Modern Training

9 Ways Microlearning Drives Employee Performance

Posted on: July 28, 2017Updated on: June 19, 2023By: Laura Martin

It’s official! Microlearning has hit “here to stay” category status. Want proof? Well, more and more organizations (92% in one recent study) are planning to increase their use of microlearning in the coming year. They know it can drive employee performance and that means higher productivity, retention, and profits. Who doesn’t want that?

As the first platform provider to bring microlearning to market (long before it was even called microlearning) and the organization that delivers more than 15.8 million microlearning moments to employees around the globe each and every month—more than anyone else—we thought we’d share our wisdom on why we believe it’s here to stay.


1 – It engages

We live in a world where shorter is better. We tweet, we text, and occasionally we just post a picture to tell our story. We consume short bits of information in increasingly shorter bursts of time. And we just don’t have the time or interest in long, boring information dumps.

Microlearning fits our world. Lengthy LMS elearning modules don’t.

In fact, microlearning fosters 50% more engagement in learning. Employees who are engaged in learning, learn more and they are also more likely to engage with your company. Both are exactly what you want for employee performance and productivity.

2 – It adapts quickly and easily

Business is in a constant state of flux and better performance means getting up to speed on changes as soon as they happen. Microlearning’s 3- to 5-minute training bursts easily, quickly, and inexpensively adapt to meet a need to inform employees about new safety procedures, new regulations, or even a new marketing strategy or sales promotion.

Microlearning done right empowers your people. When they’re more informed, they’ll provide better customer service, lower their risk of an accident, and increase their knowledge and expertise so they can perform at their best. High-performing learning organizations are increasingly using approaches like microlearning and it is paying off. In fact, high-performing learning organizations boast 37% greater productivity.

3 – It fits learning into the workflow

This is a no-brainer. Since 1% of a typical work week is all your employees have available for learning, you have to make it count. Bite-sized learning fits easily into your employee’s workday. No more dragging them out of the workflow for learning events. Microlearning means your employees are able to spend more time on the job, while still getting the knowledge they need to do their jobs well. In fact, because it’s so easy for them to learn something every day, they’re able to turn downtime into productive time. And this learning can even transfer into higher engagement at work. It’s a win for everyone.

4 – It uses brain science (well at least ours does)

Microlearning is smarter. It uses brain science to deliver learning that maximizes retention and understanding. Translation: what your people learn via microlearning is far more likely to aid them in performing better in their jobs. Why? The 3- to 5-minute chunks of learning typically delivered by microlearning (several times a week or even daily) fit our learning style better.

Microlearning addresses the forgetting curve by continually offering opportunities to refresh and review learning. Our brains can process 4 to 5 pieces of learning at a time so any extra information we attempt to force through is lost. In addition to providing optimal processing opportunities through smaller chunks of learning, microlearning lends itself easily to spaced repetition and repeated retrieval practices. Spaced repetition takes advantage of brain science research that tells us that people are more likely to grasp, retain and use knowledge if learning is repeated over time and increasingly spaced intervals. Repeated retrieval gives people opportunities to repeatedly retrieve information from memory, which engrains in the brain long term. Microlearning provides this and ensures that people both learn and retain the information they need to work both better and smarter.

5 – It fits our mobile lifestyle

Today’s learning has to be always on and always accessible. 37% of today’s workforce is mobile and 30% work outside the employer workspace. Increasingly, we turn to our smartphones and other mobile devices for answers.

Microlearning works hand in hand with mobile learning by delivering quick, digestible chunks of learning that fits perfectly on a small screen. This doesn’t mean awkwardly planted videos or the kind of massive information dumps found in traditional elearning. Microlearning is tailor made for the mobile experience. Mobile learning provides the vehicle for continual access to training anytime and anywhere while microlearning loads it with learning that increases employee performance.

6 – It is delivers learning when it is most needed

At home and at work we want answers now. Traditional learning tends to happen in a vacuum during prescribed events. It is separated from the workplace and separate from performance. This isn’t how the modern worker learns and, in response, workers are turning increasingly to channels outside traditional learning to get what they need when they need it. 70% in fact, are turning to search engines.

While it’s great that your people want to find answers that help them perform better, using search engines takes control of the message out of your hands. Microlearning makes the right knowledge available to your people when they need it and it delivers the speed and accessibility of a search engine. It provides learning that your employees need to do their jobs better while ensuring they have access to the information and knowledge based on the outcomes that are important to your business.

7 – It’s truly adaptive to accommodate multiple generations and knowledge levels (other microlearning solutions can’t do this)

Your employees want to learn. They also want learning that is relevant and quick. In fact, 42% of millennials will leave their jobs if they’re not learning fast enough. Microlearning that is truly adaptive ensures content adjusts automatically and continually to what people know and don’t know. And this allows you to respond quickly to meet the needs of everyone the workplace—no matter what age or experience level.

The small chunks of knowledge distributed through microlearning are also easily translated for training on a global scale. And because content is more easily (and inexpensively) produced and managed, you can respond quickly to cultural shifts.

8 – It provides continuous feedback and analytics

While microlearning provides immediate opportunities for engagement and continual learning, it also provides you with the opportunity to track employee performance constantly and consistently. That’s because employees are learning all the time instead of only when a formal training course is scheduled. This is critical because the kind of analytics provided by microlearning—immediate and accurate—allow you to intervene and coach your employees before issues begin to affect performance.

Remember the old days and the massive amounts of time and money spent on altering course modules when they didn’t quite work out as planned? Microlearning allows you to pivot quickly if you discover an approach simply isn’t working or if you need to push out training fast to deal with a potential threat, like an active shooter situation.

9 – It uses technology the way it was meant to be used

Technology was meant to make things easier, faster and accessible. Right? But ask a new employee attempting to navigate an LMS module and they’ll probably question this approach.

Technology isn’t something we awkwardly tack on to learning programs in order to appear hip or engaging by producing mobile versions of desktop modules or lengthy videos watched on tiny screens. Technology is simply a vehicle for learning and, unless it’s used well, it can turn off learners.

Microlearning leverages technology in a way that does make learning easier, faster and more accessible to all employees. It allows the right learning delivered at the right time and place to the right person. It’s how technology was meant to be used.

Microlearning is no longer just a training buzzword. It’s a smart response to a rapidly changing workplace and workforce that can drive your employees’ performance.

Laura Martin

As a process person, she loves nothing more than taking a business and transforming it from obscure to renowned and beyond. She takes the reins on Axonify’s strategic alliance marketing efforts that put the company on the map.

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