The average human now has an attention span of only 8.25 seconds.
That’s less than a goldfish.
And with decreasing attention spans comes the need to create educational content that your employees or students can easily consume while still getting full knowledge.
Which is where microlearning comes in. Microlearning is a simplified form of learning and information sharing. It is fast becoming popular with businesses and schools because of its ease, efficiency, and many other benefits which we'll cover here.
There are several other reasons why microlearning is now a major part of companies' content plans. Remember those times you thought you were finally done with a project... and then you got a Slack ping from your boss asking for clarification via “a quick Zoom call”?
Microlearning can also help eliminate this problem. And in this article, we'll cover everything you need to know about the topic:
What Microlearning is
Microlearning examples and benefits
How to use microlearning to scale knowledge
How to easily create bite-sized learning videos
What is Microlearning?
Microlearning, also known as microtraining, is a form of teaching and learning that involves breaking a large body of knowledge into smaller and more engaging bite-sized pieces which learners can consume anytime and anywhere.
There are different forms of microlearning, with the most common being videos, infographics, presentations, and podcasts. This form of training eliminates the unnecessary “fluff” and is more focused on passing across the most necessary information on a topic. It is often used to teach courses at schools and also for work functions like skill training and new hire orientation.
Why is microlearning important?
The traditional learning process can sometimes be overwhelming and feel like an information dump. Information which you'll hardly even remember. Microlearning fixes this by not only focusing on the most relevant details, but by also allowing learners to learn at their own pace.
It serves several benefits to both trainers and trainees. Some of which include:
Increasing the chances of remembering the lesson
Understanding and knowledge retention doesn’t happen at the same pace for everyone. So unlike traditional learning which overwhelms you with a lot of information to go through at once, microlearning is more paced and focused on the most important things.
This ensures that learners have more time to understand and retain each part of a class/training. In fact, research done by the Dresden University of Technology showed that shorter content increased knowledge retention by over 20%.
Learners are more likely to complete the course/training process
From work to social media to our daily lives, distractions are endless. That’s why learning is better when it fits into our already busy schedule.
With microlearning, not only is training easier, it is also quicker which increases the chances of learners completing the whole process.
It is easier and cheaper to create
Hosting a traditional training program mostly requires everyone to be in the same place at the same time. It also costs longer hours for preparation and teaching.
With microlearning, you can simply create and share bite-sized videos effortlessly and anywhere with the use of a video messaging tool like Loom. It's also a better option for connecting with, and training, remote staff.
It provides a better learning and teaching experience
Research shows that 95% of trainers prefer microlearning to a regular seminar or class lecture. Trainers found that their students were more engaged with microlearning.
This is no surprise because micro lessons are optimized for mobile devices and accessible anytime. They also use engaging multimedia like videos, quizzes, and games, so lessons are easier to consume. All of these make learning (and even teaching) a more fun experience.
Microlearning best practices
To truly enjoy the benefits of microlearning, you need to do it right. It’s never enough to just break pieces of an existing training into nuggets and call it a day.
So how do you create effective microlearning videos or content?
Use short and engaging videos
Since microlearning is a simplified form of learning, this obviously requires short videos. Experts in e-learning say that a microlearning video should be anywhere from 1 - 15 minutes. Optimally 5 minutes, because this gives learners enough time to remain focused on the lesson.
Also, create engaging and lively videos using examples, slides, images, etc. Switch it up. It doesn’t have to be a recording of you speaking. In Loom you can even add fun backgrounds to recordings and also include reaction pickers which let learners react to any point of your video with emojis.
Be clear, concise, and direct
Before recording your microlearning videos, you should have a goal for each one. One idea you want to convey with that particular video. This helps you create microlearning content that’s clear and straight to the point.
This way your learners are more engaged and not overwhelmed.
Create accessible videos
This involves using closed-captions in each video so they’re useful to everyone. You can also make your videos accessible by making them easily available and usable on all types of devices.
Always follow-up where need be
Microlearning typically requires lesser supervision than traditional learning methods. This is why you need a follow-up plan to ensure each participant successfully completes and understands each training session.
Analytics and feedback from the viewers
The only way to know if your microlearning strategy is working, is to make room for data monitoring and collecting. Use tools that give you insight into each video or content performance. You should also collect feedback from your staff or students during or after a lesson.
This way, you know how on track you are to achieving your goals, and what can be done to see improvements.
Use video templates if you’re a beginner
Recording microlearning videos can be tough, especially for a first timer. To make the process easier, you can start with existing video templates. These will help guide you on what to include in your videos.
For example, this is a template on how to give feedback with Loom:
Think of the email courses or challenges you’ve signed up for in the past. Daily, you received only a part of it and this gave you more time to absorb each content and knowledge.
