Myths Debunked About Microlearning

Posted by Ethan Woidke,

April 20, 2016

Microlearning is becoming a widely accepted tool for improving knowledge and skills in a way that suits the lifestyles of learners. It is being used by more people and companies today than ever before, but a number of myths now exist about how microlearning works.

We are here to debunk three of them.

Micromoment Learning

Myth 1 - Size Is All That Matters

All that matters is that the individual modules are short and on topic.

Having short individual modules in a microlearning course is only one element of the process. Those modules also have to be relevant and must matter to the learner.

You learn almost every minute of every day through environmental experiences, feelings and observations. The vast majority of that learning could be described as a form of micro-learning. This produces a huge amount of information, most of which you forget about almost as quickly as you learned it. Your brain would be unable to cope otherwise; it has to filter out what is important and must be retained from what is unimportant and can be forgotten.

So, even though the environmental learning that you go through on a daily basis involves microlearning, it doesn’t mean that all of the information is retained.

With your microlearning course, context and relevance are just as important as size when creating your modules. Of course, they have to be short, but they also have to contain information that demands retention.

Myth 2 - It's Long Form, Only Modulated

Microlearning is just about breaking up long-form content into small, bite-sized pieces.

This simply does not work, as you will fail on the point mentioned above – the bite-sized pieces that you create will not have relevance or context. In addition, longform content often has a lot of information that is not focused or strictly necessary for the learning experience. Including this in a microlearning course is detrimental.

You can use existing long-form content as the basis of your microlearning course, and many of the words, phrases, questions, and subject headings can remain the same, but to create a micro-earning course that works, you have to think about the microlearning experience.

Myth 3 - Structure Is Irrelevant

With microlearning, you provide the individual modules and the learner consumes them how and when they want to.

Empowering a learner by giving them a microlearning course on their mobile device gives them the flexibility to engage with that course where and when they want to. However, this does not mean you throw course structure out the window. Course structure is just as important in a microlearning course as it is in any other learning environment. If a learner dips into modules in a haphazard or whimsical way, they risk not having enough knowledge or information to fully understand what is presented.

Your microlearning course should be a learning journey, so it must have a narrative where you bring the learner from point to point. The exact route they take between the two points can vary, and there can be multiple points in a microlearning course, but an overall structure is still important. In fact, it is just as important as context and relevance.