Microlearning: What it is and how to use it in your eLearning Design

Microlearning: What it is and how to use it in your eLearning Design

With shrinking attention spans, better technology, and an era of “instant access,” the way people learn is beginning to change. The top-down approach where content is pushed to learners is out-of-date. Now, the learner wants to (and should) be able to drive the experience as much as possible. While microlearning itself is not a new concept, technology has made creating these forms of learning much more timely and cost effective. Thus, it has been making waves in the industry as an effective tool to give employees the resources they need, when they need them. This post will explore what microlearning is and how you can effectively use it in your own eLearning design.

According to eLearning Industry, microlearning is “a way of teaching and delivering content to learners in small, very specific bursts.” According to most eLearning experts, microlearning should be 5 minutes or less…that is definitely micro! While microlearning can take many different forms, microlearning is not for every topic or for everyone. The content being presented, the intended audience, and the purpose of the training (i.e. what we hope the learner will be able to do because of the training), should dictate the form in which the content is presented.

The remainder of this blog outlines several formats that we believe are effective in delivering content to learners. We’ll start with the basics, and work our way up to the fun stuff.


1. Narrated Presentations

Sure, we’ve all seen narrated slide drives. These are just basic narrated presentations that can be created in a program such as PowerPoint, Office Mix, or Camtasia. This is one of the easiest ways to quickly convert existing content into something the learner can access at their moment of need. Let’s be clear – no one enjoys a boring slide drive with no animation or interactivity. Do not just reuse your slides from an instructor-led course. For example, polling questions, multiple choice, or true-false questions can be used strategically to quickly check that the learner can apply the concepts discussed. The use of animation, screen capture, or even video will help add visual interest and/or aid in explaining complex topics and keep the microlearning interesting.


2. Video-based Learning

While microlearning has been an incredibly hot topic, video-based learning may generate even more buzz! While using video in learning has been around for a long time, it’s been gaining a lot of attention lately, because technology has made it so much easier (and cheaper) to produce. Let’s quickly explore a few types of video that can be used in microlearning.

Explainer Video:

Explainer videos are created using animation authoring tools like VideoScribe or GoAnimate. An animated explainer video is an engaging and fun tool to explain complex topics to learners in an entertaining and effective way. Explainer videos could be simple white board animations or more complex animations with characters and storylines. GAAP Dynamics has created a few explainer videos. Here you can check out one on fair value hedging, functional currency, and the new revenue recognition standard.

Traditional Video:

Traditional video can take many shapes and forms. It can be professionally produced by a production crew with professional audio and even with actors, or it can be as simple as someone opening their laptop and pressing the record button. Costs and timelines can vary depending on the level of production. Both have their advantages and disadvantages. For a quick example, check out our GAAP Chats – Step 5 of New Revenue Recognition Standard

Interactive Video:

Interactive video is a new video format and it has been gaining traction quickly in the eLearning community. Interactive video does just what it suggests – it gives the learner the opportunity to interact with the video as it is playing. Perhaps the learner can click to learn more and be taken to another page or perhaps the learner can help guide a character on his journey.

3. eLearning

The last major type of potential microlearning platform would be traditional eLearning. Traditional eLearning can be created using a variety of different programs such as Articulate’s Storyline 360 or Adobe Captivate. It can involve a high degree of interactivity, video, animation, or anything else you can dream up! But remember, it must stick to a very short timeline. 

As you can see, microlearning can take on many different forms. The right modality for you should be based on a variety of factors including what the learner needs to be able to know or do after taking the microlearning, the budget and timing constraints, and the technology considerations applicable to your organization.

We’re a DIFFERENT type of accounting training firm. We don’t think of training as a “tick the box” exercise, but rather an opportunity to empower your people to help them make the right decisions at the right time. Whether it’s U.S. GAAP training, IFRS training, or audit training, we’ve helped thousands of professionals since 2001. Our clients include some of the largest accounting firms and companies in the world. As lifelong learners, we believe training is important. As CPAs, we believe great training is vital to doing your job well and maintaining the public trust. We want to help you understand complex accounting matters and we believe you deserve the best training in the world, regardless of whether you work for a large, multinational company or a small, regional accounting firm. We passionately create high-quality training that we would want to take. This means it is accurate, relevant, engaging, visually appealing, and fun. That’s our brand promise. Want to learn more about how GAAP Dynamics can help you? Let’s talk!


This post is published to spread the love of GAAP and provided for informational purposes only. Although we are CPAs and have made every effort to ensure the factual accuracy of the post as of the date it was published, we are not responsible for your ultimate compliance with accounting or auditing standards and you agree not to hold us responsible for such. In addition, we take no responsibility for updating old posts, but may do so from time to time.

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