Self-directed and informal learning is on the rise, and as we mentioned in our microlearning webinar last week, self-directed microlearning is everywhere around us.

While you may not know it, some of those apps on your phone – or some of those articles and videos you’ve been reading or watching on it – are excellent examples of microlearning. While microlearning can take on many forms, the premise is clear: give learners short, sharp pieces of information that are easily digestible.

Missed out on our webinar last week? You can catch the full recording over here.

Microlearning App Examples

Duolingo It’s everyone’s favourite language tool. Thanks to Duolingo, I freshened up on my French skills from school, can finally understand what my mum was saying in Hungarian all those years and, as a bonus, learned how to say a few phrases in German and Italian for my next big adventure. Long story short, Duolingo makes learning more accessible in a fun, gamified way.

Rapid-fire questions, flat-design icons and graphics and the ability to speak, listen and write the language make this app a joy to use. The voice recognition technology will literally tell me if I’m mispronouncing something, and will give me several opportunities to fix where I went wrong, so I can improve my Quebecois French accent into a Parisian one. The learning is chunked into pronouns or particular classes of nouns.

The creators of Duolingo have also added a social learning element with the inclusion of social clubs, where language learners can join and keep track of each other’s app use and progress. A weekly leaderboard fosters competition and encourages learners to keep their self-directed learning on track through peer motivation. This might be an improvement over their previously annoying notifications whenever I missed a lesson or two.

Primer – Google’s Primer app teaches you new digital marketing skills  in five minutes. “What would you like to be primed on today?” pops up once you load the app. Its categories include content, strategy measurement and advertisement, with sub-topics in each.

It takes a mere five minutes to learn a new skill, with assessments along the way to ensure you understand what you’re learning. You receive a handy personalised checklist once your five minutes are up to ensure you can use these new skills in real life.

Thanks to everyone at Google who came up with this dream of an app to make marketing easier for everyone to understand and apply.

Microlearning Video Examples

Video is the clear winner when it comes to dominant content in the modern world. We’re streaming more video than ever in Australia, as we have to catch up to our North American neighbours who can now boast that 37% of their traffic is from Netflix alone. It’s been reported that by 2019, 80% of all internet traffic will consist of video.

So how does video fit in the context of microlearning?

  • Video presents material in form that’s popular worldwide (YouTube, Vimeo, TED Talks, Snapchat, Instagram Video, Facebook Live, etc.).
  • People can naturally process visuals 60,000 times faster than text because they’re easier to digest and minimise the content’s cognitive load (plus storytelling doesn’t hurt).
  • A highly-focused microlearning video can have a huge impact in performing an action better and retention.

So let’s look at some examples of microlearning videos:

MinutePhysics – If you’re feeling like a Penny lodged between a Sheldon and a Leonard (read: a noob in a world of physics), MinutePhysics can save the day. Sixty bite-sized video lessons distil how the world works by using time-lapsed drawings, making science easy to understand and – dare I say – wicked cool. You can gain access to a monitored community (another example of social learning) and track your progress as you learn. While you may not be Einstein by the time you finish all the videos, at least you’ll have some dinner party fodder.

Tastemade –  Tastemade delivers 60-second (or shorter) cooking videos, making it easy to see how to make a new dish or expand your oeuvre of go-to dinner recipes. The quick and easy videos make cooking look like a breeze and reiterates the idea that anyone can cook.

Huda Kattan – Learn from the makeup artist turned bona fide internet sensation/entrepreneur, all with the help of her informative, easily digestible makeup application videos on her YouTube and Instagram channels. Better yet, she curates makeup application videos from some of her favourites, all on her Instagram feed (sounds familiar – curated social learning, peeps ). Want to learn how to create the perfect cat eye? Want to master the dewy au naturale look? Huda’s got you covered so you can look sweet as  before a night out.

And there you have it

This is far from an exhaustive list, and I haven’t even covered the numerous email-based microlearning subscriptions to learn how to be a graphic designer with HackDesign, or Chrome apps like Mainichi  that use flash-cards on a new tab to help you learn a new Japanese word . However, it might give you a better idea of what microlearning looks like in some modern-day examples, and get you thinking about how it could fit into your next learning and development program.

But what I really want to know is: what’s your favourite example of microlearning? Leave a comment below with some of your must-see examples!