What is Microlearning?

(a.k.a. micro learning or micro-learning)

Agile learning on the go and designed to fit into work schedules, down time or public transport journeys. Breaks education into small units and learning tasks for microcontent focus. Burns-Johnson (2016) state the core characteristics of microlearning are:

  • Short (on the go).
  • Focused learning (one skill or topic).
  • Multi-platform (any device any location).

Education Theory

  • Prevents information overload (chunking theory).
  • Teaching for a world of internet, computer games and television where we have constant access to a globalised resource pool of information.
  • Problem solving helps fill in the knowledge gaps.
  • Personalised learning approach.


  • An ever changing world requires quick responses in work and private life.
  • Anytime & anyplace learning.
  • Increasing use of mobile devices for learning (M-Learning).
  • Learners expect interactivity.

The Againsts

  • Traditional teaching approach reluctant to change.
  • Relies on network connectivity.
  • Small screen.
  • Variability in platforms.

Some Attention Statistics (from Statistic Brain)

  • Attention span in 2000 – 12 seconds
  • Attention span in 2015 – 8.25 seconds
  • Attention span of a goldfish – 9 seconds


Burns-Johnson, E. (2016) A Bite-Sized Guide to Microlearning. Allen Interactions.

Bruck, P. A., Motiwalla, L., & Foerster, F. (2012). Mobile learning with micro-content: a framework and evaluation. Bled eConference, 25th Bled eConference eDependability: Reliable and Trustworthy eStructures, eProcesses, eOperations and eServices for the Future, 17-20.

Gassler, G., Hug, T., & Glahn, C. (2004). Integrated Micro Learning–An outline of the basic method and first results. Interactive Computer Aided Learning, 4.

Traditional Training vs the Bite Size Approach Infographic