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What is microlearning and how to bring it in your company

Microlearning makes it easier to assimilate content and retain knowledge over time through short and flexible learning units.

In this article, we will look at what microlearning is, what benefits it offers companies, and how to use it to create a more engaging training experience. We will also tell you about our Microlearning platform for transforming business procedures into comprehensive AI-supported training courses.

What is microlearning

Although there is no official definition of microlearning, this term can be used to refer to any type of training resource that is:

  • Short, with a duration of a few minutes
  • Digital, with access from a desktop or mobile device

Microlearning is actually a methodology that relies on offering small learning units and short learning activities to help users assimilate information with minimal effort.

The content that can be created in microlearning mode can be of a wide variety of formats. Generally, a microlearning corresponds to:

  • A video
  • An audio clip
  • A paragraph of text
  • An illustration, or infographic
  • An interactive element such as tests, quizzes, flash cards and challenges

Thanks to this variety, courses in microlearning format succeed in holding the attention of participants and meeting their personal learning needs. Indeed, it should be remembered that only about 60 percent of people fall into the category of visual learners; while the remaining 40 percent or so are divided into kinesthetic, who learn by doing, and auditory learners.

Courses based only on textual content or long presentations therefore lead to poor results, especially if the lectures feature overly articulated paragraphs or decks with lots of slides. If the training is intended for corporate audiences, where time and energy to devote are limited, the results are even worse.

In the case of companies, the usefulness of traditional lectures is drastically reduced precisely because of the need to train employees in the use of procedures and the performance of often complex, unfamiliar and unengaging activities to be taught in long informative pages or with a series of one-hour videos each.

The microlearning mode is the alternative solution to traditional training courses, with the most promising results in terms of both learning and retention of information in the long run. It is also suitable for a wide variety of contexts, such as:

  • Staff training
  • Vertical training for individual departments
  • Health and safety training
  • Onboarding training for new colleagues

Whatever the training need, users have the opportunity to take less than 10 minutes to acquire knowledge and develop skills useful for their work. They can take advantage of microlearning to consolidate concepts learned by taking end-of-module tests and quizzes, perhaps specially prepared by the company, in a matter of minutes and from any device.

Microlearning could thus be defined as the most flexible, practical and convenient learning methodology, even compared to the e-learning mode we have been used to so far.

Soluzione intranet pronta all'uso

Discover Microlearning from intranet.ai


Based on generative AI to help you:

  • generate courses from business documents
  • support colleagues in finding information
  • translate content to 40+ languages, in seconds
  • manage training, with advanced features for course assignment and progress tracking
  • enrich your intranet or corporate LMS system with original micro-lessons and customized training paths

 

What is the difference between e-learning and microlearning

E-learning and microlearning are the most popular and popular learning methodologies, limiting physical and time constraints to training. These two modalities have several features in common; so many, that they are often confused with each other.

In fact, both e-learning and microlearning make it possible to:

  • Acquire new knowledge and skills at a distance
  • Learn through the use of different formats, such as text, video and audio
  • Access digital information resources, sometimes taken directly from the Internet

Although the two terms are used interchangeably by some, microlearning is actually a modular approach to training since information is divided into short, concise instructional units. In contrast, e-learning courses often offer information-dense lectures that differ from traditional face-to-face classes only in format.

E-learning courses are designed to offer in-depth understanding of a topic through a structured learning path and thus provide users with a broad knowledge base. Lectures follow one another in a linear fashion, alternating text content with video and audio tracks.

Microlearning courses, on the other hand, offer small modules focused on specific learning objectives. Each module is created to provide the right amount of information to understand the topic and put it into practice right away. This is why this methodology is especially aimed at professionals and companies with limited time and energy to devote to training.

In general, microlearning is the ideal solution for those who want more flexibility, have focused learning objectives, or want to fill their skills gaps quickly.

To maximize the benefits of both approaches, the advice is to incorporate the comprehensive, structured view of e-learning with the practicality and effectiveness of microlearning. E-learning courses can be used as a foundation for training, while microlearning modules can be integrated to more easily learn key concepts and consolidate learning over time.

What are the benefits of microlearning

It is important today for companies to create a training experience that can engage workers through learning paths that are easy to assimilate and put into practice.

