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The benefits and opportunities of small learning units


Microlearning has become a key strategy in professional development, especially for companies seeking efficient and effective training methods. These compact learning units are ideally suited for delivering knowledge quickly and targetedly without disrupting the workday. In this article, we will delve deeply into the benefits that microlearning specifically offers for corporate training. Supported by expert opinions and case studies, we will explore how exactly microlearning is implemented in practice and the measurable benefits it brings.

Whether you are an HR manager, corporate leader, or training coordinator, the insights and examples presented here are designed to help you recognize and harness the potential of microlearning for your organization. By focusing on practical implementation and overcoming challenges, we offer not just theoretical knowledge but also applicable solutions and strategies for successful integration of microlearning into your training programs. Let's discover together how this innovative learning method can revolutionize the way we learn and teach.


What is microlearning?

Microlearning is an educational approach that breaks down learning content into small, specifically focused learning units. These units are typically short, often between two to five minutes in length, and aim to efficiently convey a precise, narrowly defined learning objective. The approach is based on the idea that shorter, targeted learning sessions can better maintain attention and facilitate the retention and understanding of the content. Microlearning allows learners to acquire knowledge at their own pace and often through mobile platforms, making it ideal for the modern, fast-paced work environment. Due to the modularity of microlearning, learning modules can be easily updated or expanded to meet new requirements or to provide deeper knowledge in specific areas.


    Features of microlearning

    • Short learning units: Typically, microlearning learning units last between two and five minutes
    • Focused content: Each unit concentrates on a specific, narrowly defined learning objective
    • High flexibility: learners can access the content anytime and anywhere, ideally via mobile devices
    • Modular structure: content is divided into small, self-contained modules that function independently of each other
    • repeatability: the brevity and independence of the modules makes it easy to repeat content as required
    • quick updatability: modules can be easily updated or expanded to respond to new information or changing requirements
    • interactive elements: Learning units are enriched with interactive elements such as quizzes and short tasks to increase engagement
    • multimedia use: use of videos, graphics and audio to increase comprehension and interest
    • Self-directed learning: Promotes learner responsibility through self-directed learning
    • Efficient knowledge transfer: Targeted information transfer to improve learning retention and efficiency

    Differences between macro- and microlearning

    1. Learning to use Adobe Photoshop.
    2. Being able to use the new project management software.
    3. Being familiar with German data protection regulations.
    4. Completing an onboarding process at the new workplace.
    1. Brightening an image in Photoshop
    2. Creating a new task in the project management software, recording progress, assigning project files.
    3. What is personal data? What data protection issues do you need to consider? Who is responsible for data protection?
    4. Take a virtual tour of the canteen, photocopying room, and quiet rooms.

    Benefits of microlearning

    Microlearning brings many benefits—for learners and for companies. Compared with macrolearning, employees find that microlearning makes everyday life easier, supports them by providing specific knowledge in the workplace, and also increases their value to the company. And at the same time, microlearning enables new employees who arrive at the company to work even more effectively and take on new tasks quickly, without putting too much strain on working hours by having to spend time learning. The interests of companies and employees thus go hand in hand.

    However, in order to take full advantage of the numerous benefits of microlearning, it is important that you check whether the content you wish to communicate is in fact suitable.



    We are best able to retain and retrieve knowledge when we have learned it in small bites and then revised and applied it over and over again.

    Relevant knowledge when you need it

    The short learning units, which can be accessed on the move at any time, allow learners to get started quickly—when they need to know something or at a suitable time for them.

    Solution-focused and practical

    Microlearning is the best way of communicating content when a practical solution is needed within a short time. Learners can apply what they have learned immediately.

    Saves time and money

    Microlearning not only saves time for the learners themselves, but also for your company: Practical knowledge can be conveyed in a short time; units can be adapted to employee’s precise knowledge levels.


    Small learning units are ideal for integrating into everyday routines and make it possible to learn any time and anywhere—on the train to work, during coffee breaks, or in the evening while dinner is in the oven.


    Microlearning can be easily combined with other digital or analog learning formats to create an effective learning journey. It allows you to prepare or review complex seminars, for example, which in turn makes it easier for learners to apply such knowledge, thus improving learning outcomes.

