Get Micro Learning in a Hurry

Accountability Growth mindset Personal leadership


Key Point: Learning in bite size chunks, also known as “micro learning” is gaining both interest and traction for reasons that make sense in today’s content rich environments. This involves a new way of thinking about learning and delivering content in fast, short, (usually in one to 20 min max) multi-media chunks, that arrive for the learner, “just in time.” An analogue metaphor is Google’s “testing on the toilet;” where one page learning tips are regularly placed on bathroom doors so Googlers get on-going toilet training. (Ok, I thought it was funny).  

Micro learning offers a promising antidote to boredom by increasing a learner’s psychological engagement. Instead of a long, 90 plus minute delivery, learners are motivated to consume short, snappy yet meaningful content. Abreena Tompkins, instruction specialist, and this article, explains this more clearly: “Physiologically, your neurons are keen and alert for no more than 20 consecutive minutes. At the end of those 20 minutes, your neurons have gone from full-fledged alert to total collapse, and it takes two to three minutes for those neurons to be completely recovered and back to the total alert state. If you break longer than three minutes, you’ve redirected your attention.

Bite-size content is easier to digest, understand and remember. According to George Miller’s Information Process Theory, a learner’s attention span and short-term memory is limited to processing information in chunks. That’s why adherents of such theory suggest splitting up content into small, manageable sections, rather than simply dump never-ending chains of text. This technique makes learning more manageable and easier to integrate into long-term memory. Once it’s in long-term memory learners can remember it and transfer the knowledge to their daily tasks. It’s not just about learning per se. No more lengthy lectures and rigid schedules. People can now learn on their spare or just in time and learn only what they’re interested in.”

Character Moves:

  1. Challenge the value of long, classroom style content delivery in today’s environment. Become a student of  micro learning, and where it might work for you. 
  1. Combine chunk-style micro learning with unleashing people at ALL levels to participate as teachers. Allow your faculty and content to be developed and delivered by hundreds of experts in your own system. All team members and teachers become more effective learners.  
  1. Learn how to make this “burst type” learning effective by adding reference tools, using gamification and attention formulas! Then test and retest both the learning and system to determine effectiveness. 

Micro learning in the Triangle,


One Millennial View: This should be a surprise to NO ONE. Why should learning be so different than consuming entertainment? YouTube videos are best when short, our television is on-demand, Tweets are 140 characters and six-second Vine videos can go as viral as anything else. We want it now, and we want it quick. Even the term “tl/dr” seems to be teetering on “acceptable” in a professional environment. (It means “too long, didn’t read,” incase you haven’t sent something too lengthy before). And, if we click, it “better” be worth that 15 second advertisement or you’re probably going to get blackballed from future shares. It’s a tough, patience-lacking world out there folks, but instead of fighting it, if you learn to play the game well then everyone will get on your team.

TL/DR? – We get it in a hurry. Short and sweet lessons are best appreciated. 

– Garrett

Edited and published by Garrett Rubis