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Microlearning an Evolving Elearning Trend


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This article is analyzing the meanings of the micro-learning trend, as they have emerged and developed over the last few years. Exploring how the term micro-learning is used to organize and order a set of pedagogical and technological phenomena and concepts in new and interesting ways, it is brought into focus the most popular and widely used learning management platforms that embrace this concept.
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Scientific Bulletin
Vol. XXII No 1(43) 2017
Luminiţa GIURGIU
This article is analyzing the meanings of the micro-learning
trend, as they have emerged and developed over the last few years.
Exploring how the term micro-learning is used to organize and order
a set of pedagogical and technological phenomena and concepts in
new and interesting ways, it is brought into focus the most popular
and widely used learning management platforms that embrace this
Micro-learning, elearning, micro-content
1. Why micro-learning?
Social, economic and technological
everyday changes trigger new concepts and
strategies which support learning. Education
needs transformations in an appropriate
way in which we live, work and learn.
Recent studies indicate that a short content
may increase information retention by 20 %.
Researchers at Dresden University of
Technology in Germany have launched a
study to examine this issue.
It is well known that most e-learning
materials format is a piece of content,
followed by an evaluation question.
The study’s goal was to see if students
respond better to these questions when they
watched several small pieces of content
answering many appropriate questions, or
when they watched large amounts of
content with fewer evaluation sections.
So, the e-learning material was sixteen
chapters of content and the students were
divided into three groups, as following: the
first group responded to a question after
reading each of the 16 chapters; the second
group answered four questions after reading
each group of four chapters; group number
three received eight questions after each
half of the original text. Passing through
this first stage, in the second stage students
have supported the same test of multiple
choice items covering the whole course
Results demonstrated that smaller
slices content helped participants to better
retain information and better perform in
each of the two stages:
the first group took 28 % less time
to answer their assessment questions than
the third group, and did 20 % better;
the first group performed 8 %
better on the comprehensive test than the
students in the third group had to
read again more than three times the
number of sections than the first group did;
in the second stage of the study,
the first group accomplished 22.2 % better
DOI: 10.1515/bsaft-2017-0003
© 2017. This work is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 3.0 License.
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than the third group and 8.4 % better than
the second group.
Giving students a long content at once
leads to very little interaction between
information and the learner. This way, the
content may exceed the capacity of working
memory and drives to uncertainty in the
learning environment. Another facet of the
problem is that, knowing what is expected
with introduced information is crucial in an
easier retention.
So it has been proved that micro-
learning offers students the opportunity to
more easily absorb and retain the
information provided by the course lessons
and activities that are more manageable and
digestible. Micro-learning or Micro-
eLearning education is often referred to as
bite-sized because the entire educational
process is detached in small chunks that
usually last no longer than a few minutes.
The way micro-learning addresses
short size of learning content that is made
up of fine-grained, interconnected and
loosely-coupled short learning activities,
determines the focus on the individual
learning needs (Singh, 2014).
2. Micro-learning Associated Concepts
Influencing each other, micro-learning
is closely related to the following concepts:
Micro-content Micro-learning
and micro-content together define how to
deliver a quantity of knowledge and
information, structured in several short
chapters, fine-grained, well-defined and
interconnected. Micro-content refers to
information whose length is determined by
a single topic, content that covers a single
idea or concept and is accessible via a
single URL, being suitable for presentation
in handheld devices, emails, web-browsers.
Thus, micro-content is the part that
integrates into micro-learning.
Social software Through its main
feature to support social interaction, social
software brings together individuals with
different interests and different previous
knowledge via social networks, based on
collaboration. Micro-learning can be
supported by social software because it
allows on the one hand the rapid delivery of
content in short and flexible formats and,
on the other hand social interactions based
on that content.
Web 2.0 Since Web 2.0 encourages
the teaching and learning processes based
on personalization and collaboration with
students taking responsibility for learning,
currently, Web 2.0 platforms are used for
professional development, enhancing
education in the classroom. An important
aspect of Web 2.0 that micro-learning can
rely on is the active participation of
students in the process of co-creation and
distribution of content.
Informal learning One of the
challenges already launched in contemporary
society is the need for rethinking education,
by articulating three ways: formal, non-
formal and informal education. As a
permanent dimension of human existence,
education must have a global character,
effectively combining the formal education
with the non-formal and informal. Because
micro-learning does not require a long-term
involvement of the student's attention and
every day activities, it can be useful to
learning activities as needed, providing a
bridge between formal and informal
Personal Learning Environments
Personal Learning Environments (PLE),
especially in contrast to traditional learning
management systems, are particularly
successful and are about to change the
paradigm of learning and teaching. There
are some aspects where these changes are
more obvious or that seem most important.
