The Top 10 Microlearning Examples in Everyday Life
(per the expert team of learning professionals at mLevel)
This is a follow up to one of our most popular blog posts, The Top 10 Gamification Examples in Everyday Life.
Microlearning is one of the biggest buzzwords in the L&D space today, but chances are you’re already experiencing all kinds of microlearning examples and scenarios in your day-to-day life.
I am not going to go in depth about definitions and the science behind microlearning and gamification in this article, so if you want more background, check out our recent webinar with Karl Kapp, Author of The Gamification of Learning and Instruction as part of our Expert Series. It’s about an hour long but keeping with the theme of this article, our Marketing Coordinator, Kim, turned it into a micro-webinar that is just over 12 minutes and gives you all of the relevancy you are likely looking for without the fluff.
Besides, there is an old joke that demonstrates all you really need to know about microlearning. It goes something like this:
Q: “How do you eat an elephant?”
A: “One bite at a time.”
Learning content must be digestible (pun intended), meaning it is relevant, engaging and easy to consume (multi-channel and just in time). The results compared to traditional training yield exponential gains in knowledge as well as a corresponding reduction in production time and costs. Without industry standards that define elements like how long microlearning should last and how many topics get covered, a good rule of thumb is to stop when people stop engaging and learning. There is a reason that mLevel has a robust analytics platform. Because the standard for microlearning is “just enough” to optimize knowledge transfer and without detailed analytics, you really don’t know.
Since microlearning is so important in our learning approach, we asked our team members to think of some microlearning examples they use in life outside of mLevel.
Here are the Top 10 Microlearning Examples in Everyday Life from the very talented team at mLevel:
Microlearning in Everyday Life Example #1
-submitted by Colin Daymude, Director of Marketing
Given that I am a marketer, one of my favorite Microlearning examples is Website design. At one point, I was certified in website analytics but without reinforcement, I have forgotten most of what I learned. Website design is a great example of microlearning that is analytics-driven and I’m going to use the easy fallback of Apple as my example. To optimize website traffic and conversion results, marketers design, deploy, collect data, make adjustments (many times, micro adjustments), rinse and repeat. With many companies, including mLevel, that process happens on a monthly basis and it needs to with your learning initiatives too.
Here’s a fun look at the evolution of Apple’s website based on the Wayback Machine. See if you notice the common theme between the earliest version of their website and now.
Quite an evolution and although the results are dramatic, no one notices the incremental adjustments that create the modern, very successful end result.
Microlearning in Everyday Life Example #2
-submitted by Colin Daymude Director of Marketing
If you’ve been reading our content for a while, you may recall a post I did about a cycling accident I had last May. I went from mile 47 of the Silver Comet Trail to the closest hospital via ambulance. I had a broken collarbone, 4 broken ribs and a punctured lung. The collapsed lung is the dangerous part; the rest is just an annoyance (although very painful when you sneeze). You can read that article here, but to sum it up, my lungs had to “learn” to function properly and gain strength by employing a simple tool in small increments each hour that I was awake. It was the only path to proper healing.
That is just the lead in to Microlearning Example #2. After I was mostly healed, I got back in the saddle and in September of last year, I conducted a detailed analysis of what it would take for me to complete an Ironman Triathlon. I had not really give it much consideration in the past, probably because just completing a marathon (which in an Ironman, is done directly after a 2.4 mile open water swim and 112 mile bike ride) was an immense undertaking for me.
Breaking down the Ironman components included literally hundreds of microdata points that encompassed running, clothing (for all three sports), swimming, nutrition, money (don’t take that one lightly), travel, logistics, biking, supporting equipment like GPS, heart rate monitors, power meters, aero bars, stroke analysis, cadence…whew. The list is seemingly endless, but the point is that no one successfully completes an Ironman without breaking the components down and testing each one over and over in true microlearning fashion over many months and for some people, years. The data and the analytics are critical to being able to make adjustments to optimize performance and I use a variety of tools to help me including a Garmin Multi-sport GPS watch connected to multiple tracking applications like Strava, TrainingPeaks and Garmin Connect.
That kind of “real-life” microlearning is a great example of the 70:20:10 model for learning and development and also the topic of our next Expert Webinar series with Bob Mosher. You can register or view the replay here.
Microlearning in Everyday Life Example #3
-submitted by Ashley Kiebach, Senior Account Strategist
Endless Reader is a perfect microlearning app for children and really the only app that I let Henry, my son, “play” on the iPhone or iPad.
Endless Reader introduces kids to sight words and phonics with interactive animations that demonstrate the meaning of the words as well as how to spell them. Each word is presented as a card inside a monster’s mouth.
Kids scroll through the cards to choose the word they want to explore. When they tap the card, they’ll hear the word and see it written before it gets scrambled up. Kids then use the outline of the word’s letters to match the right letter and drag it into place in the word.
