6 Research-Based Microlearning Video Best Practices

Karina Kasparova
April 27, 2023

Microlearning is an approach to employee training that delivers small, bite-sized pieces of information to learners.

Microlearning videos, in particular, have become a popular tool for organizations looking to provide quick and effective training to their employees. But how can you ensure that your microlearning videos are truly effective?

In this blog post, we'll explore 6 research-based best practices for creating microlearning videos that engage learners and drive results.

Whether you're new to microlearning or looking to turn your existing videos into microlearning modules, these best practices will help you create effective and engaging content that delivers real learning outcomes.

Let’s dive in! 

What is a micro-learning video? 

The basic idea behind a micro-learning video is simple: Provide learners with short, focused lessons that break a complex concept or task into small, manageable chunks. 

Instead of trying to learn everything in one big session, a microlearning video allows you to learn a little bit at a time in short bursts. 

You can use microlearning videos combined with flashcard learning platforms, quizzes, infographics, and more. For example, companies like Noom and Duolingo use microlearning principles to quickly help users from the very first day. 

Did you know? 🤔

Deloitte found that the average employee can dedicate just 1% of their working time to learning. That’s under 30 minutes per week, or just under 5 minutes per day. Microlearning videos are a great way to help time-strapped employees upskill consistently. 

When should you use microlearning videos?

Microlearning videos are effective if you have a clear-cut learning objective that requires a high rate of knowledge retention, but it's not always the answer. Sometimes a long lecture is more effective at getting your point across.

For example, scientist Andrew Stuart's Blended Learning Approach found that longer, interactive training sessions are better for developing leadership skills than short microlearning sessions. 

That said, if your employees are strapped for time, you can easily break up a long video lecture into multiple microlearning videos that deliver a similar result.

So before you jump to create microlearning videos, consider if your use case is appropriate.

Use microlearning videos to: 

✅ Teach a complicated tool with many features or steps.

✅ Reduce the time commitment to learning.

✅ Create on-demand training program with a clear learning objective.

✅ Naturally include physical tasks between lessons.

Don’t use microlearning videos to: 

❌ Teach in-depth soft skills.

❌ Unnessesarily break up tutorials focused on one task. 

❌ Substitute bringing in subject-matter experts for in-person training.

Example 📚

Onboarding new employees is a perfect use-case for microlearning videos as it helps reduce the overwhelm new hires might experience. Check out this video on company culture and values. This single microlearning video could easily be used as part of a welcome module for an employee’s first week. 

Company Culture and Values | Free Talking-Head AI Video Template

#1: Concentrate on one specific learning outcome

Focus on one specific learning outcome per microlearning video. 

This is the most important idea behind the principles of microlearning.

By honing in on a single goal, you can create targeted and effective content that helps employees retain the information they’ve learned.

Beyond common sense, science also backs up the idea of focusing on a simple concept. In 1956, a scientific paper titled “The magical number seven” promoted the idea that the human brain could only hold seven items in their working memory at the same time. 

Since then, we’ve proved there's a little leeway in those numbers, but the general concept still holds true. There’s a limit on the number of things we can remember clearly in one sitting. 

So keep your content as concise and focused if possible. And employees will retain it far better.

#2: Keep your script short and sweet

Have you heard? Microsoft claims the average attention span of a Canadian is about… 8 seconds.

While there’s plenty of evidence that this isn’t psychologically true (the BBC, for one, disagrees), it certainly points us in the direction of writing a script that gets to the point fast. 

There's plenty of evidence to suggest the shorter your video, the more it will be watched. For YouTube videos, creators assume the majority of viewers will only get 50% through a video. Throw in TikTok culture, which has us watching videos that are a maximum length of 3 minutes, and it’s clear why it's important to get to the point if you want to create a successful microlearning video.

While it may be tempting to cover a lot of ground, lengthy introductions, and conclusions are unnecessary for these bite-sized videos.

And if you need more proof to make your eLearning video as short as possible: The average engagement rate for videos longer than 30 minutes is just 33%. On the flip side, videos under 3 minutes have a 59% engagement rate.

Further reading 📚

Write a compelling video script that hooks employees from start to finish for your next microlearning video.

#3: Reinforce knowledge with real-world examples or stats

Reinforcing your lessons with story-telling, real-world examples, data, stats, and charts is proven to improve retention. Here’s the proof: 

❓A Harvard study found participants who are presented with statistics are able to remember information 20% better than those who were not. 

❓ Participants presented with information and real-world examples were able to recall 66% of the information a week later, outperforming the control by almost 100%.

One study found that when presented with data, only 5% of participants could remember the statistics, but when the same data was presented in a story format, 63% of participants were able to remember the information.

When creating your microlearning videos, don't forget to incorporate statistics, real-world examples, and stories.

Tip 💡

Too many statistics or confusing charts and graphs make learners feel overwhelmed or confused. Remember to keep it simple and to the point!

#4: Help expand knowledge by including links to additional training materials

Providing users with a net of information that supports their learning is super important. 🧠

These resources can be incredibly valuable for deepening their understanding and equipping your employees with the tools they need:

  • 90% of learners felt that having access to additional resources like videos, articles, and eBooks helped them to learn and develop their skills.
  • 84% of respondents believed that incorporating additional resources such as videos, articles, and interactive content would increase the effectiveness of their training programs.
  • Students who were given links to additional resources during lectures had higher levels of engagement and retention of information. This suggests that providing additional resources can be an effective way to enhance learning outcomes.

Support employee learning and create microlearning materials that further elaborate on learning objectives with links to articles, videos, podcasts, and online courses.

Tip 💡

Consider using a "second brain" app like Notion, which can help your team capture, organize, and share all your microlearning curriculum materials in one place.

#5: Do a quick in-video test or knowledge check for better employee training

It's not always easy to know if your team is really absorbing the material. To enhance the effectiveness of employee training, consider incorporating quick in-video tests or knowledge checks.

In the book “Learn Better” by Ulrich Boser, it’s mentioned that self-quizzing is 50% more effective than some other learning strategies. In context, that means taking tests that force you to recall the knowledge you learned is an extremely effective way to improve your recall. 

If you include those quizzes directly into your video training, you’ll help employees actually learn the new skill rather than just passively absorb the information. 

Tip 💡

Easily combine quiz slides with your videos to fully engage learners in your microlearning course.

How to Make Video Quizzes in Storyline

#6: Save time by creating microlearning videos using AI

With AI-powered video creation tools, you can quickly and easily create engaging and professional videos in a fraction of the time. Plus, you don't need any technical expertise or design skills during the video creation process.

Here are three real-life examples of microlearning videos in action: 

Bestseller cuts 50% classroom time with AI video 

By using Synthesia to create on-demand learning content, employees reduced time in the classroom by 50%. Their L&D team cut their video production time in half, allowing them to take on more projects and produce multiple videos in a single day. 

Maryville University saves 35% of time creating lectures 

In less than 8 months, Maryville published a total of 85 training videos. Their learning design team is able to save 35% of the time compared to their previous training creation processes. 

Forecast reduced course creation time by 50% 

Forecast reduced the time it takes to create a full-length course has 50% — from one month to just 14 days. 

Looking to save time on creating microlearning videos? 

Check out this helpful guide to help you create microlearning videos for your learning objective in under 30 minutes!

Make your first microlearning video with this simple template

Looking to incorporate micro-learning into your employee training program but need help figuring out where to start? Duplicate this microlearning video template today and get started. 

Frequently Asked Questions