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The Science Behind Microlearning and Why it Works

The Science Behind Microlearning

Microlearning is a teaching and learning approach that involves delivering content in small, bite-sized chunks. It is designed to help learners acquire new knowledge or skills quickly and efficiently by breaking down information into short, focused, and easy-to-digest learning activities.

In microlearning, the content is typically delivered through a range of formats, such as short videos, infographics, quizzes, games, or simulations. The focus is on providing learners with small, targeted pieces of information that can be consumed in a few minutes, making it ideal for busy learners who have limited time.

Microlearning can be used for a variety of learning objectives, such as providing an introduction to a new concept or skill, reinforcing prior learning, providing refresher training, or delivering just-in-time performance support.

The benefits of microlearning include improved engagement, higher retention rates, increased motivation, and enhanced learning outcomes. By delivering content in small, focused chunks, learners can better retain the information and apply it to real-world situations.

Overall, microlearning is a flexible, adaptable, and effective approach to learning that can help organizations achieve their training and development goals by providing learners with the knowledge and skills they need to succeed in their roles.

The Science Behind Microlearning: Why it Works

The science behind microlearning is based on several principles of cognitive psychology, which suggest that people learn best when information is presented in a way that is easy to understand, digest, and retain. Here are some key concepts in the science of microlearning:

Attention Span

People have a limited attention span, and shorter bursts of learning are more effective in keeping learners engaged.

Cognitive Load

The amount of information presented at once can impact the cognitive load of the learner. By breaking down content into smaller, more manageable pieces, the cognitive load is reduced, and learners can process information more easily.

Retrieval Practice

Learning is strengthened when learners are required to recall information they have previously learned. Microlearning allows for repeated retrieval practice, reinforcing the learning and making it more likely to be retained long-term.

Spaced Repetition

Spaced repetition involves reviewing information at intervals, with each review spaced further apart than the previous one. This technique is effective in promoting long-term retention and helps learners to avoid forgetting what they have learned.


Microlearning can be personalized to suit the needs of individual learners. By providing content that is tailored to the learner's interests, needs, and skill level, engagement and motivation can be enhanced.

Microlearning is based on the principle that learning is most effective when presented in small, bite-sized chunks that are easy to process and retain. By leveraging cognitive psychology principles such as attention span, cognitive load, retrieval practice, spaced repetition, and personalization, microlearning can be a powerful tool for improving learning outcomes.

Technologies that Support Microlearning

Here are some technologies that can support microlearning programs:

Learning Management Systems (LMS)

LMS platforms can be used to manage and deliver microlearning content, track learner progress, and assess learning outcomes.

Mobile Learning Apps

Mobile learning apps provide learners with on-demand access to microlearning content and enable them to learn at their own pace and convenience.

Microlearning Authoring Tools

Microlearning authoring tools enable you to create and publish microlearning content quickly and easily, without the need for extensive technical skills.

Video Platforms

Video platforms such as YouTube, Vimeo, or Wistia can be used to host and share microlearning videos.

Interactive Learning Tools

Interactive learning tools such as gamification or simulation software can help to make microlearning content more engaging and effective.

Virtual and Augmented Reality

Virtual and augmented reality technologies can be used to create immersive microlearning experiences that provide learners with hands-on practice and simulation of real-world scenarios.

Artificial Intelligence (AI)

AI technologies such as chatbots or natural language processing can be used to create personalized microlearning experiences that adapt to individual learner needs and preferences.

While there are a growing number of technologies that support microlearning, the key is to select the right tools that align with your specific learning objectives and fits your organization's needs and budget.

Microlearning Best Practices for Employee Training

Here are some best practices for using microlearning for employee training:

  1. Identify learning objectives: Start by identifying the specific learning objectives that you want to achieve. This will help you to focus your microlearning content on the most important topics and ensure that your training is aligned with your business goals.

  2. Keep it short and focused: Microlearning content should be short and focused on a single learning objective. Keep the content to around 5-10 minutes or less to maximize engagement and retention.

  3. Use a variety of formats: Use a variety of formats, such as videos, infographics, quizzes, games, or simulations, to make the training more engaging and effective.

  4. Ensure mobile compatibility: Since microlearning is often consumed on mobile devices, ensure that your content is optimized for mobile viewing and is accessible to all learners.

  5. Provide just-in-time learning: Use microlearning to provide just-in-time learning that can be accessed on-demand, allowing employees to quickly access information when they need it.

  6. Make it interactive: Use interactive elements, such as quizzes, polls, or simulations, to keep learners engaged and provide opportunities for active learning.

  7. Measure learning outcomes: Measure the effectiveness of your microlearning program by tracking learning outcomes and assessing how well learners are retaining the information and applying it to their work.

  8. Personalize the learning experience: Personalize the learning experience by tailoring content to individual learners' needs and skill levels. This can help to increase engagement and motivation.

About LMS Portals

At LMS Portals, we provide our clients and partners with a SaaS-based, multi-tenant learning management system that allows you to launch a dedicated training environment (a portal) for each of your unique audiences.

The system includes an embedded SCORM-compliant course authoring tool that enables most anyone to build engaging courses quickly and easily.

We also offer a complete library of ready-made courses, covering most every aspect of corporate training and employee development.

If you choose to, you can create Learning Paths to deliver courses in a logical progression and add structure to your training program. The system also supports Virtual Instructor-Led Training (VILT) and provides tools for online coaching and social learning.

Together, these features make the LMS Portals platform the ideal solution for your microlearning-based employee training program.

Contact us today to get started or visit our Partner Program pages

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