Micro-Instant Learning – Tip #123

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Instant learning suggests a sense of immediacy and urgency. It means understanding on-demand information and developing skills to perform a specific task precisely at the moment of need. The increasing complexity of jobs and the accelerating advances in technology necessitate workers to learn fast and develop skills needed to perform efficiently. In essence, there is a demand for the implementation of Microlearning to enable better workflow learning.

Here are some steps you can take to ensure you’re facilitating Microlearning in the workplace.

1 Be Learner-Focused

How would you feel if your mentor/trainer pushes you to learn what he/she wants you to learn? Allowing the learner to drive their learning makes the experience more engaging and immersive. The learner absorbs knowledge faster this way.

Bottom line: Place learners in the driver’s seat. Wear your learners’ glasses.
2 Create Micro-Lessons

Overloading learners with massive amounts of data (data dump) within a short period will slow down learning. Learners will get bored.
On the other hand, breaking down lessons into bite-sized portions can grease the wheels. Thus, a training nugget for each objective can accelerate learning.
Related Tip: Tip #108 – How to Create 5-Slide Microlearning – Tiny, Succinct, Fast
3 Leverage Learning Videos

English philosopher and physician John Locke once said that knowledge comes from our sensory experiences. In other words, we learn faster and remember lessons better when our senses are engaged.
One way to activate our senses is through watching videos. Learning videos not only activate our senses but also stimulate our imagination and enable us to create mental imagery.
Related Tip: Tip #63 – Five Best Videos on the Story-Based Design Approach
4 Embed Affective Context, Meaningful Scenarios

In a previous tip, I mentioned that unless you connect with the learner’s context, there is no connection, no learning. Creating this sense of relatability for the learners keeps them engaged. When they are emotionally involved, they care and this persuades them to act or apply the lessons learned.
Related Tip: Tip #86 – Is your content out of context or in context?
5 Use Real-World Examples and Tackle Real-World Problems

It’s also imperative for trainers and designers to align content with real-life scenarios, such as real-life blunders and fiascos, so learners can access it as needed. When examples have connection to the real world, learners are mentally and emotionally engaged and see the immediate need to act.
Related Tip: Tip #95 – Adding Provocative Stories to Really Boring eLearning
6 Implement Simple Rules

Simple rules help workers know what to do on the job and perform their tasks effectively. Unlike traditional on-the-job support, simple rules are easily accessible and immediately useful.
Examples of simple rules include Rule of Thumb, Stopping Rules, and Boundary Rules. Read more about simple rules and their role and application in instant learning or Microlearning here.
Consider the two images below. In Image 1, we see the PVC Extruder operational guide and schematic, which takes time to read and understand. Now take a look at Image 2; it’s a short instruction on when to stop the PVC extruder. Which of these would learners easily understand and apply on the job?

Image 1. PVC Extruder operational guide and schematic. (Click here for enlarged view.)

Image 2. PVC Extruder stopping rule.


In a rapidly changing and highly competitive environment, tasks become complex yet need to be completed immediately and effectively. It is therefore imperative that workers learn instantly and develop skills they can use precisely at the moment of need. This is the primary goal of Microlearning.

Related tips

Tip #63 – Five Best Videos on the Story-Based Design Approach
Tip #86 – Is your content out of context or in context?
Tip #95 – Adding Provocative Stories to Really Boring eLearning
Tip #108 – How to Create 5-Slide Microlearning – Tiny, Succinct, Fast


Nick Shackleton-Jones. Towards a Working Theory of Learning: The Affective Context Model.
aconventional, May 5, 2010. Ray Jimenez. Instant Learning: How it works and how to make it happen?. Vignettes Learning Blog, April 21, 2011
Tip #35 – Instant Learning Impacts Performance: One Idea, One Action Learning Events
Tip #48 – Stop That Dump Truck! Ask Questions to Know What is Important for Learners
Tip #50 – Have You Worn the Learners’ Glasses?
Tip #53 – How Small Should Small Bites Learning Be?
Tip #87 – Why Simple Rules Produce Instant Learning and Application
Tip #121 – Stories of Real-Life Fiascos and Blunders Motivate Learners

Ray Jimenez, PhD
Vignettes Learning
“Helping Learners Learn Their Way”

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