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24 Types Of Microlearning Content For Formal And Informal Learning In The Workplace

April 10, 2018 | By Asha Pandey


15 Types Of Microlearning For Formal And Informal Learning In The Workplace

What Is Microlearning?

As the name suggests, it is a short, focused training. It typically has a run length of 2-5 mins, generally not exceeding 7 mins. Although it is short, it is designed to meet a specific learning outcome.

Microlearning is the trend of the season, and for good reason. Today, it is an important component of formal and informal training.

We live in a world of distractions, and we have limited attention span. Alongside high pressure at work (often with long hours that compete with our personal time), we need to find the time and do justice to training. In the last 2-3 years, microlearning has emerged as an effective approach that L&D teams can use to address some of these challenges.

In this article, I share 24 types of microlearning that you can use for formal and informal learning.

Differences Between Microlearning and Traditional Training

In the evolving landscape of corporate training, understanding the distinctions between microlearning and traditional training methods is essential. While both approaches have their unique advantages, they cater to different learning needs and preferences. This section delves into the core differences between these two training methodologies, highlighting their distinct features to help organizations make informed decisions about their training strategies.

  1. Duration and Depth of Content

    Microlearning is characterized by its brief duration, typically lasting between 2 to 7 minutes. It focuses on a single, specific learning objective or skill, providing concise and easily digestible information. This approach is ideal for quick comprehension and immediate application of knowledge. In contrast, traditional training sessions are more extensive, often lasting several hours or spanning across multiple days. They cover a broad range of topics or skills in depth, providing comprehensive and detailed content delivery.

  2. Delivery Method

    The delivery method of microlearning is predominantly digital, utilizing platforms such as mobile apps, videos, or interactive e-books. This format offers accessibility at any time and place, fitting seamlessly into the learner’s schedule. On the other hand, traditional training often takes place in a classroom setting, requiring learners to adhere to a scheduled time and participate in group sessions, either in person or through extended virtual meetings.

  1. Learner Engagement and Participation

    Microlearning encourages active learner participation through interactive elements like quizzes or short tasks. It is tailored for individual learning, allowing learners to progress at their own pace. In contrast, traditional training involves more passive learning, with participants primarily listening or observing. Interaction is often limited to discussions or group activities during the training session.

  2. Customization and Flexibility

    Microlearning stands out for its high level of customization and flexibility. It can be easily tailored to address specific needs or knowledge gaps of learners. Additionally, microlearning content can be swiftly updated or modified to remain relevant and up-to-date. Conversely, traditional training is less flexible in terms of content updates and customization. It usually follows a pre-defined curriculum that encompasses a wide range of topics, making it less adaptable to individual learner needs.

  3. Assessment and Feedback

    In microlearning, immediate feedback is commonly provided following quizzes or interactive sessions, allowing for quick assessment of understanding and performance. This approach makes it easier to track individual progress. On the other hand, in traditional training, feedback and assessment are typically provided at the end of a session or course. This may include formal tests or evaluations to gauge overall comprehension and learning outcomes.

  4. Cost and Resource Implication

    Microlearning is generally more cost-effective, requiring fewer resources for its development and delivery. It reduces the need for physical materials and extensive instructor time, making it a more economical choice. In comparison, traditional training is often more resource-intensive. It involves costs associated with materials, venue, and instructors, and may incur additional expenses like travel and accommodation for in-person sessions.

Understanding these differences is crucial for organizations to align their training strategies with their specific goals and the needs of their employees. By recognizing the strengths and limitations of each approach, companies can create a more dynamic and effective learning environment.

Key Attributes of Microlearning Content:

  • Versatile Device Compatibility:

    Designed to be accessible across multiple devices, microlearning content offers flexibility, enabling learners to engage with the material on their preferred platforms.

  • Engagement with Rich Media:

    Incorporates a variety of rich media formats, including videos, interactive graphics, and animations, to enhance learner engagement and comprehension.

  • Action-Oriented Learning:

    Emphasizes practical application, focusing on enabling learners to directly apply their knowledge and skills in real-world scenarios or job-related tasks, thereby bridging the gap between learning and doing.

What Is Not Microlearning?

