• Katie Inouye

Microlearning: A rediscovered training trend in 2021


Like many industries, it sometimes feels as though we training professionals like to recycle trends. As more training moved online and become asynchronous in the past year, it seems to have put "microlearning" back center stage in 2021.



Microlearning is training that is small pieces of content that are considered bite-sized and short in duration. Its been around a long time and seems to go through phases of popularity. However, microlearning has several benefits that make it a trend I hope catches on for good, including:

  • It keeps learners engaged.

  • If implemented properly, it can increase knowledge retention.

  • It is easy and flexible to implement.


Learner Engagement

While classroom training is often seen as the best form of training, that is certainly not always the case. Just because a training program occurs in the classroom doesn't mean learners are paying attention. Of course, well-designed classroom programs that use a variety of activities and formats are very engaging. Yet, many programs out there instead present learners with hundreds of slides and few activities.


Microlearning also allows for students to learn complex topics over a period of time when the lessons build on each other. It is also a great method for refresher training on key topics.


Increased Knowledge Retention

When we actively engage with content, we are more likely to retain and remember new information. Instructional designers and instructors are always fighting for the learner's attention. Microlearning can be a great way to increase knowledge retention especially if it is something learners are exposed to and engage with multiple times.


Easy & Flexible to Implement

Because microlearning has a smaller scope, it is easier to create and deliver. While there are many online tools out there to implement microlearning, it certainly does not need to be delivered online. Simple methods like completing a safety rule briefing each day can be an example of microlearning.


A learning strategy within a learning strategy

While microlearning can be thought of as standalone training, it is a great tool to redesign long programs. Adding a variety of learning formats and activities provides the same benefits as standalone microlearning and keeps learners engaged.


If you're interested in more information, here is a great article from the ATD about 2021 L&D Trends including more about microlearning here https://www.td.org/atd-blog/the-future-of-l-d-5-learning-trends-for-2021