What is Microlearning and how can it be useful for onboarding mobile users?

George Miller was a psychologist who in 1956  theorized that short-term memory can hold between five and nine pieces of information. This information can be stored in single units called bits or in groupings called chunks. Creating chunks of information allows you to hold more information in short-term memory.

Microlearning exploits this condition by breaking down training content into very small, bite-sized pieces that can be consumed quickly. This could mean short videos, interactive modules, quizzes, infographics, or   and pop ups. The components of microlearning are typically focused on a single goal or learning objective such as;

  • Employee onboarding, compliance training
  • Daily check lists
  • Software application training

Microlearning is particularly well-suited for mobile learning because:

– It aligns with shorter attention spans and ability to digest information quickly on mobile devices. Microlearning components are designed to impart knowledge in minutes.  This strategy can be particularly effective for mobile app user onboarding.

– Works well for spaced reinforcement of concepts. Learners can review microlearning content multiple times, which strengthens retention and recall.  For example a curated set of contextual tooltips displayed to the right user at the right time.

– Easy to fit into small pockets of downtime. Learners can access microlearning on smartphones whenever it’s convenient as opposed to scheduling longer training sessions. The most effective way to deploy this is for mobile user onboarding and in app announcements when the user is in a specific part of their user journey.

– Provides performance support tools. Microlearning modules can serve as quick reference guides and refreshers to support learning transfer.  For example content from user onboarding guides can be recycled as per page in app FAQs.

– Makes updating training simple. Individual microlearning pieces can be updated easily as needed vs. revising lengthy courses. With Contextual mobile app onboarding content creation and onboarding user flows can be delegated to marketing or customer success.

– Allows for interactive content and assessments. Mobile microlearning can incorporates gamification, scenarios, and in-app customer surveys for micro feedback.

So in summary, microlearning can make training more accessible, consumable, and engaging for mobile users specifically. The bite-sized format fits well with on-the-go learning.

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    Contextual & StreetHawk Inc 2023.