What Is Microlearning: A Complete Guide

20 April 2023

Teachers dictating long answers or explaining in detail regarding a topic while students note them down dutifully has been a common scenario in most educational institutes. Following this, the next step usually entails students memorising the notes and preparing accordingly for exams to score good marks.

But is that enough? What is the ultimate point of studying? Is it merely to mug up theory and answer questions in the exam? We can agree to the fact that the ultimate aim of academic learning goes beyond rote memorisation; instead, it enables students to become knowledgeable and competent in diverse areas. However, passive learning habits and outdated teaching techniques does more harm than good.

Moreover, short attention spans and lower understanding levels are notable obstacles that affect student learning; that is where microlearning can make a difference, as it is a unique approach that allows individuals to learn any particular topic or subject bit by bit.

What is Microlearning?

Microlearning is a unique instructional approach that dissects or breaks down educational content into bite-sized and small learning units. Consequently, it allows teachers to design and develop personalised learning; they incorporate illustrations, info-graphics, short video clips, interactive modules, mini-assessments or exercises.

Furthermore, Ebbinghaus's Forgetting Curve points out that people usually lose 80 per cent of whatever they learn within a month. Besides, it explains that people can learn large amounts of information and retain it for a certain time. However, if the information is not pivotal to the task at hand, the knowledge tends to dissipate over time.

Fortunately, we can employ innovative techniques, such as microlearning which splits content into small components, making it easy for learners to review different parts of it and improve their knowledge retention and comprehension levels.

Strategies for Implementing Microlearning in the Classroom


1. Microlearning Video Content

A picture might be worth a thousand words, but a video goes above and beyond in terms of explaining a particular topic. Besides, it is one of the most popular forms of multimedia that students love to engage in; for instance, they spend most of their leisure time watching youtube videos and Instagram stories.

Short videos are the perfect platform to infuse short bursts of knowledge through the following:

  • Explainer videos
  • Short clips ranging from one minute to a minute and a half briefly explain specific topics.

  • Brief and Interactive Videos
  • Brief videos are short videos that explain any core topic, whereas interactive videos have clickable elements that take the user to another video or webpage.

  • Micro-lectures
  • They refer to short videos recorded by the instructor that follow a linear approach to explaining a topic with an introduction, a list of critical points and a conclusion.

    This video-based learning content provides a specific takeaway and is part of a longer learning path that ensures improved educational practices in the long run.

2. Mobile Learning

As per the conventional concept of the educational system, students must go to the institute campus and pursue their education. Thankfully, distance learning offers students a leeway to study remotely; besides, NEP 2020 has a special clause that particularly highlights the relevance of online learning.

According to the New Education Policy 2020, accredited institutions can conduct Open Distance Learning and online courses and programmes. As a result, they would be able to include multiple microlearning strategies, including mobile learning, which allows the dissemination of educational material on smartphones.

However, without proper solutions, institutes face consistent technical problems, which is why tools like the learning management system are ideal for avoiding unprecedented issues. Besides, mobile learning allows students to learn on the go; they can study whenever they are free.

3. Quizzes

One excellent microlearning examples are quizzes that teachers can employ to test students’ current grasp or understanding of a particular topic. Besides, when continuous learning becomes tiresome, quizzes offer a respite, enabling students to take a break and recall whatever they have learned so far.

4. Gamification

Passive learning leads to overdependence on teachers or peers to keep track of class-ongoings; on the other hand, active learning encourages students to participate in a given activity and complete a particular task. And that is exactly what happens when teachers integrate gamified content; for instance, teachers can employ point scoring based on students executing a task successfully. In effect, it will give them the opportunity to provide feedback and highlight their strengths and weaknesses.

Benefits of Microlearning


1. Improved Class Engagement

Irrespective of the online or traditional in-person education system, microlearning helps to engage students in learning activities. For instance, after teaching a particular topic, such as biomechanics, teachers can conduct quizzes the next day to check if they have engaged with the topic further and determine their understanding levels.

Furthermore, when they utilize multimedia to deliver a lesson, it will increase learners’ interest and curiosity.

2. Boosts Long-term Knowledge Retention

Microlearning content is bite-sized, which makes it appropriate for learners to access them at their convenience, enabling them to master a topic or a skill. Also, given that there is no additional and irrelevant information, learners can focus on specific content, enabling them to retain it for longer.

3. Personalized Learning

Teachers can use the approach to detect common individual issues and develop content that caters to students’ understanding capability.

4. Fulfillment of Student Learning Goals

When students get adequate guidance regarding effective learning mechanisms, it helps to track their progress, identify their central issues, and work on them to fulfil learning goals. ‘

Challenges of Microlearning

It requires time to maintain micro-learning programs.

Microlearning sessions are small units of content, making it easy for students to consume; however, it takes time and effort to create and maintain the learning materials. Also, simply splitting the content is not adequate; one needs to strategically plan microlearning modules to fit the student's learning needs.

Scaling Personalised Content

Determining students' learning gaps and demands is the first priority depending on which teachers can create personalised content. Hence, scaling the content and facilitating the entire process can be exhausting without proper tools like a learning management system.

Lack of Time

Teachers or instructional designers are often preoccupied with important work, so it is challenging to take time to develop microlearning sessions.

The Final Word,

Microlearning is an effective technique that aids students in gaining information conveniently without facing too much at once. Moreover, it helps to motivate them and incorporate self-direct learning and knowledge expansion. It also does not necessarily require them to sit in front of the laptop or computer to initiate or complete a session.

Gaurav Somani Author :

Gaurav Somani,

Academic Consultant

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