Imagine, you’re mindlessly scrolling through your social media feed. When up, pops content that catches your attention, instantly! “3 tips to make a boring selfie interesting!”

You sit up, more alert and let the content creator walk you through some cool tips and tricks. You assimilate it all in just a matter of a few seconds. You revisit the video again, to pick up a step that you probably missed out on, making a mental note to apply the trick, the next time you click a selfie.

What you just did, is learnt something relevant, that too quickly and effectively, without it feeling like a task. That is exactly how microlearning works. By breaking down complicated data into smaller and digestible chunks of more relevant information, this learning method, is highly impactful. Reason why, it is being adopted by employers to fill in the gaping void between technological advances and the output required from their employees to meet the same. Even at a personal level, whether you’re preparing for an exam or upskilling yourself through an online course, opt for microlearning modules, so the subject is easier to grasp and seamlessly fits into your routine.

What is microlearning?

Microlearning, is an approach to studying about anything new in bite-sized modules. Each module, is designed to familiarise the learner with a new objective and can be easily covered under five to ten minutes. Microlearning content formats, can be varied – infographics, snappy videos, games, quizzes and podcasts, to name a few.

This revolutionary work tool, can be traced all the way back to late 1880s when a German psychologist, Hermann Ebbinghaus, introduced to the world, the concepts of ‘Learning and Forgetting Curve’. The research that he published on the Ebbinghaus Forgetting Curve, demonstrates that when people take in large amounts of information, retention of what was learnt, tends to degrade over time. In fact, people typically lose 80% of the knowledge they learn, within a month. On the contrary, as you perpetually review information, you retain more of it.

Explains why ‘spaced-out’ learning, is more impactful than elaborate traditional methods, especially in today’s hybrid and remote working world, where time-management and co-ordination, have become more crucial than ever. To add to that, people are constantly jammed in between calls, mails and other workplace distractions. With such erratic and restricting schedules, even if you want to join a company training programme, chances are, you’ll not be motivated to add an extra to-do to your list. Consider this. In a working week, employees are shown to have just 1% of their time set aside for learning and development. Needless to say, one would be encouraged to learn something new, only if it doesn’t interrupt one’s workflow. Here are other ways for you to gain from microlearning.

Benefits of microlearning

1. You learn quick and easy

Learning in bite-sized modules, doesn’t overload you with too much information at once. Hence, you grasp things much quicker. Free from the confines of a boardroom and rigid structure, you enjoy the ease of learning at your own pace and convenience. A few minutes, is all that it will take for you to pick up a new skill or expand your knowledge base. That too, without obstructing your routine.

2. It suits your lifestyle

Your phone is your world. Everything that interests you, is there in it. Since microlearning modules are short and crisp pieces of content, they can be easily be accessed through your phone. So you can learn on the go. That means, you don’t have to go out of your way to say, pick up a new ‘presentation skill’. As a millennial, you spend about 5.2 hours on the phone every day. That leaves you with enough room for seamlessly fitting in 10-20 minutes of spaced-out learning, in your routine.

3. You engage more actively

Keen on upskilling yourself through a company learning programme, but do not have the time to overload yourself with elaborate and complicated courses? Then count yourself among 50% employees, who say they can use their company’s tools better, if the content was shorter. This is where microlearning can help the company align its vision and immediate goals with you and enable you to reciprocate with equal enthusiasm. Each module, is scientifically designed to hold your interest better, through engaging and informative visuals, short videos, quizzes, games and the like. In fact, microlearning is known to improve employee engagement from 15% to 90%.

4. You retain more

Since it is easy to assimilate information when split into smaller segments, it is easier to retain it. Microlearning involves spaced-repetition. Which means, the objective is conveyed through repetitive modules till such time, one grasps the core understanding of the topic. Reintroducing lessons in smaller batches, will help retain newly acquired knowledge for a longer time. That long-term retention, is known to increase by 80%, according to research.

5. You’re motivated to learn further

Since microlearning modules are essentially designed to be used on mobile phones with ease, you have the flexibility to learn as you like. You can revisit a module often. You can play a certain level in a game again to improve your score. Indicating that you’ve grasped the task at hand, better. You can pause and continue according to your comfort level and comprehensibility. This ‘self-paced’ learning, keeps you happily immersed and motivated to learn more. So if you’re taking a company training programme, an overall good score at the end of the course, will work in your favour. As an employee, it will allow your organisation to appreciate your interest, involvement and value contribution, in terms of aligning yourself with the company’s immediate goals and vision.

Why microlearning will redefine your workplace and career

The above is assuming that your company has such resources to offer. Even if it doesn’t, you can look up a microlearning course online for skills you seek to upgrade. For example as a Data Analyst, if you think your ‘creative-thinking’ skills are lacking, you could look up a course for that. Or follow certain public speakers/influencers on social media. There are high chances of them having shared some valuable tips for the topic of your interest. Even better, if you think there’s a course that could benefit you and your peers, you could put a case to your HR and get access to the same. This might earn you merit as a team player and a passionate learner. Now who wouldn’t want an employee like that on their team!

Moving into the future, as the world operates more out of remote working cubicles, lack of physical interaction and increasing digitisation, will require offices across, to adopt microlearning modules to bring their employees up to speed with technological changes. The World Economic Forum predicts that over half of all global employees, will need to upskill or reskill by 2025 to keep up with the evolution of jobs. That could come as good news to you, for there will be an increasing intent for your company, to provide more resources to upskill. Co-ordinating work, meeting deadlines, while maintaining team spirit, is as it is, a challenge. On top of that, your company would not want to burden you with assimilating more data. Hence, there are high chances of your organisation adopting microlearning. Many industries have or are in the process of incorporating this learning management system (LMS).

In 2014, Google entered the microlearning space with Google Primer, a free mobile app with five-minute interactive lessons, designed to empower startups and small businesses with knowledge about search engine optimization (SEO), search engine marketing (SEM), content marketing, audience measurement, branding, business planning and the like. Courses can be taken on the go. Even IBM uses infographics to streamline recruiting other than training.

Moving forward into a more digitally- enabled work environment, microlearning is definitely slated to make a macro differences.