Microlearning: The Emerging Instructional Design Strategy in Elearning


“As an Instructional Designer, I Feel Learner Engagement Is a Big Deal And One Cannot Afford to Ignore It…”

Microlearning is an emerging instructional design strategy and has been a buzzword both in eLearning Industry and Learning & Development landscape. In this blog, we will dive deep into microlearning to find its characteristics.

Today’s millennial workforce is overwhelmed, distracted, stressed out and disengaged more than ever. And this younger generation wants to have a complete control over what they learn, how they learn and when they learn, provided the learning is completely relevant. Given their low attention spans and heavy distractions, long and boring content (aka information dump) makes no more sense in the present context. So it’s time to design eLearning with a more holistic learner-centered approach, and that’s what we call “Microlearning” (micro-learning or micro learning). It is an ideal eLearning solution for corporate learning environment that supports blended learning / mobile learning strategy / formal training.

What is Microlearning?

Microlearning is a learning strategy that involves bite-sized learning nuggets (small and focused segments) designed to meet a specific learning outcome. To put it simply, the learning content is chunked to reduce learner’s cognitive overload making it easy for learners to absorb and recall. And this results in better learning retention. On top of that, it is easily accessible via mobile devices providing just-in-time performance support.

Microlearning could be anything that provides a brief learning experience. For instance, it could be a mini eLearning module with a smaller chunk of learning content or a video tutorial or even a quiz or an infographic.

How Does an Effective Microlearning Course Look Like?

An effective microlearning course:

  • Provides deeper learning on a specific concept or a performance objective
  • Is bite-sized, effectively chunked and easily digestible
  • Designed for exact moment-of-need – Right information at right time
  • Ideal for extended performance support providing a better mobile learning experience
  • Focused on a single performance objective, concept or idea
  • Is usually 4 to 5 minutes in length, or shorter


Well, microlearning is going to be one of the hottest eLearning trends in 2017. Most of the organizations have already started implementing microlearning as part of their corporate learning culture.

Are your training strategies not meeting the current learning requirements? Are you unable to keep your modern learners engaged? Then it’s time you switch to microlearning for a more targeted learning and performance support. After all, training programs need not be boring and tedious. We, at Swift, help you devise better microlearning strategies that fit your learning culture whilst driving your learning and development programs with the better completion rates. This means a better eLearning return on investment (ROI) with better business results.

3 replies
  1. Nick Hobar
    Nick Hobar says:

    I like the micro learning strategy. However, how does an adult learner gain deeper understanding and better retention in 4-5 minutes? Any research studies available on those assertions in this blog?

    • Santosh Borse
      Santosh Borse says:

      Microlearning is not a replacement for eLearning or blended learning, but it is a supplement to reinforce it. When I say deeper understanding, I mean the focused learning which yields desired learning outcome and microlearning is designed based on targeted performance objective. Given the distractions and shorter attention spans of this present generation, it helps them focus a particular learning objective that results in good retention.

  2. Curtis Pembrook
    Curtis Pembrook says:

    Well established research in multimedia learning cleRly demonstrate the importance of small chunks & managing cognitive load (Richard Mayer, Alessi & Trollip, Ruth Clark)– this is not new. I agree with Nick– you can’t expect higher-order transfer of knowledge in this context; ML seems best suited to “information”– and only to support recall of facts, procedures and concepts. Also, how would a performer/learner retrieve appropriate ML when needed just-in-time, bust in a course and find the micro-lesson?


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