In short, learning in PLE brings changes
concerning: (1) the role of student as the
creator of active and self-organized content,
(2) personalization thanks to the support
and data of community members, (3) learning
content is an unlimited collection, (4) the
crucial role of social participation, (5) the
significance of self-organized learning to
the pedagogical culture of the organization
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and (6) technological aspects of using
software tools and grouping of social
multiple sources.
Work-based learning The
contribution that work-based learning has in
sustaining economic competitiveness and
beyond is widely recognized, so
organizations that have training systems
well developed and, in particular, well
established systems of apprenticeship, tend
to achieve better performance. Following
this idea, the term micro-training could be
the micro-learning equivalent, related to the
work-based learning. The real added value
of micro-training in combination with Web
2.0 and social software is its ability to
integrate short formats with user-generated
content and social interaction.
3. Micro-learning Tools and Platforms
3.1. Grovo
The micro-learning approach used in
this learning management system is the
exposure of the information bit by bit, in a
concentrated form. For each theme are
presented the most important issues on the
one hand, and on the other hand, is exposed
the whole picture. The method is greeted by
students through a favorable response,
obtaining better results and retaining
information presented much easier. Lessons
or learning units, which are taken by students,
by watching short videos, cover a wide range
of topics such as market strategies online or
methods for the management of a project,
and other topics of interest such as social
networks dynamic. In the Grovo environment
videos between 60 and 90 seconds are
created every day, so teams within
corporations to be constantly updated with
the most useful technology on the market.
In addition to the over 4,500 existing
video in the platform, each company has the
opportunity to record their own videos, thus
projecting adaptability to the specific needs
of each environment separately. So, if the
intention is to deliver certain information to
employees of companies that were not
already covered by those conducting
educational materials, the situation is easily
remedied as Grovo platform is flexible in
this regard. Using the Create Training
option, managers can tailor content
provided by Grovo according to their needs.
Thus, they can reorder clips, edit titles,
descriptions or questions within them can
add chapters and can combine existing
elements with additional ones created by
The system can be configured so
users can be added, grouped or removed.
There are many tools available at the
instructor level that can monitor the
progress of each user, taking account also
of their strengths and weaknesses.
Depending on their level, each student can
advance to a higher level.
Not only individual progress, but that
of an entire team can be easily monitored
by the teacher using the Dashboard section.
As each student can scroll through lessons
at their own pace, the birth of discrepancies
between the levels attained by each is
inevitable. Therefore, the platform provides
the instructor a graph that presents an
overview of the learning situation. He can
see who carried out the activity and who is
not, who fell and who promoted and who
did not start at all the activity.
3.2. Coursmos platform
Coursmos is another online learning
platform that supports micro-learning.
It hosts several hundred micro-courses
online courses, which are divided into
smaller, more manageable units. These
lessons are characterized by minutes-long
duration that learners can do on their own
time, even using the smartphone.
Personalized learning experience perfectly
combined with any curriculum is a very
attractive way to educate.
The platform learning unit is the
micro-course, a format that has seven video
lessons, for three-five minutes each
(see Figure no. 1).
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Figure no. 1 Example of a Coursmos window
The predictions concerning the future
of learning, made by the Coursmos
platform, are quite simple and common
sense; given the environment where digital
technology will continue to grow, the facts
about learning are as following: “learning is
an added value and so people’s careers have
built-in learning”, “Learning ads value.
Time spent learning is regarded as a
positive boost to performance improvement”,
Learning will no longer be just an add-on
to corporate life; it will be the source of
power at work” (Kostochka, 2016). We
witness “the beginning of the learning
economy” and the “miniaturization of
everything”. That is why “learning has been
miniaturized to fit the bits and pieces in our
3.3. Yammer platform
Yammer is a closed circuit social
networking platform for companies. The
users of an organization can share
information, experiences and can work
together on projects, can comment, provide
feedback, etc. They can also create groups,
subgroups, communities, blogs, etc.
(see Figura no. 2).
As people are encouraged to engage
in conversation, but be sure that the
information remains within the
organization, Yammer is as Facebook for
business”. Yammer accelerates processes
just by this opportunity to discuss a
problem anywhere and anytime in an
informal manner, which stimulates
creativity, non invasive but still
controllable. Another interesting detail
related to Yammer is that users cannot
make accounts using generalist email
addresses, such Gmail or Yahoo,
(see Figure no. 3).
