researched human memory and patterns of memorizing information. According to his research, 20 minutes after the end of the lesson, students forget about 50% of the information! After 9 hours, the amount of information received is no more than 40%, and after a month – only 24%. The results of this study are reflected in the "forgetting curve."
        The forgetting curve for a single lesson
        (Ebbinghaus curve)

        Microlearning is built based on repeating information at regular intervals. As a result, the acquired knowledge moves from short-term memory to long-term memory.
          So, let's highlight the main advantages of microlearning:
            • 1
              Students are not physically tied to a specific place of study.
            • 2
              Students can easily fit this type of learning into their daily routine.
            • 3
              Small pieces of information are easier to remember.
            • 4
              Students are less tired because they concentrate on one thing at a time and can easily take a break.
            • 5
              It's psychologically easier to approach a small task; there's less chance of procrastination and "shelving".
            • 6
              Learning in this format is more appealing to learners, as about half of the working population is made up of the younger Generations Z and Y, who widely use modern technologies.
            • 7
              Developing such courses is cheaper and faster.
            What do you teach with micro courses?
            Microlearning cannot be integrated into any classical training. This format is advisable to use where it is possible to acquire new knowledge in a short period of time, or if current information quickly becomes outdated. Microcourses are ideal for introducing or repeating previously studied material but are not suitable for deeper study of the topic. For example, microlearning is used to learn foreign languages: in a few short lessons, it is quite possible to learn a couple of dozen new words or phrases.
              According to a study by SkillCup, the most popular topic for microlearning in Russia is learning to know a product or service, followed by tutorials and soft skills.
                Microlearning is mainly used by large companies (more than 5,000 employees) in industries such as manufacturing, finance, and retail to develop their employees.
                  Microlearning in action
                  Induction training/First day on the job/Onboarding
                    On their first day at work, new employees have a lot of questions about the company, the processes taking place within it, rules, etc. Most of these questions can be answered by an electronic course in a mini format, where 10-15 slides can summarize all the introductory information.
                    Procedure instructions or step-by-step process

                    A training video with voiceover will help demonstrate the correct sequence of steps or performance of certain procedures. A short 3–5-minute video will help streamline the company's processes and ensure consistency in the actions of all involved specialists.
                    Break a complex topic into subtopics

                    If you go deep enough into the topic, you can adapt large amounts of complex theoretical information into a short lesson. If a complex theory is broken down into small subtopics, it becomes much easier to understand. For example, it's much easier to read and internalize a few brief longreads that demonstrate certain subtopics.
                    Conclusion or who microlearning is not suitable for
                    Microlearning is not a one-size-fits-all approach, even if used wisely. It is not suitable for all areas; for example, it is unlikely that surgeons can be properly trained in this way. This format is not suitable for in-depth and fundamental study of a topic. After all, if you focus too much on individual moments, it is easy to lose sight of the whole picture.

                    However, the main disadvantage of microlearning is that students quickly adapt to simplified content. Because of this, attention and quality of work with large volumes of information may decrease.

                    However, the use of this training format can increase the motivation and engagement of trainees and the amount of information they remember. Microlessons are great for presenting simple information (aka the basics), but may not always be able to convey more complex concepts.

                    It is best to use microformats for organizing corporate training when learners are under severe time constraints. This will help strengthen the company's learning culture and build a system for rapid employee training.