How to Improve Training Outcomes with Microlearning Interventions

Jul 8, 2024

Attention spans and the forgetting curve contribute to learning fatigue and less impactful training.

Create Continuous Learning with Microlearning

The need of the hour is outcome-based training that helps learners in the moment of their need. What’s better than microlearning to implement this? In this article, I will focus on how to improve training outcomes through microlearning interventions.

The Forgetting Curve

It has been established that people tend to forget the stuff they learned over a period of time. For example, a training session happens today. After 7 days, the learners retain only about 10% of what they learned in the session. This decline is known as the “forgetting curve.” The curve shows how quickly we forget information over a period of time when there is no intervening attempt to retain it.

The 70:20:10 model also states that only 10% of learning is through formal training, and the rest is from the informal learning mechanism or from on-the-job training. Why, then, do organizations still invest a lot of money and resources in formal training?

The reasons are manifold. However, one of the main reasons is that Learning and Development (L&D) has stuck to the tried and tested models of training. Moreover, L&D has seen itself as only a support function, rather than as a business enabler. The L&D professionals set up the training calendar, roll out the training as per the schedule, and their job is done.

The good news is that L&D is reinventing itself, especially in a post-COVID-19 world. To stay relevant to today’s challenges, L&D professionals are coming up with unique ideas and looking at their function more holistically.

The Power of Microlearning in the Continuous Learning Journey

In my recent interactions with L&D professionals and customers, I have been advocating for increased usage of microlearning as a great tool to enable better learning, improved retention of concepts, and more importantly, as a tool that helps apply the concepts learned on the job.

Microlearning has become a great tool to ensure that the forgetting curve is taken care of. Let me explain how.

Microlearning mainly focuses on a specific objective, cuts out all the fluff, and supports the main training or learning journey. It is an action-oriented or task-oriented approach of offering bite-sized learning that gets learners to learn and practice. Thus, it helps create better understanding and therefore better retention of the concepts learned. Microlearning can be administered just before an eLearning or VILT session, or a few days after the formal training as a reinforcement of key learnings. It will certainly help learners remember the concepts well.

As an effect of this reinforcement, learners are subtly encouraged to apply the concepts in their job. This is supported by Pavlov’s famous research. With microlearning becoming a part of a continuous learning cycle, learners pay better attention to the subject at hand.

Another major advantage of microlearning is that it can be created and administered in a variety of formats. In my previous article, “5 Microlearning Formats to Use in 2020 for Maximum Impact ,” I mentioned some popular formats that can be used as good microlearning interventions. These formats include videos, gamification, quizzes, podcasts, activities, and much more.

In a nutshell, microlearning can be implemented in the following manner:

At Tesseract Learning, we have implemented microlearning as a Just-In-Time learning intervention.

Here are a few examples.

1. Drug Discovery

In this course, we have used a decision-tree activity to ensure employees’ understanding of drug discovery concepts and process. Learners found it interesting and the course completion rate was 95%.

2. Compliance

This is a short and engaging scenario-based interactive microlearning course. Learners liked this idea very much and the course completion rate was 100%.

3. Banking Products

We designed this microlearning course using a variety of interactive templates, sliders, and flip cards to explain the concepts. Learners found it extremely interesting and the course completion rate was 98%.


To conclude, microlearning can be used as part of the continuous learning journey or as a part of employees’ learning cycle at an organization. It is a good tool that can be leveraged effectively to overcome the forgetting curve.

By Suresh Kumar DN