Yammer is a service available in
freemium mode (basic version is free,
premium version with money) and there are
applications for all mobile platforms
iPhone, Windows Phone, Android,
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Figure no. 2 groups
Figure no. 3 Yammer networking platform
4. Conclusion
In a globalized business world, with
expectations of increasingly large and
increasing influence of social media and
networking, organizations are in the
position to look for new ways to engage
employees in learning and organization
problem solving. The use of social media
and micro-learning offer many possibilities,
not only to draw attention to key messages,
but also to create a collaborative
environment focused on improving business.
Based on the facts and arguments
above, micro-learning can be described as a
pragmatic innovation for lifelong learning.
Pragmatic because it is congruent with
current information and communication
models and can be easily adapted to support
individual learning needs, especially in
informal learning contexts. Innovation
because it offers a new way to design and
organize learning, such as learning in small
steps and small units of content, structure
and sequencing based on the co-creation of
content, generation and use of content
through social interaction
(, 2017).
Also, as another conclusion, it is
interesting to compare the new micro-
learning option with the old one, the macro-
learning way. Speaking in terms of time
and scope, the differences between micro-
learning and macro-learning are condensed
in Figure no. 4.
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Figure no. 4 Comparison between micro and macro-learning
There is a general perception that the
new generation of employees will be more
technology oriented than previous ones.
They are self-confident, open, optimistic
and receptive to new ideas and work styles.
They are the first generation in history
always connectedand to keep them close,
employers will be forced to rethink their
learning and communication strategies.
Kostochka, R. (2016). What is the future of E-Learning?, available at:
Singh, R. P. (2014). 17 Awesome resources on micro-learning, available at:
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... Wimmer et al. (2018) found that short-term frequent training is more effective for maintaining learning than single and centralized long-term training. This coincides with the view of many that short-term learning is better for retaining concepts (Giurgiu, 2017;ShaIl, 2019). In this era of information overload, besides maintaining memory, short-term learning can also reduce learners' cognitive load as much as possible (Sweller, 1988). ...
... Moreover, he asserted that formative assessment in microlearning is very effective, as it can promote students' reflection and engagement. This was also confirmed in Giurgiu's (2017) control experiment. ...
Full-text available
Microlearning, as an informal learning approach, has gained increasing popularity in both the training industry and professional studies disciplines over the last several years. However, despite the rising interest in microlearning, how to design microlearning activities and what microcontent is reasonable for microlearning activities have rarely been addressed. In this study, we designed a 6-week micro-reading activity. During the process, 30 students majoring in Education Technology participated in the activity. They were randomly divided into an electronic book reading (e-reading) group and a paper book reading (p-reading) group, and were required to read the same book within 6 weeks. Formative and summative evaluations were performed to assess the effectiveness of the micro-reading activity. Descriptive statistics and bar and line chart were applied to reflect the results of formative evaluation; One-way ANOVA analysis was used to process the data of summative evaluations. Students’ average reading time, reading pace, and weekly reading notes were recorded and analyzed as the formative evaluation. The results indicated that all students achieved the reading objective, and they kept relatively high engagement in the micro-reading activity. According to the results of the summative evaluation, both groups of students’ average scores were relatively high. However, compared to the p-reading group, the average score of the e-reading group was higher, and some significant differences were also found in the average scores of the two groups. Therefore, the 6-week micro-reading activity was beneficial for students’ reading effectiveness, and the e-reading type was more effective for promoting students’ reading effectiveness. In the future, it would be worthwhile for designers to consider how to design the duration of activities in a reasonable way and to compare how new electronic reading platforms compare with traditional print sources.
... Envisaging the coming of a more rapidly changing world with information and communication technology (ICT), global organizations such as Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) and higher education institutions have called for the need to redefine, revisit and reconstruct the learning in the current educational and workplace contexts for the 21st-century learners and employees [1 OECD]. As a recent top topic in educational and training research as well as being a newly predicted emerging educational trend, microlearning has received extensive attention and has been practiced as a successful instructional design in diverse learning contexts, such as private learning, corporate training, and higher education [2][3][4][5]. Microlearning, an action-oriented and technology-enhanced learning pedagogy, is designed with "chunking," a technique to break down complicated learning concepts into bite-size forms within which a specific learning outcome or learning goal can be achieved in a short period [2,6]. A plethora of evidence-based studies revealed that microlearning is an effective instructional design or intervention in higher education with different presentations of courses (e.g., online, hybrid, and blended courses) [2]. ...
