Micro-learning is a buzzword in the elearning industry, and for good reason. The way people learn at work, and in general, has shifted and training formats have needed to adapt.

Part of this change includes rising expectations that most workplace training should be able to convey knowledge more quickly and efficiently than the historically accepted, long-form training.

Many training professionals have heard of micro-learning and understand the value of breaking learning material down into concise, organized, easily accessible packets of knowledge for their employees. There are plenty of great statistics supporting micro-learning, including the way it increases knowledge retention, reduces training duration, and allows learners to pace their learning.

We can see the merit of micro-learning in general, but sometimes it is hard to pinpoint where or how to apply it to our learning and development program to make the most impact.

This article will discuss three areas of training where micro-learning can be effectively used in employee education to make a large impact.

What is the difference between micro-learning and macro-learning?

Two large categories that have emerged in online training are macro-learning and micro-learning.

  • Macro-learning is long-form content that is reserved for more in-depth, time-intensive training.

Example: A sales manager blocks out time in their day to take a 60 minute, online leadership course.

  • Micro-learning is short-form content that is split up into small, bite-sized concepts that can be quickly understood and utilized.

Example: A new sales associate needs a refresher on a specific product the company sells. They quickly look up a 2-minute video explaining the product’s features and price.

Now that we have a clearer picture of what micro-learning is, let’s dive in.

Here are 3 areas of training that can be combined with micro-learning to make a huge impact on employee training.

  1. Performance Support
  2. Spaced Learning
  3. Preparation for Formal Training

1. Performance Support

Research shows that if knowledge is not used immediately after being learned, a lot of it is forgotten. And although this fact has been known for a while, businesses still train as if employees understand and internalize all of the information after hearing it for their first time.

This is where performance support comes in. Performance support is training that is implemented on the job when the employee needs it and is motivated to learn it.

This immediate need for quick, concise answers means that micro-learning and performance support go together like peanut butter and jelly.

When employees have access to these concise performance support materials, they can learn quickly, work more efficiently and help prevent other staff from having to stop their work to answer questions.

A well thought out library of content, combined with a performance support tool allows training teams to effectively administer this on-the-job training, and track its effects.

2. Spaced Learning

Spaced learning is based on the concept that knowledge is remembered much more if time elapses and then the training is repeated. When training is first introduced to an employee, allow time to pass and then have them take a refresher course or a course that reflects and builds on the original information.

Spaced learning can be applied to any employee training and is very effective when combined with micro-learning. When creating training, make a few short refresher videos on the same topic that will be assigned in the upcoming weeks. If videos are not preferred, a simple, concise document highlighting the most important information, coupled with a short quiz can be very effective.

3 specific areas where combining spaced learning and micro-learning are particularly effective:

  • Product training
  • Compliance training
  • Onboarding


3. Preparation For Formal Training (pre-training)

An additional, effective way to implement micro-learning is by using it as a way to prepare employees for formal training. If employees are learning new concepts for their first time in an in-person training, you are missing out.

Make in-person training more effective by creating short, micro-learning modules that introduce the formal training topic before the class. This tactic means that training professionals don’t have to spend their precious time going over the basics, they can instead focus on higher level concepts and applications.

A lot of training professionals are finding it challenging to get their employees to engage in pre-training. Although micro-learning helps with this, try to find ways to get creative in your implementation. Communicate with your learners to identify forms of pre-training that engage them the most.

Strategies, best practices, and technology in corporate training are evolving quickly and it can be hard to keep up. An important part of current training and development professionals is to be able to identify which type of training will be the most effective for different topics.

Long-form training still plays an important role in employee education. The areas listed above are a few areas where micro-learning can be combined with, or replace longer-form training content to make a high impact on employee training.

About Knowledge Anywhere

Knowledge Anywhere is an elearning company focused on providing flexible, modern learning and development solutions that enable organizations to harness the power of an engaged, knowledgeable workforce.

Our Learning Management System, Virtual Reality Training, and Course Development services, combined with our experience and customer support enables our users to create a learning and development program that boosts sales and drives company growth.

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