In today's professional environment, traditional long-term training programs are often ill-suited to the needs of companies, which require a more flexible and focused learning methodology. Microlearning is enjoying considerable success precisely because it allows training to be managed in the limited time available to workers and provides them with key information to develop their skills with minimal effort.

Short, multimedia content, interactive quizzes, gamification experiences and quick access from any company device make microlearning courses the ideal tool to accompany users in training during busy work days. In addition, the retention rate of learned information has been shown to increase from 10-20% to about 90% beyond 3 days.

Let's briefly look at the features of microlearning that enable companies and professionals to achieve these ambitious results.

 

 

Agile training

As the name suggests, microlearning methodology focuses on creating and sharing small amounts of information to simplify its assimilation and retention.

Microlearning can thus be easily inserted between tasks, so as not to interrupt the workflow for long and to make the most of one's time and attention. In fact, each user has the option of completing short learning modules, focused on specific topics and accompanied by quick tests to immediately put newly acquired knowledge to the test.

Reviewing key concepts also becomes easier, thanks to quizzes and special formats such as flash cards. Within minutes, users can answer targeted questions and get a concise answer with useful details to remember to:

  • Manage a complex procedure
  • Perfecting the use of business software
  • Improve communication with colleagues and customers
  • Learn more about the features of a new product
  • Addressing technical or managerial issues

Through the enjoyment of short content and constant practice, people can finally learn new skills quickly and efficiently. For this reason, microlearning is an opportunity to invest in training without compromising daily productivity.

 

 

Customized training

Courses in microlearning format are simple to create, quick to deliver, and effective to learn. But that's not all.

The brevity of the content offers the great advantage of adapting training to the evolving needs of professionals and companies, with minimal investment of time and resources. Microlearning can thus be customized to fill urgent skills gaps or to provide updates on relevant topics as they are needed for business growth.

Microlearning also makes it possible to meet the specific learning needs of people in the company by meeting their requirements in terms of accessibility, detail of information, content format, and length of lessons.

The advanced level of customization and convenience in content production make in-house training a targeted and scalable process, even and especially in large companies that require continuous commitment from staff in developing their skills and domain knowledge.

 

 

Engaging training

Synthesis of concepts and personalization of lessons make microlearning one of the most engaging learning methodologies in digital training.

Indeed, it is difficult to hold the attention of a user audience with long, articulated content that is not very interactive and not focused on their real needs, both practical and communicative. In the corporate environment, this poses a serious risk in terms of compliance if procedures are not assimilated or activities are not carried out in the right way.

As we have seen, microlearning makes it possible to overcome these difficulties by offering more engaging learning paths through:

  • Lessons lasting less than 10 min
  • Multimedia content, to combine text, video and audio
  • Gamification experiences such as quizzes, flash cards, and timed challenges

Another key element in keeping users engaged is adaptability, as courses in a microlearning format can be enjoyed at one's own pace, from any device and at any time of day. This is an approach intended to combine professional growth and worker time, without requiring sacrifices in terms of productivity and quality of life.

Use AI to generate your training courses


Our Microlearning platform transforms the training experience in the enterprise, relying on generative AI and integration with Microsoft 365 Copilot to:

  • generate courses from business documents
  • support colleagues with intelligent search
  • translate training content to 40+ languages, in seconds
  • manage training, with features for assigning courses and tracking progress

It will be easier to build customized learning paths that are easy to assimilate, thanks in part to the variety of formats and the brevity of lessons (~1 min).

The courses generated can be integrated into your intranet and Viva Learning, or be exported in SCORM format to enrich the LMS system already in use in your company.

 

How to create effective business courses with microlearning

Although microlearning courses are easier and more convenient to implement than traditional modes, it is good to know some best practices to make the most of the advantages that microlearning offers and that we have seen in this article.

Below, you will find tips for making training more agile and effective through microlearning.

 

 

Skim the information

It is essential that microlessons do not exceed 5 to 10 minutes.

This is because the strength of microlearning lies precisely in the brevity of the content, which can thus be more easily assimilated and remembered.

When creating one's microlessons, one must therefore select the information to be shared with users to maximize the time and concentration available.

To do so, you can follow these few simple steps:

  • Identify the learning objectives
  • Coil the topic into key concepts
  • Prioritize practical information
  • Gather the concepts into thematic units

A final step involves gathering feedback, to see if and how it makes sense to modify the course to provide users with the most useful information for their work.