... As a newly emerging global educational topic, microlearning has received various definitions from different research focuses [13]. However, by common consent, microlearning is often attributed to a type of informal learning delivered by digital technologies or mobile devices to present well-planned learning chunking or micro contents and micro activities focused on one specific learning objective [2][3][4][5][6]. Microlearning, characterized by short duration, small learning steps, small learning units, and specific learning outcomes, is adopted flexibly in diverse contexts and disciplines. ...
Full-text available
Microlearning has been predicted as a promising learning trend to cope with the rapidly changing world. The technology-mediated short form of learning also received language partitioners’ and researchers’ interest in adopting microlearning in language education. Notably, most existing studies focused on vocabulary or structural learning instead of presenting micro-contents and micro-activities holistically. This study proposes a structurally streamlined instructional design framework by interconnecting the learning chunks hierarchically from lexical learning to pragmatic application to facilitate holistic language learning in the microlearning context. With the support of collaborative technologies and the team project-based learning approach, this study also aims to develop learners’ collaboration competency in the EFL contexts. Empirical results received from survey indicate that learners’ satisfaction with the novel microlearning instructional design is high. This study also confirms that the proposed instructional design promotes learners’ collaboration competency regardless of learners’ language proficiency.
... La entrega de una cantidad de conocimientos e información, estructurada en varios capítulos breves, de grano fino, bien definidos e interconectados [Giurgiu, 2017]. ...
Full-text available
El microlearning es un concepto de reciente estudio y con una aparente tendencia educativa. La presente investigación tuvo como objetivo integrar de forma sistemática los resultados de los estudios sobre la aplicación del microlearning en el ámbito educativo, con el propósito de determinar el estado del arte en los últimos años. Se obtuvieron documentos de seis bases de datos científicas: Dialnet, DOAJ, ERIC, Redalyc, SciELO y Science Direct y se realizó un análisis mixto. El hallazgo más importante fue identificar que faltan modelos integrales para aplicar el microlearning, ya que existe hasta ahora poca evidencia de estudio para su correcta implementación y evaluación del aprendizaje en los entornos educativos.
... Fitria (2022) states that micro learning is a wellknown teaching method that provides students with learning experiences in the form of sections, and this is highly recognized in e-learning. This aligns with the statement emphasized by Giurgiu (2017) that micro learning is well-known in the internet-based learning industry and digital media. Therefore, this type of learning enables students to better understand the material in a short amount of time, as it serves as a tool to help students stay focused on the content found within these smallest sections, making it easily accessible to them which can take the form of learning through video segments, examining graphical data, or even participating in short-duration virtual classes through group discussions. ...
One of the factors that generate lack of students’ writing competence is the teaching methods used by the lecturer which is less desirable by the students. Micro learning comes as one of the alternatives to deliver the knowledge to the students which became the focus of this study on seeing the significance of the strategy in improving students’ ability to write English text. This is an experimental research involving 64 participants which was done in Universitas Muhammadiyah Sumatera Barat (UM Sumbar). The population of this study consisted of 124 students distributed across 4 classes. The sample selection was done using cluster random sampling, which resulted in one class being assigned as the experimental group and another class as the control group The data was gained by determining whether students have improved their writing scores (through writing rubric) by implementing micro teaching through pre-test and post-test. The researchers look for the statistical t-value with a significance level of <0.05. Furthermore, the researchers conduct further analysis through descriptive analysis using SPSS 24. The results of this research were obtained through a t-test with a significance level of 5% (0.05), yielding an observed t-value of 2.975, while the critical t-value was 2.306. These findings indicate that students' achievement in writing texts improved. Therefore, it can be concluded that micro-learning is an effective instructional method for enhancing the writing skills of English Education students at Universitas Muhammadiyah Sumatera Barat.
... Some of the key benefits of using ML include: (1) improving learners' motivation (Nikou & Economdies, 2018;Shail, 2019); (2) better engagement for learners (Nikou, 2019;Liao & Zhu, 2012); (3) better retention of concepts (Giurgiu, 2017;Shail, 2019); (4) improving learning ability and performance (Mohammed et al., 2018;Jomah et al., 2016); and (5) engaging in collaborative learning (Reinhardt & Elwood, 2019;Chang & Liu, 2015). Mohammed et al. (2018) indicated an 18% improvement in students' learning ability with ML methods, indicating improved information retention and increased excitement and motivation towards learning. ...