    Quick to create

    In contrast to broader online courses, you can quickly create and roll out small units of knowledge, thus reducing internal development time.


    Subdividing a big learning objective into smaller units means that with the right authoring tool you always have the option to recycle individual modules and integrate them into new courses.


    Forms of microlearning

    Microlearning can be designed in a variety of formats that are geared to the specific learning needs of users and utilize the technological capabilities of modern education systems. Here are some of the most popular and effective forms of microlearning that can be used in corporate environments and beyond:



    Short video clips are one of the most widely used forms of microlearning.These videos, usually between 1 and 3 minutes long, provide visual and auditory information that allows learners to quickly grasp complex topics. Videos are particularly effective for demonstrating processes or illustrating concepts that are difficult to convey in text form.


    Interactive online courses

    Interactive online courses offer learners the opportunity to be actively involved in the learning process through activities such as drag-and-drop tasks, interactive diagrams or simulation exercises. This type of microlearning not only encourages engagement, but also improves comprehension and retention through hands-on exercises.



    Infographics are effective for presenting statistical data, processes or correlations in a visually appealing and easily digestible form. They are ideal for providing a quick overview and can help to reduce complex information to simple pictograms and short blocks of text.


    Quizzes and self-tests

    Short quizzes or self-tests are excellent tools for microlearning as they give learners immediate feedback and help to consolidate what they have learned. They can be used as stand-alone learning units or at the end of other microlearning modules to test knowledge and reinforce long-term memory.


    Podcasts and audios

    Audio-based learning is ideal for learners who are on the go. Podcasts or short audio files that convey key concepts and instructions can be listened to while driving to work or during breaks. This form of microlearning is particularly useful for imparting narrative knowledge or expert interviews.


    Text-based learning units

    Short texts, such as summaries or articles, are also part of microlearning. They are particularly useful for providing quick reference information or for providing additional knowledge to visual or interactive modules.


    Digital flashcards

    Digital flashcards can be used to repeat key terms, definitions or processes. They are easy to create and use and provide an effective way to reinforce knowledge through regular repetition.


    Gamified elements

    Gamification is the use of game-like elements in a non-game context, such as learning. Microlearning units that include point systems, progress bars or challenges can increase motivation and make learning an entertaining experience.



    Why Microlearning is Ideal for Corporate Training

    Microlearning breaks down complex information into short, manageable segments that can be completed in just a few minutes. This brevity means that employees can engage in training sessions without significant disruption to their daily tasks—a major advantage in fast-paced work environments. Employees can learn at their own pace and revisit the content as needed, maximizing learning efficiency without sacrificing work productivity.

    Traditional training methods often involve substantial costs, including travel, venue, instructor fees, and lost productivity during lengthy sessions. Microlearning, by contrast, typically requires less financial investment upfront and offers scalable, reusable learning materials that can be accessed by an unlimited number of employees at no additional cost.

    The focused nature of microlearning helps improve knowledge retention and recall. By concentrating on one key concept at a time, learners can better absorb and retain information. This segmented learning approach is supported by cognitive science, which suggests that our brains are better at encoding and retrieving small chunks of information.

    With technology-driven platforms, microlearning can be delivered across various devices, including smartphones, tablets, and laptops, enabling employees to learn anytime and anywhere. This accessibility makes it easier for companies to train a geographically dispersed workforce and supports remote learning—an increasingly important feature in today’s dynamic work environments.

    Microlearning modules can be easily updated or modified to respond to new information, changes in industry standards, or feedback from learners. This adaptability ensures that the training content remains relevant and effective over time, and can be customized to address the specific needs of different departments within a company.

    By integrating microlearning into their training strategies, companies can achieve higher engagement levels, more efficient learning processes, and better alignment with business objectives. As a result, microlearning is not just a trend but a fundamental shift in how companies approach employee development.


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    Key Components of an Effective Microlearning Program

    Creating an effective microlearning program requires careful planning and attention to certain key elements that ensure its success. In this section, we will explore the essential components that make microlearning effective for corporate training.


