Using microlearning to boost learning retention

Posted by Greten on 30 Jan 2023 under Tips

Microlearning are small independent units of learning materials, typically in the form of an elearning module, focused on a single topic or skill and designed to aid learning retention. Normally, the learners can access microlearning units or modules only after they've finished a course as a refresher or review material.

Microlearning is a highly efficient approach to learning that has been shown to enhance retention and help learners retain information over time. Microlearning characteristics that boost learners' retention are its small size, focus on a specific topic or learning needs, availability in various formats, accessibility in multiple platforms and devices, learner-controlled pacing, accessibility on-demand, quick access, and provides spaced learning and repetitions.

Small manageable units

Microlearning can help learners focus on a single topic or skill by breaking down complex topics into smaller, more digestible units. This can assist learners in comprehending and retaining information because they can handle the amount of information.

Onscreen text displays on a laptop

Short, concentrated learning activities, like videos, podcasts, infographics, and quizzes, can provide learners with targeted, focused learning experiences tailored to their specific needs. This is one approach to breaking down complex knowledge into smaller chunks.

Concept mapping, which can assist learners in seeing the interrelationships between various concepts and ideas, is another approach to breaking down complex knowledge.

Focus on the topic or learning needs

Microlearning approaches can also provide learners with focused, targeted, and relevant learning experiences. This is because microlearning exercises are designed to be brief, targeted, and to the point, allowing learners to focus on specific knowledge or skills rather than being flooded with too much information at once.

A thumbnail image showing white spots on a part of a sphere inteconnected with white lines, on a black background with what looks like a meteor storm.

One strategy to provide concentrated, targeted learning experiences is adaptive learning technology, which can deliver alternate learning content and activities based on the learners' performance and needs. This ensures that learners receive the appropriate reinforcement and challenge.

Adaptive learning can be automated using performance data and analytics to determine learners' strengths and shortcomings with the help of artificial intelligence and learning record store data. This allows learners to concentrate on the areas where they require the most assistance, improving their knowledge and memory of the content.

Availability in various formats

Microlearning can be presented in various formats, such as videos, podcasts, infographics, and quizzes, which can enhance the learning experience. Using a variety of formats helps keep learners interested and motivated throughout the learning process by making the subject more engaging and dynamic.

Videos and podcasts can assist learners in seeing and comprehending the subject being taught, making it more relatable and remembered. Infographics can portray complex information in an understandable and memorable manner. Quizzes and interactive activities can encourage learners to actively engage with the subject, increasing their learning and recall.

By giving learners the choice of selecting their preferred format of learning, the material may be tailored to their preference. Some learners, for example, may prefer to watch movies, whereas others prefer to read text or listen to audio. Furthermore, the learners are exposed to several modalities if they repeatedly access the same content in different formats, reinforcing learning.

Light bulb with brain surrounded by ear representing auditory, eye representing visual, and hand representing kinesthetic.Moreover, using different formats can also make the learning experience more accessible, which can be particularly beneficial for learners with disabilities. For example, making microlearning accessible as both infographic and podcast can benefit those with auditory and visual impairments, respectively.

Accessible on various platforms and devices

Microlearning modules are brief, targeted, and self-contained, making them easy to integrate into many platforms and learning management systems (LMS).

Among the major advantages of microlearning is that it may be delivered through various platforms and devices, such as e-learning platforms, learning management systems, mobile devices, and social networking websites. As a result, learners can access the content whenever and wherever they desire, making it easier to incorporate learning into their hectic schedules.

Aside from making learning more accessible, microlearning provides more engaging, dynamic, and socially interactive learning experiences by connecting microlearning modules to social media. They can share content, give feedback, and interact with other learners to foster community and collaboration.

Learner-controlled pacing

Microlearning allows learners to study at their own pace and return to the information as frequently as necessary, aiding in retention and understanding.

Self-paced online courses, which learners may access at any time and go through the content at their own leisure, use a microlearning approach to let learners study at their own pace. This can be advantageous for learners with demanding schedules, such as athletes and working students.

It is crucial to give the learners control over pacing their studies. You can do this by allowing them to pause, rewind, or repeat the microlearning exercises, letting them go over the content as often as necessary.

Accessible on-demand

Microlearning can be accessed on-demand, allowing learners to return to the content as often as they need to improve retention and understanding. This is advantageous since it will enable learners to return to the content whenever required, whether for a short refresher or a deeper dive into a specific topic.

Furthermore, microlearning is accessible through mobile apps or web platforms that allow learners to access information from any location and at any time. This is especially handy for learners who are constantly on the go or have limited time to complete the course.

Learner browsing microlearning on mobile phone while eating cake at a cafe.

Another technique to provide learners with on-demand access to microlearning is to allow them to download or save the microlearning activities for offline usage. This benefits the learners who have restricted internet access or want to study offline.

Quick access

Microlearning can also give learners fast and easy access to specific material, which is very helpful for learners looking for straightforward answers or solutions.

For example, an employee who uses a company's customized system, after undergoing training to use that system, suddenly needs to use a function that they never used before and, thus, has already forgotten. In such a case, the microlearning doubles as a user guide that the employee can access to execute the function. It's also unlikely for trainees to remember all the functions and features of the system after just one training session. The actual learning happens as they use the system in their daily task, and while still starting, the microlearning user manual can aid them greatly.

A search function or navigation menu on an online platform or mobile app is a popular technique to provide learners with quick and easy access to specific information. This enables learners to quickly locate and get the information they require. A search function or navigation menu on an online platform or mobile app provides quick and easy access to specific information. This enables learners to quickly locate and access the required information and activities.

Creating a knowledge base or FAQ section within the microlearning platform is another approach to give learners quick and easy access to specialized information. This can provide learners a concentrated area to obtain answers to frequently asked questions or solutions to frequently encountered issues.

Spacing and repetition

Microlearning can also provide learners with consistent, spaced-out learning experiences, which help solidify the knowledge in their minds and enhance retention.

Spreading out learning sessions over time allows learners to review and reinforce the subject several times, which can aid in consolidating the data in their long-term memory. Furthermore, providing regular learning can help learners keep their focus and engagement, resulting in higher information retention.

Creating a learning plan or curriculum incorporating regular microlearning is one strategy to give learners frequent, spaced learning experiences. This can assist learners in developing a routine of revisiting and reinforcing the content regularly.

A spaced repetition application, which employs algorithms to decide the optimal time for learners to repeat the subject depending on their performance and progress, is another technique to approach learners with frequent, spaced-out learning sessions. Usually, space repetition is not found on a separate software program but as a feature of an LMS.

Furthermore, by employing notifications or reminders, microlearning can offer learners regular, spaced learning experiences, which can help them stay on track and ensure they regularly revisit and reinforce the subject. Microlearning can also be utilized to provide learners with regular, spaced-out learning experiences by allowing them to complete learning tasks on a daily, weekly, or monthly basis.


Microlearning enhances retention by breaking complex information into smaller, manageable units and providing focused, targeted learning experiences. It can be delivered in engaging formats such as videos, podcasts, infographics, and quizzes.

Furthermore, microlearning can provide quick access to specific information, regular spaced-out learning, and be integrated into various learning environments like LMS, mobile apps, and social media for accessibility and convenience.



Last updated on 26 Mar 2023.

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