5 Tips And Tricks For Building Microlearning That Engages Learners

5 Tips And Tricks For Building Microlearning That Engages Learners
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Summary: Learn how to create and implement "sticky" microlearning that engages your entire learning ecosystem.

What You Need To Know For Building Microlearning That Engages Learners

Microlearning is probably the biggest buzzword in corporate learning today! The question is, how much of this buzz is all talk and no action? Many have yet to implement microlearning. Or if they have, they’re not sure how to leverage it to its fullest potential. If you’re ready to get in the game, or become a better player, read this article with 5 tips and tricks for building microlearning that engages learners.

A Quick Reality Check

Here are a few key statistics to think about while putting together your microlearning strategy:

  • Videos under two minutes get the most engagement.
  • Nearly two-thirds of consumers prefer videos under 60 seconds.
  • Viewers retain 95% of a message when they watch it in a video, compared to 10% when reading it in text. [1]

Now that’s an important reality check!

Every year, research shows that videos get shorter and shorter as our attention span gets smaller and smaller. It’s no wonder that the topic of microlearning predominates learning conferences, webinars and white papers. It’s constantly changing.

How long is your average learning video? Sixty minutes? Thirty minutes? Ten?

If you’re like most, it’s at least ten minutes. Unfortunately, it has to be a lot less than that to keep up with our shrinking attention span. Especially millennials’.

Microlearning That Sticks: Building Microlearning That Engages Learners

Not only do your learning videos need to be short, they also need to be “sticky” and released in ways that boost engagement. Here are my top five tips and tricks for accomplishing this.

1. Occupy The Whole Brain

A lot of the informal and formal learning we consume today is spur of the moment─impulsive. We consume it when it looks like it will fill an immediate need. But, we only stick with it in short bursts, and as long as it occupies the whole brain.

Audio alone only occupies a portion of our brain. The same goes for text or video without sound. However, if you combine all three, you occupy most of the brain and ward off distractions.

2. Go After Very Specific Niches

There’s no such thing as microlearning that’s too specific. The more focused and niche, the better! So, instead of doing a 10-minute video on how to sell Widget A, your content should be a 2-minute video about three features of Widget A that will guarantee sales to pharmaceutical companies.

3. Get To The Point

When going to a movie, have you ever finished your entire bucket of popcorn while sitting through an endless barrage of previews and opening credits? It seems like the movie will never start!

Compare this to TV shows. They go straight into the story without waiting (wasting!) a minute. It’s no wonder that TV has become a binge-watching activity.

Don’t give your learners an excuse to tune out. Get right to the point.

4. Aim for 1-Minute Videos

Remember your learners’ attention span. If you can’t say it in one minute, then stretch it to two. If it’s more than that, break it up.

Of course, the predictable theory is that if you try to make a one minute video, then it will almost always end up at two. So, maybe you should shoot for thirty seconds instead!

5. Don’t Forget About The Delivery

Almost or maybe even more important than the design of your microlearning content is how you actually roll it out─how you deliver it to learners and how you make it easy for them to find and consume.

Notice the operative word: EASY!

Here are a few strategic tips for “barrier-free” microlearning delivery:

  • Bring it to them.
    Although learning management systems have been slow to adapt to microlearning, there are a few that have stayed ahead of the curve. For instance, the ExpertusONE LMS platform has two unique features that make it easy to bring very specific learning straight to the learner, where they live and work:

    • Embeddable Widgets.
      Places your training catalog where learners spend the most time: On websites, social media forums, emails, SharePoint and more.
    • Dynamic Shareable Links.
      Extends your training’s reach with contextualized search links in: Software products and apps (as “Help” links), websites and intranets (for upcoming events/courses) and pdfs, brochures and emails.
  • Use a contextualized catalog.
    Some Learning Management Systems personalize their catalogs on-the-fly for each individual user, similar to Amazon recommending books and other products. However, an advanced Learning Management System can take it one step further by linking to the HR system and having more information to contextualize what each learner sees.
  • Optimize for mobile.
    It’s most important to understand that microlearning is primarily consumed on smartphones and tablets, while people are traveling, at home, on the train, in taxis, in the field, waiting in line, etc. This is when learners are shockingly un-distracted and hungry for anything to occupy their brain.

Take advantage of it! And make sure your content is not just mobile-friendly, but actually designed with mobile in mind. (Note: the same goes for your LMS mobile app.)

If You Remember Just One Thing…

If you take away anything from this article, remember that microlearning must be much shorter and “chunked out” than you’d think. If you remember this one thing, you’ll be in the top 95 percentile of learning professionals.

Do you want more best practices for highly effective microlearning? Attend our upcoming webinar featuring eLearning expert Craig Weiss: 5 Tips & Tricks for High-Impact Microlearning.


  1. 37 Staggering Video Marketing Statistics for 2017