What Is Microlearning?
The Definitive Guide for 2024

Welcome to the definitive guide on microlearning for 2024.

This comprehensive guide will teach you:

Online learning and training programs don’t have to be long, drawn out, and boring. They can be short, entertaining, and highly effective. This guide will show how microlearning is more than just a trend – it’s the foundation for how we digest and retain knowledge.

Let’s get started!


Chapter 1:


In this chapter, I’ll help you gain an understanding of microlearning fundamentals.

So if you’re new to e-learning and microlearning, you’ll really get a lot out of this chapter. We’ll set you up for success.

Together, we’ll cover specific definitions and the who, what, and why of LMS systems. By the time we’re done, you’ll be a pro.

Let’s dig in!

microlearning fundamentals

The World Economic Forum’s latest Future of Jobs Report forecasts that 61% of workers will require retraining between now and 2027. That’s a huge ask of corporate learning and development departments, along with being a large financial and time management burden.

Organizations constantly seek new ways to support employee onboarding, compliance training, retraining, and professional development. Gone are the days when training was limited to classroom lectures and lengthy courses. In today’s fast-paced work environment, the average attention span is dwindling and overbooked schedules have added a new set of challenges to implementing an effective learning and development strategy, regardless of how well planned.

Microlearning has become the go-to training method for a variety of training situations. It delivers short, online course content that is easy to consume and is accessible on-the-go. Microlearning helps employees stay up-to-date with the latest industry trends, while keeping their attention spans engaged.


Microlearning involves short, focused learning modules, which generally last 5 to 15 minutes. Unlike traditional lengthy training courses that span large amounts of content, microlearning courses are designed for quick consumption and typically focus on a single topic or theme.

The short learning sessions allow learners to gain knowledge faster, without being overwhelmed or getting bored. Learners can quickly grasp a concept and complete a short course in one sitting, while being able to easily retain and recall the presented information.


Microlearning builds off the concept of incremental learning. It breaks down large amounts of information into smaller, bite-sized chunks, making it easier to absorb and remember what has been taught. It’s important to note that microlearning means focused – not shorter for the sake of being shorter. It doesn’t mean cutting out key information. It means focusing the information of your course on a specific topic and building the course around only that single concept. 

Several microlearning courses might be bundled together for a more comprehensive training program, but learners are allowed to consume the information, one short course at a time. 

Microlearning builds off these principles of delivering targeted content:

  • Brevity: Each module is incredibly short, focusing on one learning objective.
  • Relevance: Content is specific and directly applicable to the learner’s day-to-day tasks.
  • Engagement: Courses are designed with video, animation, interactivity and gamification to capture and maintain attention.
  • Flexibility: Content can be consumed on-the-go and is accessible across multiple devices.
  • Autonomy: Encourage self-directed learning by giving the learner control over what, when, and how to learn.
Free elearning course for beginners
What is E-learning for Beginners microlearning course from The URL dr.

With microlearning, organizations can create an engaging learner-centric experience that aligns with their business goals and desired outcomes. By using smaller chunks of content, it’s easier to deliver digestible online courses that meet the specific needs of each learner. This helps employees get up-to-speed on new topics quickly and efficiently while allowing them to access training materials anytime, anywhere. 

Want to test drive a free microlearning course?

Seeing is believing.

Take our free micro course on how to plan an e-learning project. You’ll experience firsthand what microlearning is all about. 

How to Plan an Elearning Project Course

Microlearning Isn’t New

This style of training isn’t a new concept. In fact, you’re probably more familiar with microlearning than you realize. It has been subtly present in our day-to-day lives for years. If you’ve ever watched a TED Talk, listened to a history podcast, or YouTube’d a “how-to” video – congrats! You’re already a microlearning pro! 

Ted Talk speaker

Although microlearning as a concept isn’t new, it has transformed a casual training approach into a structured learning strategy for corporate training departments. Traditional training methods no longer meet the needs of the modern, tech-savvy workforce. Microlearning is a product of this shift, acknowledging the need for on-demand, digital, and mobile-optimized learning solutions. 


Microlearning aligns with the demands and habits of today’s learners. Millennials and the upcoming Gen Z workforce are native to the ‘age of information’ and are accustomed to consuming content in short, manageable chunks. Microlearning mirrors the way they prefer to learn and engage with material.


To implement microlearning into corporate training programs effectively, each learning module must be a self-contained unit with a clearly defined objective that contributes to the broader training goals. They need to be specific and unambiguous to ensure effectiveness. 

It is also imperative that an organization supports a learning culture. Communications, policies, schedules, and training goals must be attuned to promote culture of continuous, bite-sized learning.

Chapter 2:


In this chapter, I’m going to discuss the effectiveness of microlearning.
I’ll quote several statistics that speak directly to the use of microlearning in a corporate setting.
We’ll also cover LMS systems and their importance in microlearning.
How effective is microlearning?

