How Small Can Microlearning Get?

Blog Post Hero

Microlearning: How Small Is Too Small?

Self-led microlearning is a 2020 training trend The Bob Pike Group revealed in January. It’s a trend that will continue to evolve and grow this year in our fast-paced corporate environment. Now more than ever, snack-sized learning options are essential in the workplace. Employees have deadlines to meet, meetings to attend, reports to write—so much to do and not always a lot of time!

When you incorporate self-paced microlearning options to the daily grind, employees are much more likely to be engaged when it is on their own time and accord. But just how small is too small when it comes to microlearning? 5 minutes? 15 minutes? Research has been done on this topic … with some very interesting results!

A recent poll conducted by the Association for Talent Development (ATD) of 144 professionals discovered the answers to two key questions:

What is the maximum length a microlearning session should be?
Answer: 13 minutes maximum

What is the ideal length for microlearning?
Answer: 10 minutes

Further findings by ATD Research showed 59% of microlearning participants found the most effective microlearning session to be more than two minutes but shorter than five minutes. However, they also revealed that about a third of microlearning used in their organization was between 10 to 15 minutes. So what does this mean, exactly? The majority of microlearning events in their companies were longer than they believed to be ideal!

Simply put, there isn’t a magic number when it comes to microlearning length. No matter what, the focus of getting microlearning right is to focus on the content, rather than the length of training. Keeping training material focused and without all the extra “fluff” is important when developing microlearning modules. There are some factors to consider when developing microlearning modules and making them the most beneficial for learners.

3 Amazing Benefits of Microlearning

It’s Engaging

The modern learner is hit with hundreds of distractions a day while completing tasks! So it’s imperative that short bursts of training (even as short as 2-5 minutes) are offered for quick retention before they move onto the next to-do. Bite-size e-learning is a fantastic solution for distracted learners, and it gives them the chance to learn at times when they’re able to offer their full attention.

It’s Very Accessible

To be frank, most of us keep our phones on us at all times. As learning units are compressed, they lend themselves to the portable nature of mobile devices. For instance, employees’ daily commute provides the perfect opportunity for a quick audio training session or podcast. Other lesson designs can come in the form of blogs, games, podcasts, quizzes, slideshows, surveys, infographics, and videos.

It Helps With Knowledge Retention

Repetitious learning is highly effective for many people. Short snippets of learning make it more effective for learners to absorb content repeatedly and therefore easier to retain knowledge. The human brain is not inclined to stay focused for hours and hours on end. It learns better when content is delivered in small segments—which is the heart of microlearning, of course!

Sign up for The Bob Pike Group’s Microlearning workshop to immerse yourself in a creative lab experience—bring an existing program or new content and leave with your first microlearning units 100% ready to launch.