8 studies that prove microlearning can't be ignored

Posted by Asif Rehmani on Jan 19, 2021


The number of organizations using microlearning has grown dramatically in recent years. In fact, statistics released by EdApp, a microlearning platform, show there has been an astonishing 700% increase in the usage of these platforms since 2019.

While microlearning is certainly popular, is there evidence that it actually works? If your organization is thinking of investing in microlearning to train your staff, you want to be sure that it will have an impact.

At VisualSP, we see how our clients benefit from contextual microlearning every single day. But don't just take our word for it. The microlearning trend is backed up by hard statistics and empirical research.

8 studies that show microlearning’s benefits


Microlearning has gained a lot of attention in the past decade. As a result, academic researchers and independent analysis firms have conducted studies to find out if it really works. Here are some of the most striking findings:

1. Improves retention significantly

A study at a German university looked at how well students performed after they were shown new learning materials. One group was asked to view a long training session while the other was asked to view it in small chunks. The findings were striking. The group which received learning broken into chunks took 28% less time to answer questions and performed 20% better in tests than the group which received a single long block of teaching. 

2. Improves accuracy and confidence

Another German study of professional learners looked at how much more proficient workers were when they had access to a microlearning environment. 80% of employees who used an online microlearning environment felt they were more accurate at performing their tasks, and 78% said they were more confident about completing tasks correctly.

3. Doing better in exams

One objective way of measuring the impact of microlearning is to compare how well people perform in exams after using microlearning. A Turkish study of engineering students compared exam results of a group that had been exposed to microlearning with a group that had only experienced standard teaching methods. The results were compelling - those who had received the microlearning performed better in all tests and exams and were able to demonstrate greater levels of proficiency and understanding than the other students.

Whitepaper: Microtraining in Context: The Path to Faster Digital Adoption and Compliance

4. Greater learner satisfaction

Traditional learning often leaves people frustrated - they feel that they do not have much control over what they learn and may receive irrelevant information. A study in the UK compared students who experienced microlearning with those who received regular training.

Besides doing better in exams, the students who received microlearning reported a higher level of satisfaction with their learning. The study's authors argues that a key factor is the sense of self perceived autonomy and competence that microlearning provides. Individuals feel they are in charge of their own learning, accessing what they need when they need it.

5. Improves performance

A US meta-analysis of  17 microlearning studies in the healthcare sector revealed some impressive evidence of its effects. The research showed it boosted knowledge and confidence of health professionals and ensured they retained knowledge for longer. It also revealed that microlearning modules could be used as a refresher when an individual wanted to implement skills that they had not used for a while.

6. People prefer shorter lessons

Perhaps one of the greatest selling points of microlearning is that it really matches what employees want from professional education. A study by Gartner subsidiary Software Advice found that almost 60% of employees would prefer a Learning Management System (LMS) that broke their training down into shorter lessons. Right now, many people do not sign onto their company LMS’ simply because they do not have the time to watch whole hour-long classes. It is therefore intuitive that breaking training down into shorter bite sized chunks is going to be more popular.

7. Reduces training development costs

In Dr. Ray Jimenez’s book 3 Minute Learning he draws on countless examples from his own experience which show that providing short bitesize training can significantly reduce the costs of delivering professional learning. The California-based author says that microlearning methods will cut your training costs by 50% compared to developing extensive in-person classes.

8. Quickest way to produce training material

Another benefit of microlearning is that it will take you significantly less time to produce training content. According to analysis by the US Association for Talent Development, producing microlearning content takes on average 18 hours. By contrast a classroom-led course takes some 67 hours to produce. This means that businesses which use microlearning can produce almost four times as much training as those that stick to traditional methods.

The most effective way of doing microlearning

Providing your employees with microlearning clearly has significant benefits and will ensure that they retain knowledge longer and become more confident. At the same time, you get a greater return on your training investment and can provide more learning while saving money.

And you can make your microlearning even more effective if you deliver that training in context. At VisualSP, we provide contextual microlearning which means that your users access training the moment that they are confused or have any doubts about how to do a specific task. That means they are more likely to access the microlearning and immediately put it into action.

To see how contextual microlearning would work for you, schedule a demo today.

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