The effectiveness of microlearning is rooted in cognitive psychology. It harnesses the principles of chunking, which is the process of breaking down information into smaller pieces. This technique eases the cognitive load on learners, making it easier for them to process and retain information. But what does the data say about its impact?

Statistics highlight the prowess of microlearning over traditional methods. According to a study by the Brandon Hall Group, microlearning can increase knowledge retention by up to 70%. The Aberdeen Group found that microlearning can increase learner engagement by up to 80%.


To fully experience the effectiveness of a microlearning program, organizations must invest in learning management systems (LMS) that simplify management of learning modules, learners’ progress, and analytics data. Without proper tracking and reporting tools, organizations may struggle to identify areas for improvement or measure ROI when it comes to microlearning initiatives. We’ll discuss our recommendations for microlearning LMS systems later in this guide. 

Although microlearning is often more cost-effective than other learning approaches, organizations must ensure they have enough resources to invest in development and maintaining quality, engaging content. The micro courses must be relevant to ensure learner retention of the material. Content must be regularly reviewed and updated to stay on top of recent trends and best practices. Organizations must be able to quickly adapt their microlearning content to respond to rapidly changing environments and markets. 

Chapter 3:


In this chapter, I’m going to discuss microlearning benefits.

To make an informed decision about the use of microlearning in your organization, you need to be aware of the possibilities. From increased engagement to accessibility to cost savings, there are a lot of choices for you to consider.

By the end of this chapter, you’ll be able to identify, compare, and measure various microlearning features that will benefit your organization.

microlearning benefits

The benefits of microlearning are endless. Due to the efficiency and effectiveness of this quick style of on-demand learning, microlearning offers numerous benefits to an organization and its employees. Here are nine key benefits of microlearning:


Now that we’ve gone over some of the microlearning benefits, we’ll discuss how and when to use microlearning.


Chapter 4:


In this chapter, I’ll examine the scenarios where microlearning is most successful.

By the end of this chapter, you’ll know how to spot opportunities in your enterprise organization or small business for microlearning.

How and when to use microlearning

Microlearning isn’t a panacea for all your training woes. It shines brightest under specific circumstances, so knowing when to deploy microlearning modules and programs is key.

Onboarding New Hires

New hires are like sponges, ready to soak up knowledge, but drown them with hours-long lectures, and they’ll saturate and spill valuable learning. For the onboarding process, microlearning ensures the welcome isn’t just warm, it’s impactful.

The Performance Support Paradigm

In the heat of work, employees often encounter challenges that require immediate knowledge. This is the sweet spot of microlearning — when a quick explainer video or a gamified challenge provides on-the-spot solutions without pulling staff away from their primary tasks.

Nurturing Skills Over Time

Complex skills, particularly soft skills like leadership or time management, develop through continued practice and learning. Offering periodic microlearning nuggets keeps these skills at the forefront of employees’ minds and encourages gradual mastery.

Answering Frequently Asked Questions

Whether it’s questions that are repeatedly asked in the office, through customer service lines, or by sales..if you’ve heard it more than a handful of times, it might be time to make a micro course. Microlearning courses can easily teach the answers to frequently asked questions and eliminate key personnel from the repetitive ask of answering them over and over again. 

Part of a Larger Training Program

Bundling several microlearning courses together as part of a larger training program can use the benefits of bite-sized learning modules, while still covering larger, more complex topics. 


Chapter 5:


In this chapter, I’ll examine strategies and planning guides for creating micro courses and implementing microlearning as part of a corporate L&D strategy.

Big businesses have training requirements that are very different than educational institutions and small business. 

By the end of this chapter, you’ll be able to plan out your microlearning strategies for the year and beyond. You’ll know how to craft content and keep your learners engaged.

microlearning strategies

Microlearning sounds great and you’re ready to start making micro courses left and right, but how do you decide what topics are suitable for microlearning? Consider these factors:

  • Relevance and Urgency: Microlearning should focus on what’s most pertinent and immediately applicable. Identify topics within your organization that require immediate action or understanding, and which align with business goals.
  • Performance Outcomes: Each microlearning nugget should have a clear performance-based objective. Map these objectives to your business metrics.
  • Complexity: Avoid overwhelming learners with complex subjects. Aim for bite-sized content that covers a specific element of a broader concept.
  • Scalability: Ensure that the topics you select allow for easy updates and can be scalable across various roles and departments.


To design content that resonates with your learners, you need to understand your audience. Before you create a single video or write a paragraph of content, understand the learning styles and preferences of your audience. 

Remember to keep your course content engaging and entertaining. Use video, animation, interactivity, gamification, stories, and scenarios to keep learners hooked. Knowledge checks and quizzes are another way you can engage your learners. You’ll also want to make sure your content contributes to achieving your specific learning goals and outcomes


To illustrate the profound impact microlearning can have, we’ll look at some real-life success stories.


Nonprofit Educates High School Students on the Environment

The Environmental Defense Fund used a series of micro courses to teach high school students about pollution, chemicals in beauty products, and the environment. Read the full case study about EDF.