    Brevity and Clarity

    The core of microlearning is its brevity. Each module should be concise and limited to covering one specific topic or skill at a time. This helps in keeping the content digestible and the learning objectives clear, which is crucial for maintaining learner engagement and effectiveness.


    Interactive and Engaging Content

    To maximize the impact of microlearning, the content should be interactive and engaging. Including elements such as quizzes, interactive diagrams, and short games can help reinforce learning points and make the learning experience more dynamic. This not only boosts retention but also keeps learners motivated and interested.


    Use of Multimedia

    Leveraging multimedia elements like videos, animations, and audio enhances the learning experience by catering to different learning styles. Visual and auditory content can help illustrate complex concepts more clearly and make the learning process more enjoyable and effective.


    Regular Assessment and Feedback

    Incorporating frequent assessments and providing immediate feedback are vital for measuring learning progress and ensuring content mastery. Micro-assessments at the end of each module help reinforce learning and provide learners with insights into their understanding of the topic.

    Flexibility in Learning Paths

    An effective microlearning program offers flexibility in how learning paths are structured. Learners should have the option to choose which modules to complete based on their individual learning needs and goals. This personalized approach helps in catering to the diverse needs of a corporate workforce.


    Seamless Technology Integration

    The platform used to deliver microlearning should be user-friendly and accessible on multiple devices. Seamless integration with existing learning management systems and compatibility with mobile devices are essential for enabling learners to access content easily and learn on-the-go.


    Continuous Improvement

    Lastly, an effective microlearning program is never static. It should be regularly updated and refined based on learner feedback and the latest industry trends. Continuous improvement helps keep the content relevant and engaging, ensuring that it meets the evolving needs of the organization and its employees.


    Nadine Pedro
    [Translate to English:] Nadine Pedro, chemmedia AG

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    What else you should know about microlearning

    Integration into Broader Learning Strategies

    Although microlearning can be effective on its own, it is often most impactful when integrated into a broader, comprehensive learning strategy. It can complement traditional training formats or be part of a blended learning program that includes both online and in-person training.


    Data Analysis and Adaptation

    Modern learning platforms enable detailed data collection on learner progress and engagement. This data can be used to tailor and personalize microlearning content, facilitating continuous improvement in learning effectiveness. Analytics can identify which modules are most successful and which might need adjustments to better achieve learning objectives.


    Cultural Adaptability

    Microlearning is particularly well-suited to accommodate cultural differences in globally operating companies. Since the content is short and easily adaptable, it can be specifically tailored to meet the linguistic and cultural needs of various employee groups, enhancing effectiveness in an international context.


    Sustainability and Repeatability

    One of the core features of microlearning is the ease with which content can be repeated. This repeatability is crucial for long-term knowledge retention and helps learners more effectively memorize information. Microlearning allows users to revisit specific modules as needed to refresh their knowledge.


    Regulation and Compliance

    In many industries, regular training on compliance and regulatory requirements is necessary. Microlearning is an excellent method to ensure that employees receive up-to-date information and follow best practices, as updates and new content can be provided quickly and with minimal effort.


    Accessibility and Inclusion

    Microlearning can be designed to be accessible, meaning it's also available to people with disabilities. By providing content in various formats, such as text, audio, and visually supported materials, microlearning can cater to a wide range of learning styles and needs, thus being more inclusive.



    The bottom line

    Microlearning has proven to be an extremely effective learning method that meets the requirements of modern working environments and the increasingly digitalized world. With its compact learning units, microlearning enables a flexible, targeted and efficient way of learning that is ideal for fast and dynamic knowledge transfer in companies and educational institutions.

    The advantages of microlearning are manifold: from increasing learning efficiency and the ability to customize learning paths to cost efficiency, microlearning offers solutions to many of the challenges of traditional learning methods. The use of technological platforms also ensures a high degree of flexibility and accessibility, allowing learners to learn anytime and anywhere. In addition, microlearning's modular and repeatable content not only promotes the long-term retention of knowledge, but also the motivation and engagement of learners. Interactive and multimedia elements make the learning content lively and appealing, which increases the willingness to learn and makes learning fun.

    Janet Beier | Senior Marketing Manager
    Janet Beier
    eLearning author

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