In the modern world, humans are constantly bombarded with demands for their attention. People have two different types of attention available: transient and selective sustained attention. Transient attention is when something catches a person’s focus temporarily, such as a push notification on a phone. Selective sustained attention is much longer and involves someone focusing on a task for an extended period of time.
Microlearning is a form of learning that attempts to optimize both types of attention to produce the most effective retainment of knowledge. Microlearning aims to keep content short and easily digestible without removing important details. It utilizes practices such as spaced repetition, chunking, and introducing content that mimics the way that we solve problems in real life.
Microlearning can be especially useful for reducing the cognitive overload for learners, which is one of the main culprits for bad learning outcomes. Some topics are difficult to distill into a few words without missing key details.
There are a few best practices to make sure that microlearning can be effective. It is best to start off with the high-level learning objective and then break it down into smaller subtasks. The KUAR (knowing, understanding, acting, reflecting) framework also creates microlearning success.