Year In Review: 2018 Microlearning Trends

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As 2018 draws to a close, it’s time to reflect on the year and the trends that took place in the learning and mobile learning industry. Mobile learning is using a smartphone for learning anytime and anywhere. Whether this learning is for onboarding or reading a manual via mobile to fix machinery on the job, you can take microlearning anywhere.

Microlearning is a concept that is gaining favor by Learning and Development professionals for several reasons: it’s easy to produce, inexpensive to develop, and it evolves with emerging technology. Also, microlearning can be integrated with other systems.

Microlearning is successful is that it allows the learner to focus on specific information.

Let’s check out a few benefits of microlearning that people are writing about this year.

Increased Efficiency

According to a 2016 article from the Journal of Applied Psychology, learning information in small pieces makes learning 17% more efficient from the classroom to the desk. New data from Axonify’s 2018 report found nearly three-quarters of their microlearning users, 74%, take part in training every month! Because the learning content is small, which makes it easier to learn wherever and whenever the user wants. The information is clear and concise and not filled with the jargon that is included in traditional learning materials.

Professionals Prefer Smaller Content Durations

A survey by Rapid Learning Institute, claims 8/10 L&D  professionals prefer microlearning because their users favor it more so than traditional learning. In 2018, Axonify found on average; their users engage in 9 sessions 30 days. Keeping in mind, usually only 20 working days in the average month which means these users are using microlearning  2-3 times per week, or 106 times per year. Today’s on-the-go professionals are happier with this form of learning for three reasons:

  1. Microlearning can be customized for the learner.
  2. microlearning can be used on-demand.
  3. microlearning is a new, less formal approach to giving useful training content to people that need it.

Increased Engagement

A 2014 Software Advice report, Top LMS Features to Drive Employee Engagement, through microlearning, 50% of the surveyed employees said they would prefer to use microlearning than traditional.  More recent data, from Axonify’s 2018 report, found mobile devices for microlearning have increased training frequency by 42%! They reported traditional courses were too long and harder to remember compared to this easier method. One way to increase the engagement levels of your audience is to use a design that is more social media-like in delivery – short bursts of content, with descriptive summaries and rich searchable metadata.  

Microlearning Matches Mental Learning

In an article by Art Kohn, Brain Science: Bursts—Creating Brief Training for Short Attention Spans, he makes the case that humans have short attention spans. The brain is not wired to focus for hours. Basically, we learn better when content is delivered in bursts and spaced out to increase retention.

What Kohn said in 2015 remains true even today. In May 2018 in the article Ways Microlearning Increases Attention and Retention, by David Winograd, stated humans to have such short spans of attention. Winograd writes: “Microlearning has been found to be most effective at 5 minutes using less than 500 words with interaction and assessment built into that time frame. If a learner is asked to do something, they must pay attention and the attention clock resets.”  In fact, the University of California-Irvine has reported:

  • Employees work for an average of 11 minutes before they will be distracted by an outside stimulus (phones, emails, etc.)
  • In these 11 minute spans, the employee works in various short and quick tasks lasting around 3 minutes each.
  • If tasks need too much digitalization, employees will “browse” their open tabs more so, rather than focusing on something completely.

Microlearning is Inexpensive and Easy to Produce

Learning architect, Ray Jimenez, contends microlearning courses are less costly than traditional materials by 50%. Also, he says they can be produced even faster. Jimenez gave three major examples of why microlearning is a positive movement for a company.

  • There is no need to rent a classroom, pay for utilities, spend money on classroom equipment, or paying for an instructor’s time.
  • Microlearning is easier and less time consuming because of its modular in design.
  • Microlearning is easy to update due to the digital information than to reprint the learning material.

Although the positivity of the microlearning industry still applies, more recent data suggests that this form of learning is not as inexpensive as thought. Sharlyn Lauby reports that although microlearning is easy to produce and should be cost-effective to produce, that is not always the case. Because you are shortening the time it would take for traditional learning, one would think they would not need to pay as much for a smaller amount of learning content. shows most eLearning modules are priced by the length of learning. They even claim agencies will charge up to $2,000 per minute of training! The Chapman Alliance tracks cost per minute in a very detailed fashion, so we’ll leave that to them. Either way, producing smaller content that is focused on the needs of the learner should be more cost-effective than creating exhaustive large-scale learning efforts.

As you can see, micro-learning is improving the workplace. So what has Float been doing to improve microlearning?

Check out SparkLearn®

Over the course of the last year, Float has developed a microlearning platform for performance support created with the goal of training employees in the microlearning fashion. Float knows how important it is to deliver content to learners, and SparkLearn® strives to meet the needs your employees may need.

Our platform includes a flexible content management system, a responsive web interface, and an intuitive mobile app. Float has had extensive experience in designing great applications for some world’s biggest brands. SparkLearn® boasts a flexible management system which assists you and your company with organization and delivery of content.

With our platform, you can design a great learning resource for performance support and quick content access. SparkLearn® provides a solid, cross platform-capable experience for your entire organization.

Check out these examples of what makes SparkLearn® so great.

  • Personalized Instructional Content
      • With SparkLearn® you can distribute short-form eLearning content (modules) to mobile apps for both iOS and Android. The content is compatible with smartphones, tablets, and desktop users.
  • More Resources
      • One of the best features of SparkLearn® is the ability to publish other resources within the app. With a few taps, you can associate websites, PDFs, PPTS, and more, with the courses. These features can help with unique job aids, performance support tools, and more. Flexible metadata makes the information searchable within the application.
  • Company Personalization
      • SparkLearn® enables learners to favorite content and includes performance support when a need arises. Sparklearn® provides their history, so they always know what they have completed and what more they need to do.
  • Offline Support
    • Through SparkLearn®, users can learn even when they are offline. Once they reconnect to data or WiFi, their results will sync.

We’re ready to get you started with SparkLearn® today. Contact us for a demo or pilot!

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Alexis Benson

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