Global Tech Firm Boosts Sales with Bite-Sized Training

A leading technology company introduced microlearning segments for its sales team, focusing on new product features and sales techniques. The concise, focused approach led to an 18% increase in product knowledge and a 13% rise in sales performance.


Cutting-Edge Retailer Improves Customer Service with Short Modules

A forward-thinking retailer used microlearning to train its customer service representatives on handling various client scenarios. The result? A 20% improvement in customer satisfaction due to more informed and confident staff.


Compliance Training Made Easy for a Financial Institution

Ensuring legal compliance is a significant aspect of corporate training, often prone to long, arduous learning modules. However, a financial institute implemented microlearning for compliance training and experienced a 25% reduction in the time required to complete training, with increased retention and application of learned principles.


For corporate trainers and HR professionals looking to integrate microlearning into their existing e-learning framework, start by:

  1. Evaluating your current training programs to pinpoint areas where microlearning could enhance or supplement existing methods.
  2. Creating a microlearning framework that considers the five senses, content selection, and delivery methods.
  3. Developing micro-courses or modules that align with the identified training needs and business objectives.
  4. Investing in technology that supports microlearning, such as mobile-friendly LMS platforms.
  5. Training your internal team or partnering with experts to design, develop, and deploy microlearning content that engages and educates your workforce.

Your microlearning strategy must be a dynamic and evolving part of your L&D initiatives. By staying committed to analyzing the effectiveness of your efforts and making adjustments as needed, you can ensure that microlearning remains a critical lever for driving growth and development within your organization.

Chapter 6:


In this chapter, I’ll share my favorite best practices for creating microlearning micro courses and utilizing them in your organization.
By the end of this chapter, you’ll have an actionable list of key points that you can use as your start your microlearning journey. 
microlearning best practices

Many microlearning best practices mirror those in traditional e-learning course creation. Let’s take a look at sixteen best practices to keep in mind as you develop your microlearning courses.


Bonus Chapter 7:


Welcome to the first bonus chapter. In this chapter, I’ll give you a list of what to look for in a learning management system (LMS). 
At the end of this chapter, I’ll also give you my recommendation for the best LMS for microlearning. 
Best LMS for microlearning

What is the best learning management system (LMS) for your microlearning courses? There are a lot to choose from, but here are the top 20 things to look for in an LMS:



Don’t miss our video “Top 20 Things to Look for in a Learning Management System (LMS)” for more information on what you want to consider when purchasing and LMS system.

The URL dr recommends LearnWorlds for a learning management systems especially for microlearning. It provides educational content creators with a powerful set of tools and features to create interactive, engaging learning experiences for their students. Its modern design allows for easy customization and personalization, making it easier than ever to deliver unique learning experiences tailored to your audience. 

In fact, LearnWorlds has all twenty of our things to look for in an LMS system. Here’s more information about why we think LearnWorlds is the best LMS for course creators and organizations.



In this second bonus chapter, I’ll give you the professional secrets on how to make money with LMS systems.
This chapter is bonus material, so click the button below to download your copy as a PDF.
Microlearning summary

In conclusion, microlearning is a game-changer in the field of corporate training. By delivering focused, bite-sized pieces of information that can be consumed quickly and easily, organizations can create more engaging, cost-effective, and impactful learning experiences. The evidence is clear; microlearning is not a trend but a revolution in how we approach workforce development. It’s time to consider how this strategy can empower your team and propel your organization forward.

Ready to join the microlearning revolution but not sure where to start? The URL dr offers an off-the-shelf library of 700+ micro courses in 32 business soft skill categories. KnowledgeBANK is a turnkey solution for any organization interested in microlearning. We offer customized LMS systems complete with the micro courses that fit your training needs, for one affordable price. Contact us to learn how we can help you incorporate microlearning into your corporate training strategy today.

cultural sensitivity microlearning course

Does your team need
a little training?

(or maybe a lot)

Try KnowledgeBANK free for 30 days

700+ micro courses
corporate training, onboarding, compliance, etiquette
personal growth, stress management, customer service

Learn a new skill or refresh an old one in less than 15 minutes.
No credit card needed. No strings attached.
kim merritt instructional designer the url dr elearning company

Kim Merritt

The URL dr

"Can I lend a hand?"

Developing e-learning courses and teaching is a passion. From curriculum development and instructional design, to video and animation, my team and I specialize in helping you tell a story, teach a process, and empower your audience with knowledge. We’re here to work with you and bring your material to life.

We’ll make you look fabulous!

The URL dr

NSBA | Freelancers Union Member
© 2024, The URL dr – Chapel Hill, NC – All Rights Reserved

Take our free course

How to Plan an E-learning Course

Learn how to set goals and objectives, create a development plan, establish a budget, and keep your e-learning project on track.

Stressed about your e-learning course?

Let's talk

My team and I can handle all your e-learning and LMS needs, making the process of launching a course an enjoyable and easy experience. We’re here to help. Let’s discuss your project. 

Kim Merritt, The URL dr