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Tips For Developing A Microlearning Strategy

Concannon Business ConsultingMicrolearning Tips For Developing A Microlearning Strategy

Tips For Developing A Microlearning Strategy

Considering that the average attention span is 8 seconds, it’s no wonder that microlearning is becoming a popular way for businesses to train (or retrain) users. Because microlearning segments are generally three minutes or less and presented at a carefully spaced cadence, users can more easily remember the content and apply it to their work.

Although microlearning seems to have been around since the early 2000s, the idea was formalized in 2007, with expert Dr. Theo Hug’s book, Didactics of Microlearning. For an entire theory of learning, this is pretty recent—which is why many companies are unsure how to develop microlearning strategies and integrate them into their overall corporate education plans.

We’ve rounded up the top 5 tips for developing your business’s microlearning strategies, so you can start training your distributed workforce in a way that helps those lessons stick.

1. Get to Know Your Audience

Before you craft your microlearning strategy, you need to assess your audience so you know how to best engage them. When you consider the age and background of your users, you can determine key factors, like delivery methods and learning segment length.

The demographics of your audience. Is your distributed workforce mostly in their 20s? Are they older? Are there a lot of international transfers? Demographics can tell you which tools to use (and which subjects to tackle. For example, if your users are in their 20s, something that’s interactive might work well. If you’re targeting an older demographic, a familiar format such as PDFs might be ideal.

Areas of desired improvement. Your company’s managers might know of specific learning needs within each department; the sales team may need to learn how to improve elevator pitches or the marketing team might need a refresh on grammar basics. If managers don’t have any particular education needs, send out a survey asking what topics users think they could improve on.

2. Apply the “Learning by Doing” Mantra to Your Content

Science has proven it: one of the best ways to learn anything is by diving in and getting hands-on experience. When you are figuring out how to develop microlearning strategies, ensuring that your content emphasizes this “learning by doing” theory.

For example, if you create an instructional video about using polite language in customer interactions, you can add a follow-up activity that enforces this idea; trainees can be asked to respond to a faux customer message with a polite email. If you send salespeople an instructional PowerPoint about cold pitches, you can ask that they record themselves giving one and send it to you afterwards.

These simple “learning by doing” exercises are key to your microlearning strategies.

3. Plan for the Moment of Need

A lot of corporate learning strategies focus on material that users might need later as opposed to now. This material can be useful, but often, it can seem irrelevant to professionals. Without a clear use for the information, they might forget the material they just learned, or even skip it in the first place.

Creating “moment of need” content is a great way to provide content that users actually pay attention to and benefit from. “Moment of need” content is simply content that professionals refer to at the very time that they need it. Examples of this type of content include:

  • Event preparation material (networking and sales pitch how-tos)
  • Writing guides (grammar brush-ups and style tutorials)
  • Technology tutorials (third-party app or Google Sheets instructions)

4. Build Incentives and Create Milestones

There’s nothing like an incentive to keep people going—even if it doesn’t actually amount to a physical reward.

When users finish a chapter or section of their learning module, celebrate the milestone. You can indicate this celebration with something simple, like an animated GIF or illustration, just as long as it clearly signifies that the user has successfully finished a segment.

You can encourage users to exceed expectations with an incentive program, too. Give high achievers (people who score high on quizzes or complete a lot of modules in a short period of time) rewards like company swag or an extra long lunch period on Friday.

5. Use Gamification

Everyone enjoys games, even if they are work-related. There’s a reason the global gamification market is expected to grow from $1.65 Billion in 2015 to $11.1 Billion in 2020.

Get your organization started with gamification by adding in game-like qualities (plus real games) into your microlearning strategy, such as:

  • In-app ranking boards 
  • Pre, mid, and post-instruction quizzes
  • Business keyword crosswords
  • Business keyword word searches


These 5 tips are a great start into developing your microlearning strategies. Looking for more ways to improve your business’s learning strategies? Download the playbook, “Creating Connected Team Knowledge That Drives Engagement” today.

Tricia Go