RESEARCH TRIANGLE PARK – Trying to keep up with all the information coming at them can leave busy professionals feeling overwhelmed and unprepared. While it might be tempting to tune out, leaders know that information drives innovation and the ability to react quickly to changing markets, demographics, and consumer trends. 

Team leaders and modern workers need a learning strategy that is fast, engaging, and effective. In other words, they need microlearning.

Most people can only devote 1 percent of their workweek to training and development, so it’s important to make every minute count. Microlearning optimizes that tiny window of time by providing information quickly and directly. According to a study in the Journal of Applied Psychology, learning in short, bite-sized pieces makes learning 17% more efficient. Microlearning also improves learning and supports long-term knowledge retention by up to 80%

Why now? 

The demand for microlearning content has increased in the last few years, as workplaces have moved to remote work or hybrid office environments. Along with the distractions of the modern workplace – like emails, phone calls, and team notifications – remote and hybrid workers are also often managing pets, children, family members, and household distractions.

Microlearning is a proven way to effectively engage these distracted adult learners because it works with the brain. The average person’s attention span is somewhere between 3 and 11 minutes, and most people won’t watch a video that is more than 4 minutes long.

To suit different styles of learning, content might be presented in short videos, in-app tutorials, brief articles, podcasts, or even games. Each learner can go through the information at their own pace, repeating videos and modules as necessary to reinforce understanding and increase retention. 

Short videos are convenient and portable

In the same way people consult Instagram or YouTube for a new recipe or how to fix a household appliance, organizations and individuals can watch short videos to polish their professional skills. Employees can watch a short video while they’re eating lunch, watching their child’s basketball practice, or waiting for an appointment to start. 

For example, MicroVideos by The Diversity Movement is an award-winning microlearning platform containing more than 600 short videos to help individuals learn about diversity, equity, and inclusion no matter if they are in the office, working remotely, on a break or fitting corporate learning into their typical workday. Actionable tips and common scenarios help viewers put DEI principles into practice right away. Topics include: inclusive language, unconscious bias, LGBTQ+ and mental health. 

Podcasts and learning on the go

Listening to podcasts, like watching videos, allows you to learn from top thought leaders. They are also an excellent way to explore different cultures and hear different viewpoints. Podcasts come in a vast variety of topics and formats, so you will likely find something useful and educational, whether it’s on general business, entrepreneurship or human resources.

And while podcasts aren’t really microlearning, because they can last up to an hour or more, they are convenient because they allow you to easily multitask. Whether you’re on a walk with the dog or on your way to work, you can hear from DEI experts, leaders, and educators on Diversity Beyond the Checkbox with host Jackie Ferguson or learn about High Octane Leadership from Donald Thompson. 

Coffee and conversation

Spending time learning from another person, even if it’s only 15 minutes, can jumpstart personal and professional growth. This in-person microlearning strategy can be especially enjoyable, because even busy professionals find it easy to make time for an early morning coffee chat, whether in person or over Zoom. The hardest part is asking someone if they would be willing to share a cup of coffee and talk about their expertise. 

However, most people are willing, especially with someone who’s eager to learn. It doesn’t matter what you look like, where you come from or what age or ethnicity you are, your hunger for knowledge and self-improvement will create connection and common ground. 

Each of these microlearning strategies depend on a commitment to learning and curiosity. The Diversity Movement helps build culture-centric organizations and workforces through on-demand courses and certification programs, cutting-edge content and its award-winning MicroVideos microlearning library


Brentley Wright is a DEI Advisor for DEI Navigator members at The Diversity Movement. He is a lifelong learner and leader focused on accomplishing transformational workplace change and earned his Diversity and Inclusion Certificate from Cornell University. Connect with him on Linkedin.