Microlearning isn’t simply about breaking down a larger eLearning course into smaller pieces. It’s a deliberate and specialized approach, with each segment meticulously tailored to achieve a specific learning objective. Importantly, microlearning aims to do more than just present information; it encourages learners to actively apply what they’ve learned. Thus, microlearning stands apart in its ability to trigger actionable results, moving beyond the conventional format of simply delivering content in bite-sized portions.

How to Leverage Microlearning in the Workplace?

Microlearning, characterized by its concise and targeted nature, is adaptable for various learning settings, both formal and informal. It’s accessible on mobile devices, offering learners the flexibility to engage with content conveniently.

  1. Enhancing Formal Training

    • Traditional eLearning or macrolearning courses can be transformed into microlearning modules, creating a cohesive learning path optimized for mobile learning. This flexibility enables learners to engage with the content at their own pace, using their preferred devices.
  2. Complementing Formal Training

    • Microlearning can act as a supplementary tool in formal training settings.
      • It serves as a reinforcement tool, providing additional support to the primary training.
      • It can be structured as a series of micro quizzes, adding an element of challenge and assessment.
      • It’s also ideal for supporting instructor-led training, including pre- or post-workshop materials and practice sessions.
  1. As Performance Support Tools (PSTs)

    • Microlearning is highly effective as a performance support tool. PSTs, integrated into the learner’s workflow, offer just-in-time learning aids. These tools are designed to provide immediate assistance, whether as a quick reference, a step-by-step guide, or a checklist, ensuring quality and efficiency in task execution. This approach ensures that microlearning meets specific, immediate learning needs effectively.
  2. Facilitating Informal Learning

    • Microlearning is exceptionally versatile in promoting informal learning Its short, engaging format is perfect for self-directed learning, allowing individuals to explore topics of personal interest or to enhance their skills outside of formal training structures. This can include accessing microlearning content during breaks, commuting, or in any informal setting. The convenience and accessibility of microlearning make it ideal for continuous, lifelong learning and personal development.

24 Types Of Microlearning Content That You Can Leverage

  1. Infographics

    • Format: Visual representations of information using graphics and minimal text.
    • Microlearning Application: Ideal for summarizing complex data or concepts in an easily digestible format.
    • Best Fit: Useful in scenarios requiring quick reference or reinforcement of key ideas.
  2. Interactive Infographics

    • Format: Infographics enhanced with interactive elements like clickable areas or pop-ups.
    • Microlearning Application: Offers deeper engagement by allowing learners to explore layered information.
    • Best Fit: Effective in detailed explorations of topics without overwhelming the learner.
  3. PDFs

    • Format: Portable document format for text and images, easily accessible on various devices.
    • Microlearning Application: Convey specific information in a concise, easily distributable format.
    • Best Fit: Suitable for manuals, guides, or reference materials in micro-sessions.
  4. Interactive PDFs

    • Format: Enhanced PDFs with clickable elements, links, or embedded multimedia.
    • Microlearning Application: Allows for more engaging and dynamic content presentation than standard PDFs.
    • Best Fit: Ideal for detailed content that requires interactive exploration.
  5. eBooks

    • Format: Digital books with text, images, and sometimes interactive features.
    • Microlearning Application: Presents comprehensive content in a segmented, easy-to-consume manner.
    • Best Fit: Great for in-depth learning that can be accessed in segments.
  6. Flipbooks

    • Format: Digital versions of books with a page-flipping effect, often multimedia-rich.
    • Microlearning Application: Makes learning more engaging with an interactive, book-like experience.
    • Best Fit: Useful for storytelling or scenarios where sequential learning is beneficial.
  7. Interactive Timeline

    • Format: Visual representation of events in chronological order with interactive elements.
    • Microlearning Application: Helps learners explore events or processes over time in an engaging way.
    • Best Fit: Excellent for historical data, project timelines, or process evolution.
  8. Interactive Slider

    • Format: A sliding mechanism to compare images, data, or texts side by side.
    • Microlearning Application: Engages learners in comparing and contrasting different scenarios or states.
    • Best Fit: Suitable for before-and-after scenarios or demonstrating change over time.
  9. Scrollable Web Pages

    • Format: Web pages designed for vertical scrolling, often rich in multimedia.
    • Microlearning Application: Offers a continuous, engaging journey through content in a single scroll.
    • Best Fit: Effective for storytelling or when presenting a series of interconnected ideas.
  10. Blogs

