How Microlearning Can Deliver Macro Results

April 7, 2017

People can microlearn on their way to work, during lunch or while walking on the treadmill.

Lifelong learning can take a few forms.

There’s “macro-learning”: going back to school or diving into a series of video courses. There’s just-in-time learning: figuring out a certain Excel feature for a report that’s due yesterday. And there’s microlearning: scarfing up a quick tip or insight during the course of a busy day, at lunch or while riding the subway ride home.

The Association for Talent Development has called microlearning the number one “tech trend to watch” in talent development. It makes sense, as people are busy, and not everyone has the time for macro learning.

But microlearning also makes pedagogical sense. Studies have shown that learners retain more when they learn in bite-sized pieces. You can take a five-hour course that teaches you fifty things, many of which you might forget, or you can watch a five-minute video that teaches one or two things that you’ll remember.

This high value proposition also increases the motivation of microlearners. Staring into the abyss of a lengthy course can be daunting. But knowing you can get smarter while taking a break or waiting for the bus? That’s appealing.

So what is LinkedIn Learning doing about microlearning? A lot.

Weekly Series

We have 30 weekly series across all three libraries, ranging from Excel tips to management insights to Photoshop and design tutorials. More series will be launching throughout 2017.

Each installment of a series consists of one or two videos with a total running time of five-to-ten minutes: perfect for today’s busy professionals, perfect for an era when a thousand things are vying for your employees’ attention and perfect for a world where more and more content is being watched on mobile devices.

Here's a full list of our English series, but we also publish weekly series in French, German and Spanish.

News Series

Business Series

Technology Series

Creative Series

New Course Formats

Our commitment to microlearning extends beyond weekly series. We’re constantly testing new ways to provide short, targeted tutorials in other formats. Our new Excel Quick Tips course is a great example – 30 videos, each about a minute long and each focusing on just one thing.

Here’s an example: 

And Everything Else

Lastly, it’s important to note that even our deep-dive courses – all 9,000-plus of them – are divided into short videos that are roughly five-to-ten minutes long. In that regard, you might say that microlearning is at the foundation of everything we do.

All of our short tutorials – whether standalone tips, part of a weekly series or the videos within a large course – are more than just bite-sized learning nuggets. They’re also great building blocks that learning and development administrators can assemble into larger learning paths, ones that are tightly focused on the specific learning needs of their enterprise.

In the end, microlearning isn’t the solution to talent development in the 21st century. It’s one part of the equation – “part of a balanced breakfast,” like the cereal commercials say. Our commitment to learning encompass all three flavors of lifelong learning.

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