Don’t be fooled by the small size of microlearning. It is a giant in L&D. 

Its uses range from K-12, to continuing education, to corporate training. Today, we’ll focus on the last.

If your organization doesn’t employ a micro approach to training and development, you’re leaving low costs and learner retention on the table.

So why is microlearning essential for training? Take a look.

What Does Microlearning Mean?

Before we dive in, let’s take a micro look at what microlearning means.

You get most of the information you need from the word itself. Microlearning is small. Really small, even.

The basic idea is to break learning down into smaller, more digestible chunks. In this format, your learners will engage more with your educational material, and remember more too.

There are different schools of thought regarding how long it should be. As a rule of thumb, most microlearning materials are under 10 minutes in length.

As you craft micro courseware, always keep your macro learning goals in mind. The right combination of short and long-form materials will get your LMS users learning like never before.

Reduced Costs

Microlearning materials are generally cheaper put together than long-form content.

When you begin taking a micro approach to education, you’ll realize something: many learning materials are bloated. There is simply no reason to make your content longer than it needs to be.

As you craft courseware, ask yourself: is this as succinct as it can possibly be? Before long, you’ll be pumping out content in no time.

Less time spent developing microlearning materials means less money spent, too. Reduction in development costs is one of the best reasons to go micro. But it doesn’t end there.

Better Engagement

Not only will you spend less money crafting courseware with microlearning; your learners will be more likely to engage with it, too.

There are a few factors contributing to this. Let’s take a look at the big ones.

Appeal to Millennials

Millennials and Generation Z make up nearly half of the American workforce. Your learning materials need to accommodate their preference for shorter content in the form of microlearning.

Most younger workers have grown up barraged by brief bursts of video, audio, and text. To stay ahead in the competition for their attention and engagement, you’ll need to adopt a micro approach.


Now more than ever, we seem to spend the majority of our time staring at a computer screen. We relish the chance to throw some variety into the mix—even if it’s only the chance to look at a smaller screen.

Yes, we’re talking about mobile functionality. While there’s no reason your learners can’t enjoy microlearning on a computer, a big part of the appeal is the chance to learn on a cell phone.

Give your learners the chance to spice up their routine with some mobile-enabled educational content.

Ease of Access

While we’re on the topic of mobile functionality, let’s not forget about convenience.

Our lives are busier and more fragmented than ever before. On a hectic training schedule, it can be tough to dedicate substantial time to e-learning.

But squeezing in microlearning sessions is easy. When your learners have the option of 5-minute microsessions on the go, you’ll see a big boost in engagement.

A Change of Pace

Imagine that you’re a university student. But to prepare for your finals, your only resource is a series of hour-long lectures. No supplemental readings, videos, or study groups. Nothing else.

This isn’t a perfect analogy, but it gives you a sense of what you do to your learners when you rely exclusively on macrolearning.

Give new members a change of pace. Incorporate shorter learning materials that they can engage with in brief moments of downtime.

Longer Retention

The science is clear: microlearning boosts knowledge retention.

Want some proof?  This 2018 study found an 18% improvement in knowledge retained by students taught with microlearning principles. Other sources have found much higher figures—up to 80%. You can’t argue with those numbers.

In some ways, this is a product of increased learner engagement. The more your learners interact with the material, the more knowledge they’ll retain.

Retention puts the “learning” in e-learning. Without it, the time you spend engaging with an LMS goes to waste.

Return on Investment

All of this is to say: the more you implement microlearning in training, the better your ROI will be.

Why? It’s simple.

You’ll spend less time and money creating courseware. This means less invested.

Your learners will remember more information. There’s your return.

Training is expensive, but essential to the success of your organization. We have good news. You don’t need to spend more to see more return on your L&D initiatives. You just need to spend smartly.

It takes a lot more than just a micro approach to make effective training. But it should form an indispensable part of your e-learning toolkit.

Need specific ideas for going micro in your LMS? Our guide will get your gears turning.

Apply Microlearning to Training with Elevate LMS

Hundreds of nonprofits and associations trust our award-winning LMS to power their education strategies. Yours could be next.  

Our learning management system makes it easy to implement microlearning and bring your training to new levels of efficiency and efficacy.

Let Elevate be your organization’s all-in-one learning platform. Combine formal and informal material in the form of videos, evaluations, and integrated events for a training strategy that works.

If you’d like to learn more about Elevate, get in touch with Meghan Gowen at Keep up with us on Twitter and LinkedIn.