    • Format: Informal, conversational style web articles.
    • Microlearning Application: Delivers focused content on a specific topic in a relatable manner.
    • Best Fit: Ideal for sharing insights, tips, or updates in a less formal setting.
  11. Animated Videos

    • Format: Short videos using animations to explain concepts.
    • Microlearning Application: Visual and auditory engagement to simplify complex ideas.
    • Best Fit: Great for explaining abstract concepts or processes visually.
  12. Whiteboard Animation Videos

    • Format: Animation style that simulates drawing on a whiteboard.
    • Microlearning Application: Visually engaging method to explain ideas with narration.
    • Best Fit: Effective for tutorials or storytelling with a personal touch.
  13. Kinetic Text-Based Animation Videos

    • Format: Animation focusing on moving text, often accompanied by sound effects.
    • Microlearning Application: Uses text motion to emphasize and reinforce key messages.
    • Best Fit: Suitable for reinforcing short, impactful messages or quotes.
  14. Explainer Videos

    • Format: Short, focused videos that explain a specific concept or idea.
    • Microlearning Application: Quickly introduces and clarifies topics in an engaging way.
    • Best Fit: Ideal for introducing new concepts or products.
  15. Interactive Videos

    • Format: Microlearning videos with interactive elements like quizzes or clickable hotspots.
    • Microlearning Application: Enhances traditional video learning with interactive components.
    • Best Fit: Best used in training requiring active learner participation and decision-making.
  16. Expert Videos

    • Format: Specialized topics where expert opinion adds significant value.
  17. Recorded Webinars

    • Format: Recorded sessions of live webinars available for later viewing.
    • Microlearning Application: Offers in-depth exploration of topics accessible at the learner’s convenience.
    • Best Fit: Effective for comprehensive learning sessions that require revisiting.
  18. Audio Books/Podcasts

    • Format: Audio recordings featuring narrated content, discussions, or expert insights.
    • Microlearning Application: Ideal for delivering educational content in an auditory format, facilitating learning while multitasking.
    • Best Fit: Perfect for scenarios where visual engagement is not feasible, like commuting or exercising.
  19. Interactive Parallax-Based Scrolling

    • Format: Web-based learning approach using parallax scrolling effects to create a dynamic, interactive experience.
    • Microlearning Application: Engages learners through a visually rich and interactive journey, often supplemented with quizzes and interactions.
    • Best Fit: Suitable for storytelling or for topics where a visual journey enhances understanding.
  20. Mobile Apps

    • Format: Applications designed for mobile devices, offering a range of interactive learning experiences.
    • Microlearning Application: Provides accessible learning on-the-go, with features for both online and offline engagement.
    • Best Fit: Ideal for learners needing flexibility and access to learning resources anytime, anywhere.
  21. Micro Games

    • Format: Short, game-based learning experiences often with interactive and engaging elements.
    • Microlearning Application: Used to reinforce learning through challenges, quizzes, and interactive scenarios.
    • Best Fit: Great for learners who benefit from a gamified approach, enhancing engagement and retention.
  22. Complex Branching Scenarios

    • Format: Learning scenarios where choices lead to different outcomes or branches in the learning path.
    • Microlearning Application: Simulates real-life situations, allowing learners to practice decision-making and problem-solving.
    • Best Fit: Effective for training in areas requiring critical thinking and application of knowledge.
  23. Virtual Reality (VR)

    • Format: Immersive learning experience using VR technology to simulate real-world environments.
    • Microlearning Application: Offers hands-on, experiential learning in a controlled, virtual setting.
    • Best Fit: Ideal for complex skill training where real-life practice is impractical or risky.
  24. Online Reviews and Surveys

    • Format: Digital tools for collecting feedback, opinions, or assessments through questionnaires or surveys.
    • Microlearning Application: Can be used as a reflective learning tool or to gather learner insights for personalized learning paths.
    • Best Fit: Suitable for evaluating learning effectiveness, gathering learner feedback, or as part of a blended learning strategy.

I hope this article provides you with ample choices to select microlearning types that would work in your organization for both formal and informal learning.

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Asha Pandey
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