 

 

Alternate multimedia content

Users will soon tire of reading only textual explanations, even if they are brief.

The flexibility of microlearning makes it possible to make training courses more varied, keeping attention and simplifying learning through:

  • Animations
  • Video presentations
  • Podcast-style audio clips
  • Images, carousels and infographics

Diversifying the content of a course, especially if it is in a microlearning format, can achieve an information retention rate of up to 90 percent. As well as inspiring colleagues to continue training consistently, one lesson after another to discover new video tutorials, expert interviews, discussions, short audio guides, animated graphics, and more.

Training becomes as attractive as the experience offered by social media, without investing too much time and resources to acquire the same communicative impact and ease of use.

 

 

Include gamification experiences

How to keep users' attention without engaging them?

Corporate courses should always contain interactive elements such as quizzes and tests, but also:

  • timed challenges
  • problem solving exercises
  • simulations of use cases or work scenarios

The goal is to stimulate active participation, not only to improve assimilation of concepts but also, and more importantly, to impart practical skills to people that will come in handy in their work.

Leaderboards and levels are advanced gamification experiences that can complement basic experiences, to motivate users to pick up lessons already covered, review the concepts, and get higher and higher scores. Perhaps to share with colleagues for friendly competition.

 

 

Simplify access from mobile devices

Microlearning is growing along with mobile learning, another new digital learning methodology based on accessing content from smartphones, tablets and laptops.

This is no coincidence, because microlearning and mobile learning are closely related.

The short, multimedia content of microlearning combines perfectly with the convenience of mobile devices to enable users to conduct training courses when and where they prefer.

It is therefore useful to design microlearning with a responsive design, that is, capable of automatically adapting to the screen size and functionality of the device used by the user.

It is also necessary to make sure that the training materials are compatible with different operating systems and that they are optimized for mobile Internet connections, which are often less consistent than desktop connection.

To do this, the company could turn to developers or designers who specialize in mobile learning. Or it could adopt a platform capable of creating courses that are already compatible with mobile devices.

 

 

Foster collaborative learning

To maximize knowledge retention and thus the effectiveness of training courses, it is important not to forget the collaborative aspect of learning. Not to be confused with the social aspect.

While social learning focuses on imitation, collaborative learning focuses on sharing ideas, opinions and different perspectives on the topics covered in class.

Through discussions, brainstorming sessions and dedicated forums, users have the opportunity to actively contribute their own reflections to the creation of shared knowledge and the development of skills that are useful to a community such as a company.

Content in microlearning format plays a relevant role in fostering a culture of collaborative learning, as it can be easily shared within forums, communities, websites, corporate intranet portals, social media and channels where communication and exchange of ideas are prioritized.

Courses could also be enhanced by gamification experiences such as:

  • quizzes with prizes
  • challenges among users
  • badges for course completion

Training becomes a collective experience, valuing achievements and focusing on friendly competition to keep interest in continuous learning burning.

What is Microlearning from intranet.ai

Microlearning is the solution we have developed to create easy-to-assimilate courses and content in a sustainable, scalable and cost-effective way with the support of artificial intelligence.

Through integration with Microsoft's AI models, Microlearning can in fact transform business documents into short, engaging lessons in seconds and in compliance with all the best practices we have seen in this article. As well as being able to create courses from scratch, leveragingAI to generate audio pills and translate lessons into more than 40 languages.

Companies can use its features to generate comprehensive training courses, which include:

  • micro-lessons from corporate documents, ensuring their privacy
  • multimedia content with a focus on accessibility and usability
  • interactive elements such as quizzes, tests, questionnaires and flash cards

Each generated course can be easily customized to meet users' needs by changing the content and format of individual lessons. Videos from YouTube or Vimeo, maps and charts from Google, or audio files from Spotify and SoundCloud can also be added, so that users are provided with all the information they need to delve deeper into the topics covered.

In terms of engagement, Microlearning integrates with Microsoft's main applications dedicated to training and collaboration. Content can be shared in the Teams app or in a Viva Engage community to ask questions of colleagues, exchange ideas, participate in gamification experiences, and share feedback on the courses conducted.

Personalized notifications sent automatically on Teams then serve to remind users to take assigned courses, helping them achieve their learning goals.

