December 5, 2023

Keep them short, sharp and relevant

One of the biggest challenges facing learning and development leaders today is capturing student attention spans. At the same time, the volume, speed and complexity of change require learning speed. Today’s students are primarily Gen Z and have an attention span between 8 and 12 seconds. Microlearning videos are an effective way to capture and retain such short attention spans. Microlearning is learning that is delivered in short, compact chunks. Microlearning videos are short, concise videos, typically 30 seconds to 3 minutes in length, designed to deliver specific information in a concise and engaging way. These videos often contain visuals or graphics to help reinforce the learning being delivered. They are a key trend of 2023 that will continue to grow.

The benefits of microlearning videos

Microlearning videos can be used in a variety of learning experiences, including teaching the practical steps of a process, offering a deeper dive into a critical aspect of a topic, or creating a sequence of learning experiences. Some examples include micro videos on TikTok, YouTube, and Vimeo, among others. Microlearning videos offer several benefits, including convenience, engagement, time efficiency, customization, reinforcement, and accessibility.


Microlearning videos are convenient because they can be accessed from anywhere, anytime. Students can access these videos on their smartphone, desktop, laptop or tablet on the go, at home or in the office. This is especially valuable for students who may not be able to attend in-person training.


While learning and development teams often focus on creating well-written microlearning videos, social media like YouTube and TikTok have proven that clarity and brevity are far more important to keeping students engaged. Videos offer a visual and audio combination of images, graphics, voice, music, and concise information that can help students remember the learning material being communicated better and longer.

Time efficiency

Microlearning videos are typically 30 seconds to 3 minutes long. Video time constraints require videos to be crisp and to the point, allowing the student to save time while learning. Instead of spending hours searching for relevant content and sitting through long and tedious content, students can watch multiple microlearning videos and still get the same amount of learning.


Microlearning videos can be customized to meet an individual’s specific learning needs. Students can choose the videos most relevant to their learning goals and watch them at their own pace. This ensures that the student is not overwhelmed by irrelevant information and can focus on the areas where they need the most support.

Cost effectiveness

Microlearning videos can be more cost-effective than traditional learning methods. They eliminate the need for expensive textbooks and resources and are often free or more affordable than in-person training. Great examples of microlearning videos are those offered by,, and BigThink. This can be especially useful for organizations that work on a tight budget and for students looking for ways to increase their skills without putting a strain on their wallet or purse.


Microlearning videos can be used to reinforce information already learned. Research on the Ebbinghaus forgetting curve shows that students forget 90% of what they learn within the next seven days. Microlearning videos can serve as memory joggers, nudges and refreshers of critical microlearning. For example, if a student has already completed a course or training program, they can watch microlearning videos to reinforce the key concepts and ideas of the program. Reinforcement is essential because students can receive prompts and reminders on their smart devices to watch a specific micro-video to refresh their learning.


Microlearning videos can be accessed by anyone, regardless of age, background or circumstances, via desktop, laptop or smart device. This makes learning more inclusive and accessible, which is particularly important when implementing diversity, equity, inclusion and belonging.

Disadvantages of microlearning videos

While microlearning videos offer several advantages, they also have some key disadvantages that you and your team will need to consider, including limited scope and limited interaction with the student.

  • Limited range
    Due to their short duration, microlearning videos may not be able to cover complex topics comprehensively. This could result in a lack of depth and detail, which can lead to an incomplete understanding of the topic.
  • Limited student interaction
    Microlearning videos are usually a one-way form of communication. The student passively watches the video without much opportunity to interact with the content or provide feedback to the content creators. As such, these videos may not be ideal for students who prefer a more hands-on and interactive learning experience.
  • Limited ability to measure learning outcomes
    Because of their brevity, microlearning videos may not provide enough information to properly assess a student’s understanding of the content. Well-structured microlearning videos align with one or two learning objectives. While you may not be able to measure learning outcomes, you will be able to see how many views the video received, which indicates how engaging or valuable the content is to the students.
  • The possibility of information overload
    While these videos are designed to be short and to the point, there is still a risk of overwhelming students by trying to cram too much information into the video at once. This could lead to students feeling confused or overwhelmed, which will negatively affect their learning experience.


Microlearning videos provide a convenient, engaging and cost-effective way to learn and can be customized to meet an individual’s specific learning needs. They can help students achieve their educational goals more effectively and efficiently because they can learn faster and remember what they have learned longer. However, microlearning videos also carry four key disadvantages: limited scope, limited interaction with the learner, limited opportunity to measure learning outcomes, and potential information overload. These disadvantages are worth considering when designing learning for your organization. You weigh the pros and cons of these videos, gather student feedback and preferences, and begin your efforts. When you and your team want to jump-start skill development in your organization to help students develop their skills, explore new topics, and embrace life-long learning, you can explore microlearning video curation.

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