Instructional Design

The Psychology of Microlearning: Why it Works

Like fashion or music, corporate learning isn’t without its fads. And why not? Corporations are always looking for ways to educate and train employees. But don’t make the mistake of labeling microlearning a type of educational fad. While it may be packaged in a modern way, it’s actually a learning method proven by psychological and neurological studies. By understanding how the mind reacts to snippets of information, you can better see why microlearning is a viable method – never a fad.

Learner Motivation

What would you rather sit through: A long, boring lecture or a five minute interactive video? It’s a no-brainer. By utilizing microlearning as a method for corporate education, you motivate your learners by giving the ability to get through courses and training quickly. The ability to break off and digest information in chunks is much less daunting than a textbook of information, which means learners are more likely to be motivated to try.

Sense of Accomplishment

Similarly, the accomplishment one feels after completing a task can be called upon again and again when microlearning is used in place of more traditional training. From a quick video to reading a few flash cards or even taking a quick quiz, micro-lessons make learners feel accomplished. The result is a positive connection between the material and the learner.

Sensory Retention

Certain senses have short-term storage. Ocular retention, for example, is usually short because the eyes are constantly receiving new pictures and information. Therefore, the more senses activated by the learning process, the better the information retention. Reading a report only requires one sense, but watching and hearing a video and then sharing it on social networking takes three. The result is short-term memory more efficiently converted to long-term retention – a major boon for training and educational purposes.