The company also has the option of centralizing training on the SharePoint intranet.

Users would then have access to an area of the intranet where they can find suggested courses based on their role, department or location. In this area, educational resources could be accompanied by:

  • questionnaires and surveys from Microsoft Forms
  • in-depth videos from Microsoft Stream
  • related SharePoint news and communications

Alternatively, content generated with Microlearning can be imported into Viva Learning, through direct integration, or into the corporate LMS system, through export to SCORM format.

 

To learn more, visit the page dedicated to our Microlearning platform.

 

To conclude the overview of microlearning, we offer below a summary table with the main advantages that this new learning methodology offers to companies.

 

Microlearning: the advantages for corporate training

 

Advantage offered by microlearning Description of the advantage
Flexibility Microlearning methodology focuses on sharing small amounts of information, repeated over time, allowing users to complete short learning modules in busy workdays. Microlessons focus on specific topics and are accompanied by tests and quizzes that facilitate the assimilation and review of concepts. This allows people to learn new skills quickly and efficiently, without compromising daily productivity.
Customization Microlearning allows training to be tailored to the evolving needs of professionals and companies. Microlearning can be customized to fill urgent gaps or provide updates on new topics relevant to business growth. Efficient content production makes training a targeted and scalable process, meeting the needs of even large, structured companies.
Engagement Microlearning offers more engaging learning paths through short lectures, multimedia content and gamification experiences, keeping users' attention and enabling them to enjoy courses at their own pace, from any device and at any time of day. In this way, it promotes professional growth without compromising productivity and quality of life.

What is intranet.ai?

intranet.ai is the ready-to-use corporate intranet, designed to reduce costs and implementation times, thus creating a collaborative and modern digital work environment:

  • Initial price of 3,650 €/year for a complete intranet
  • 50+ applications, including advanced search, document management system, push notifications via Teams, personal profile, and FAQ pages
  • 100% integrated with SharePoint Online and Microsoft 365

 

Giuseppe Marchi

 

Microsoft MVP for SharePoint and Microsoft 365 since 2010.

Giuseppe is the founder of intranet.ai and one of the leading experts in Italy in all matters related to Microsoft 365. For years, he has been assisting companies in creating their digital workplace environment on the Microsoft cloud, focusing on people's experience.

FAQ on microlearning


What is microlearning?

Microlearning is an innovative training methodology characterized by its brevity and accessibility. Although there is no official definition, it can be described as an approach that offers small learning units and short educational activities, typically lasting less than 5-10 minutes. This type of training is accessible through digital devices, both desktop and mobile, allowing users to assimilate information with minimal effort. Educational resources can take various formats, including video, audio, text, illustrations, and interactive elements such as tests and quizzes.

What is the difference between e-learning and microlearning?

While e-learning focuses on structured courses that provide an in-depth understanding of a subject through a linear educational path, microlearning offers small modules focused on specific learning objectives. E-learning is ideal for creating a broad knowledge base, while microlearning is better suited for professionals and companies with limited time and energy to devote to training. The latter offers the flexibility to quickly learn key concepts and immediately apply them.

What are the advantages of microlearning?

Microlearning offers several significant advantages for corporate training. Its flexibility allows users to complete short learning modules during busy workdays without compromising daily productivity. Additionally, content customization enables companies to tailor training to the specific needs of employees, providing targeted and scalable updates. Finally, microlearning keeps users' attention high through engaging multimedia content and gamification experiences, promoting professional growth without sacrificing productivity.

How can I create effective corporate courses with microlearning?

To create effective corporate courses with microlearning, it is important to follow some best practices. It is essential to streamline information to ensure that micro-lessons do not exceed 10 minutes, maximizing information assimilation and retention. Additionally, diversifying content with animations, videos, audio clips, and images helps keep users' attention high. Finally, including gamification experiences such as quizzes, tests, and challenges makes learning more interactive and engaging.

What is Microlearning by intranet.ai?

Microlearning by intranet.ai is an innovative solution that enables companies to create customized and accessible courses and content in the microlearning format. Integrated with Microsoft 365 Copilot, this tool transforms corporate documents into short and engaging lessons, allowing users to learn quickly and efficiently. With advanced features such as automatic course generation, multilingual translation, and integration with major Microsoft applications, Microlearning by intranet.ai offers a comprehensive solution for corporate training.