The Science Behind Microlearning

Microlearning is a growing trend in the corporate training and education sectors. It has emerged as a response to the shortcomings of traditional learning methods, offering a new approach to organizing the content and duration of study sessions. Microlearning promotes dividing learning content into smaller and more manageable portions that take less time to process. The learning units usually don’t take more than five minutes to complete.

Due to the extensive use of social media and other online resources, people are already used to consuming content at a quick pace. Thus, applying the same principles to learning, i.e., delivering learning materials in short bursts, seems only logical. Not only does this appeal to people, but microlearning also supports the cognitive processes that are involved in learning. You can save time by memorizing the essential information in one sitting, enjoying the flexibility of content delivery, and, most importantly, increasing knowledge retention. 

Attention is a limited resource. There is no need to force yourself to study and push yourself to exhaustion. Instead, you can look for an essay writing service and pay for paper writing with native writers to have more free time to restore your energy. This will bring back your attention and make it easier to stay focused on tasks that matter.

The features and benefits of microlearning might seem too good to be true. However, they are backed by years of research on how the brain works. Let’s take a closer look at the science behind microlearning.


When you’re listening to a two-hour lecture or reading a lengthy chapter of a textbook, you can’t help but experience the shifts of attention to unwanted or unintentional distractions that lower the efficiency of your learning. According to the study carried out by Stacey Stothard of Skipton Building Society, 14 minutes is the average attention span. This means that you’re likely to lose focus 15 minutes into a lecture. 

Without focus and meaningful engagement with the learning content, you can’t reach the desired learning objective. No matter how much time or effort you invest into it, comprehension and retention rates will stay low. 

Microlearning allows you to address the attention span issue. Its units rarely take more than five minutes to absorb. Therefore, you can maintain concentration throughout the whole process and have small breaks in between learning units to refresh and come back to learning being fully focused. 

Cognitive Load

Traditional approaches to learning often overlook the limited capacity of working memory. It determines the amount of knowledge you can process and transfer into long-term memory. When you’re having long study sessions and dealing with extensive learning content, there’s a good chance that a major part of the information won’t be retained. This happens because of cognitive overload. 

In contrast, microlearning aims to help you absorb all the information you learn, structuring the content into bite-sized study sessions. Small portions of content are much easier to handle. Besides, you can lighten the cognitive load by entrusting your assignments to an academic writing service. To find a good one, you can check reviews on Reducing the amount of content you need to deal with in one sitting makes learning less stressful and exhausting. 

Neural Pathways

In a nutshell, when you learn something new, a new neural pathway appears in your brain. It can either become stronger and last over time or become weak and even disappear if the piece of information won’t be recalled again. 

The use of the information promotes better retention. When you actively recall what you’ve just learned, the information becomes embedded into your long-term memory. With every new repetition, the neural pathways become stronger and more lasting. 

The design of microlearning courses supports this process offering the option to review content on demand. It also functions as part of the workflow or coursework. Thus, when learners get new information, they immediately use it to solve actual problems. As a result, repetition and active recall allow knowledge to sink in. 

Long-Term Memory

Based on the findings of Hermann Ebbinghaus, the efficiency and productivity of learning grow when study sessions are spaced out over time. Otherwise, you’ll forget around half of the information you’ve been trying to learn within the first day. In a month, you’ll be able to recall only 10% of the material.

To process information and transfer it into long-term memory, the brain needs some time and several repetitions after consistent intervals. With each review, the forgetting curve becomes less steep. It’s the only way to slow down the process of forgetting and be able to recall information after a long time. 

Microlearning supports the spacing effect by offering short lessons that are intended to be consumed and reviewed over time. This allows creating long-term memories and reinforces learning.


The principles of microlearning are designed and implemented based on the study of brain function and learning. This allows it to be effective and deliver positive learning outcomes. Microlearning supports a healthy cognitive load, better retention and focus, and spacing effect. A science-based approach of microlearning maximizes students’ results and reinforces learning strategies.