By Corporate English Solutions

05 July 2022 - 11:04

African businessman wearing headphones and studing online


Microlearning is an engaging, personalised and cost-effective way of upskilling teams across all industries. We share five tips for making microlearning a successful part of your overall Learning & Development strategy. 


Reading time: 5 minutes 

Today’s employees say they can only spend 1% of their workweek on training and development [1]. And according to Axonify’s 2018 State of Workplace Training Study[2]:

  • “93% want training that is easy to complete/understand 
  • 91% want training that is personalised and relevant; and 
  • 90% want training that is engaging and fun.” 

This presents both opportunities and challenges for L&D and HR teams. How to develop training that engages employees enough to take time out of their busy schedules? 

Microlearning may be the ideal solution as it comes with valuable benefits.  

What is microlearning? 

Carla Torgerson, a pioneer in the microlearning space defines it as “a piece of learning content that can be consumed in no more than five minutes.” It can: 

  • be easily integrated into the flow of everyday work 
  • allow learners to personalise their learning and receive the training when they need  
  • be developed with limited budget and resources 
  • motivate teams to complete learning faster and start applying it to the workplace. 

Sound too good to be true? Read on to discover five tips for developing and implementing microlearning that engages your employees.   

 1. Space out learning content 

Did you know that people forget about 50% of new information within one hour, and it increases to 90% within a week? That’s why it is better to design content that can be learned in multiple, spaced-out sessions. This approach is also referred to as spaced repetition. 

Price Kerfoot, a doctor and associate professor of surgery at Harvard Medical School, showed that appropriate spacing of learning content can increase short-term knowledge recall by up to 50%.  

Organisations can use two microlearning solutions to maximise retention and recall of information: 

  • Uniform approach: presenting information in equally spaced recurring sessions. For example, learning over a 20-minute lunch, every two weeks.  
  • Expanding schedule: the interval between learning sessions becomes increasingly longer over the course of the learning period to promote memory recall.  For example, refresher product trainings after an initial training.   

 2. Create a customised library of content 

You can create microlearning pathways even with limited time, budget and resources by curating content from various sources or by commissioning customised content. Create a library of short, targeted content that learners can easily access when they need it. This can include articles, research, case studies, podcasts, videos and self-access modular training. Learning and development teams can also use this bank of resources to reinforce key concepts in pre-and post-course learning. 

Why not use the subject-matter experts within your organisation to share their expertise? Carla Torgerson refers to this as ‘crowdsourcing’ learning content. It allows an organisation to develop more personal and relevant training programmes and engages its employees to be part of the learning process. Crowdsourcing content also tends to work well for millennials who are eager to contribute to the organisation and advance in their role.   

  3. Make your content media rich 

Our brains are hardwired to quickly take in and process visual information [2]. So, make sure your microlearning solutions are visual and interactive. 

You can create more engaging and memorable microlearning training content by combining rich media formats. Consider combining these five types of media: 

  • text-based communication 
  • audio, including podcasts, music and sound effects 
  • video 
  • infographics, graphs and charts 
  • animation 

Also, try incorporating gamification to increase participation. Through short situation-based simulations, learners have to make many decisions, often multiple choice. They can earn scores, points, or rewards, and receive instant feedback on their performance and progress increasing skills and confidence. It’s a fun and memorable way of learning. 

Visually interactive and engaging microlearning content ensures learners remember the content and apply it in the workplace.  

  4. Contextualise microlearning content to meet workplace needs 

If you want your microlearning content to be even more useful, make sure you contextualise it. Design training resources that deal with real workplace challenges and make it easy to access during the workday.  

For example, let’s say a sales executive has a particularly difficult time with a client. Accessing helpful content such as an article, video or podcast can help to reflect on the situation and get advice on the best way to handle similar situations in the future. Managers can also suggest content when coaching employees or during regular performance management conversations. This can be more effective than waiting for a longer training programme. 

As J.D. Dillon, the chief learning architect at the microlearning platform company Axonify, argues: 

“To be effective, microlearning must fit naturally into the daily workflow, engage employees in voluntary participation…and ultimately drive behaviours that impact specific business results.”   

5. Adopt the best practices of social learning 

About 80% of employees admit to using social media at work. So why not adopt the most engaging aspects of social media to include a social learning strategy?  

Some ideas include: 

  • using TikTok and YouTube channels to upload bite-sized training videos  
  • creating forums where learners can share updates, ideas, and comment on each other’s progress 
  • ensuring content is accessible on mobile devices, so training is available when they’re on the go 
  • engaging employees to share opinions on microlearning training content through the use of emojis, likes, shares. 

 Making microlearning social allows you to create on-demand, engaging and fun content in formats that most employees, particularly millennials, enjoy. It also creates a sense of belonging within the learning community.  

Things to remember 

To sum up, a successful microlearning strategy allows employees to quickly get the training they need, when they need it. And when it is targeted, it can improve learning and job performance in a short time. 

However, microlearning is not a cure for all learning design. Make sure it meets your organisation’s needs and complements your overall L&D strategy. 

Find out more about how to drive employee training engagement by reading our blogs: 


Find out how our approach and learning methods can help your business teams 

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[1] Torgerson, Carla. 2016. The Microlearning Guide to Microlearning. 

[2] Jenkins, Jaymie. 2015.Why Rich Media Matters for Learning and Development.