Instructional Design

Microlearning Structure: Size Matters

What’s in a name? Well, for microlearning, it’s the very essence of what makes the method so effective. By structuring curriculum around portable, bite-sized lessons, learners have the ability to take matters into their own hands. That means learning on their own time and enjoying a less-formal setting than education of old. By choosing the right delivery method and focusing on the concepts that make microlearning so effective, you’ll remember that size really does matter when it comes to education.

Less Formal Delivery

Forget about textbooks and lectures: Microlearning condenses the basics to less-formal lessons that get learners really motivated. Thanks to informal delivery systems (think Twitter or morning emails) learning can happen anytime and anywhere. Without the formality of a traditional class, learners are more motivated to take part and even contribute to discussions via tweets, email and chats – a win for everyone involved.


If it can fit in your learners’ pockets, they’re more likely to learn in a coffee shop or while waiting for the doctor. Of course, pocket-sized could also mean anything viewable on a smartphone, from a shareable video to an app with virtual flash cards. When in doubt, ask yourself “Can I fit this material in my pocket?”

Just in Time

Finally, timing is one of the most important components in microlearning design and structure. You want to give learners a timely way to receive information and then enjoy instant gratification upon completion. By condensing lessons and material down to about 5 to 10 minutes max, even busy learners can find time in their schedules to check in and read a quick memo or watch a video. Anything longer than that and you could lose their interest – and the point of microlearning.