As they touch the letter, they’ll hear its phonetic sound and name. They’ll then drag different sight words into place in a sentence. The sentence will be read aloud with a cute animation demonstrating the sentence. From there, kids can play around with the animation, tapping to see letters fly around, listen to the sentence again, or move on to another word and letter.
It has really advanced Henry’s skills and vocabulary and he has been using it since he was 2. He can recognize letters and words at only 3 years old. Now that my youngest son, Wade, just turned 2, he will be introduced to this program in the very near future.
Microlearning in Everyday Life Example #4
-submitted by Ashley Kiebach, Senior Account Strategist
Chordbuddy is a unique program designed to help anyone – any age – learn the guitar. After watching his daughter struggle with the guitar, Travis Perry devised a system that earned him a spot on the TV show “Shark Tank” and a hefty investment. I recommended the program to a friend as a way for her daughter to learn the guitar.
Chordbuddy works like any other micro learning program. Spanned over two months and broken down into micro lessons, users will begin to understand different chords via a color-coordinated device. The color-coordinated device works to slowly train the fingers on proper placement to hit the correct notes. After several lessons, the device is removed from the guitar and the songs are played by muscle memory and understanding. Each color-coordinated piece can be removed one at a time, for a true micro learning step-by-step lesson. In addition, the lessons gradually cover different strumming rhythms and timing.
Microlearning in Everyday Life Example #5
-submitted by Josh Gertz, Business Development Executive
I have to admit that this is a shameless plug for mLevel but it’s also personal. I have three kids and one of them was struggling with 8th Grade French and couldn’t make a breakthrough with traditional methods at her school. So, I decided to put mLevel’s microlearning and gamification platform to good use and created a mission for her to study for her midterm exam.
With 2 weeks practice using mLevel she went from not having scored higher than 75% on previous exams to getting a 90% on her midterm. The best part was this all required a fraction of the amount of time and effort that she would have spent in school or one on one with a tutor.
I knew what to focus on so she only got the information she needed (relevancy) in the way she liked it (digestible). The “mission” was made up of 3 activities and the cool thing is that I knew what she struggled with because along the way I got real time data from the mLevel analytics platform.
Microlearning in Everyday Life Example #6
-submitted by Kim Stabenow, Marketing Coordinator
As a part time yoga teacher and wellness enthusiast, I have always been interested in meditation, but like most people it seems daunting and out of reach. How do I dedicate 30-60 minutes each day just for sitting still? Thankfully, Headspace introduced a way to meditate in an approachable micro format.
The app is free with a 10-day introduction course. Each day, you dedicate 5-10 minutes (depending on the format that day) to a guided meditation. Each session is narrated and is sure to make you feel relaxed.
According to the Headspace website, “Learning to meditate is like learning any other skill. Think of it like exercising a muscle that you’ve never really worked out before. It takes consistent practice to get comfortable. And it’s usually easier if you have a teacher. We’ve got you covered there.”
The idea that is over time, consistent meditation will build more awareness around your thoughts, feelings, and the world around you and can approach life without judgment.
Microlearning in Everyday Life Example #7
-submitted by Kim Stabenow, Marketing Coordinator
Most of us took a second language in middle school and high school, but not many carry the language beyond college. However, when traveling, being able to speak the native language (or at least a few key phrases) can be essential.
Duolingo may be the most popular micro learning app available to the masses for learning a new language. The app starts by assessing your current knowledge of the language. From there, you’re assigned different modules that are made up of several lessons – like common phrases, animals, and food. The app recommends you spend just 10 minutes each day on the lessons.
Duolingo transforms the experience into short bursts of learning by breaking everything up into small, measurable goals. As you go through a lesson, you’ll know instantly if you got a question wrong (much like mLevel’s user experience). Users are given scores and a pass or fail grade. After passing through one module, you’re able to move to the next.
In addition, Duolingo makes learning a new language exciting by exclaiming proficiency at the end of a lesson. The other day, I was told I’m “14% fluent in Spanish!” Not something to phone home about, but still an accomplishment.
In summary, microlearning should just be called learning because it has proven to be the most effective and most efficient method of optimizing knowledge transfer. Traditional training should be referred to as macro-learning which is a better description of event-based vs. process-based methods.
Some of the most rudimentary yet most powerful examples of microlearning showing up in our everyday lives are taken for granted because people take the incremental learning for granted. It’s not the big show that makes the greatest impact, it’s the gradual transformation that occurs with faith in the process. And that is precisely why corporate America still struggles with adopting micro-learning strategies. To learn more about how to incorporate microlearning and gamification elements into your training initiatives, contact me directly at firstname.lastname@example.org or schedule a walk-through of the platform here.