Think of those step-by-step video tutorials or lectures taught across multiple short videos. Hubspot and Coursera use this. These are all examples of microlearning.
In this section, we’ll discuss more microlearning examples and use cases.
Microlearning examples 1: Staff training
One of my responsibilities as team lead at an early stage startup I worked at was to train my teammates. I hated this so much because it required a lot of back and forth trying to fix a perfect time for all parties. Then a choice for the right platform. And then comes the network issues or someone being late. Exhausting!
The typical ways of training staff no longer fit into the ever changing work environment. Microlearning is used to improve training so it can happen anytime and is suitable for everyone.
Microlearning examples 2: Employee onboarding and orientation
When new employees join your company, rather than hand them boring handbooks or have HR and team leads schedule onboarding processes regularly, microlearning videos can be used to welcome them, educate them, and quickly get them up to speed.
Microlearning examples 3: Customer education
Step-by-step instructional videos and tutorials are a good way to help customers learn about your product or fix issues they encounter.
This lets your customers solve their own problems. And also reduces the workload on your customer support teams.
A good example is the Getting Started Tutorials on Loom. It covers everything new users need to get started, from how to record your first video to editing, and analytics.
Microlearning examples 4: Teaching courses as a knowledge provider
Whether you’re an entrepreneur or a startup, courses are one way to show expertise, build authority, and make extra income. But it’s never enough to just create these courses. Their success lies in how engaging and useful they are to people.
Duolingo uses short and paced lessons and gamification to help their users learn a new language. Another good example is Moz’s Whiteboard Friday series. These are simple and weekly short videos on content and SEO taught by professionals.
Microlearning examples 5: Team collaboration
Sincerely, most of us could do without the weekly stand-ups or the occasional hopping on quick Zoom calls to explain something to a colleague. Asynchronous meetings using microlearning videos make collaboration easier for teams. Especially if you have workers all over the world.
Whether you’re showing your work processes, making a campaign performance presentation to your boss, or simply updating your team on what to do for the week, microlearning video messages are great for collaboration. An extra benefit? These videos will always exist in your knowledge base so anyone can revisit them later.
See how the design team at Brex successfully implemented Loom to free up more hours for design, rather than drowning in meetings and feedback.
Microlearning examples 6: Educative social media posts
Social media is a good way to reach and connect with your target audience. Microlearning videos are used here to engage them while quickly sharing how-to get something done. This could be product-wise or generally.
This video by Johns Hopkins on how to properly wash your hands is a good example
How to create microlearning videos using Loom
Now that you know what microlearning is and why it’s important, the next step is to learn how you can start creating your own microlearning videos.
In this section, I’ll walk you through a step by step process to recording engaging microlearning videos using Loom.
Step 1: Decide on a goal for your video
A clear goal will help you define the purpose of your video so your message fits perfectly. This will help you answer questions like:
What is the point of this video?
Who is the target audience?
What do I want to say?
What is the right tone to use?
Step 2: Prepare the right content to support your goal
So now you know your goal, the next step is to pick the best and most appropriate way to present it. Will your message be sufficiently passed with just a recording of you teaching and explaining the topic? Or will you need additional multimedia like texts, images, and screen recordings to support your message?
Step 3: Download and set up Loom
If you haven’t done so already, quickly download Loom for iOS or Windows on your mobile or desktop device. Then sign up. With Loom’s free plan you can record up to 25 videos at a 5 minute limit for each. Perfect for your microlearning video series!
Step 4: Write a script and practice first
A script or outline of your talking points is always a good idea especially if this will be your first video. It helps you stay organized so you don’t forget anything.
If you’re feeling nervous, you can also do a practice video to shake off the nerves and get you into recording mode. Loom has an entire section dedicated to recording tips and tricks. These will help you record better videos.
Step 5: Record your microlearning video
In Loom, this is as simple as opening it, choosing your recording settings, and you’re ready to start recording.
You can also pause videos in Loom while recording and continue from where you stopped when you’re ready.
Step 6: Edit your video
After recording, the next step is to edit your video. Editing helps you cut out unnecessary bits and ensures your video is not only presentable, but that it also fits into the goal you set for it.
Step 7: Share your Loom microlearning video
After you’ve completed editing your video, the next step is to share it with your audience. Simply copy and paste the link into web pages, blog posts, emails, social media, workspaces, wherever.
You can also add a privacy setting to videos intended only for a specific audience.
Ready to make your first microlearning video?
Microlearning isn’t going anywhere, any time soon. As you’ve seen, it is a great addition to work and education. So if you’re ready to start creating your own engaging microlearning videos, sign up for free on Loom and get started!