This chapter examines the current use of innovative learning approaches (such as microlearning, gamification, and immersive learning) for design and engineering education in the Bachelor of Engineering in Product Design and Manufacture (PDM) programme at University of Nottingham Ningbo China, an English Medium Instruction Sino-foreign Higher Education Institution. Drawing inspiration from industry, PDM staff use the aforementioned learning approaches and emerging technologies, such as mobile devices, augmented reality, and virtual reality (VR), to provide unique learning experiences. This chapter reports on two exploratory case studies where digital pedagogy is being proactively developed for teaching and learning (T&L) purposes: supplementary microlearning videos for a visual communication class and an immersive VR learning experience for design history purposes. Through analysis of quantitative data reports and surveys along with qualitative teacher reflections, the preliminary findings show high levels of engagement and a positive attitude towards technology-driven teaching amongst students, and noticeable improvements in student performance and design outcome. Results also indicate that the delivery type should be coordinated with the learning outcomes expected in the particular context. Finally, we suggest ways in which appropriate matching between type of innovation and developmental area can be extrapolated from the PDM context into a range of different pedagogical fields.KeywordsDesign educationEngineering educationDigital pedagogyVirtual realityStudent engagement
... Micro learning has benefits such as increasing student participation (Nikou, 2019), making the concepts to be better kept in mind (Giurgiu, 2017), including simple and narrow subjects (Jomah et al., 2016), providing opportunities for repetition (Hug, 2005). In addition, Jomah et al., (2016) stated that micro learning is an attractive option because it handles the subjects in accordance with the individual needs of the students. ...
Purpose: The aim of this study is to contribute to a better understanding of the effects of digital sources on the works and professional development of mathematics teachers. In line with this aim, the microlearning experiences of an experienced secondary-school-mathematics teacher who is pursuing a Ph.D. in a university, in an e-learning environment is the focus of this study. Design/Methodology/Approach: The study design is a narrative analysis. The researcher's diaries and interview recordings were analyzed in this context. The researcher diaries were written by one of the researchers, a PhD student mathematics teacher who took an active role in the practice.In addition, the semi-structured interview recordings with the same teacher are included in the research as data and documents, and they were analyzed in detail. The diaries of the teacher, the researcher, which are kept during the microlearning period and the interviews were analyzed using the content analysis method. Categories and codes were created as a result of the analysis. Findings: As a result of the analysis, it was identified that the teacher especially focused on the teachers’ concerns before teaching using microlearning and how these concerns change in time, the process of preparing digital lessons, student observations during the implementation, and changes within herself in diaries and interviews. Highlights: The study has revealed important results in terms of supporting e-learning. It may be recommended to integrate micro learning and micro content into mathematics and other courses. By eliminating the limitations of the research, comprehensive research of qualitative, quantitative, or mixed type can be conducted with more participants.
The interactive demo highlights LA-ReflecT, an LTI-enabled platform that facilitates the creation of micro-learning activities with multimedia content, and helps track interactions and artefacts created by students within the platform as xAPI logs. The platform facilitates reflection on action in the form of presenting information on a dashboard as a part of the learning activity. LA-ReflecT also enables an app connecting with Bluetooth sensors that stream time series signals. The sensor data from a user is synchronized with their particular activity and can be linked to their learning log. We are doing multiple pilots with research partners in Japan and India. We are open to discussing adaptors who want to potentially pilot LA-ReflecT for creating microlearning material and investigating the potential of the data logged in the platform. KeywordsLAreflecTMicro-learningMultimodal Learning Analytics
Benefits of learning by teaching (LbT) have been highlighted by previous studies from a pedagogical lens, as well as through computer-supported systems. However, the challenges that university students face in technology-mediated LbT---whether it be teaching oneself, teaching a peer, or teaching an agent---are not well understood. Furthermore, there is a gap in knowledge on the challenges that students encounter throughout the process of teaching (content selection, preparation, teaching, receiving and giving feedback, and reflection) despite its importance to the design of LbT platforms. Thus, we conducted a study with 24 university students where they taught content they had not fully grasped, without guidance, and participated in a semi-structured interview. Results demonstrate that participants encountered the following challenges: psychological barriers relating to self and others, and lack of know-how. Furthermore, we illuminate design implications required to overcome these challenges and benefit from LbT without requiring prior training in pedagogy.
17 Awesome resources on micro-learning
  • R P Singh
Singh, R. P. (2014). 17 Awesome resources on micro-learning, available at:
What is the future of E-Learning?
  • R Kostochka
Kostochka, R. (2016). What is the future of E-Learning?, available at:
What is the future of E-Learning?, available at: 17 Awesome resources on micro-learning, available at:
  • R Kostochka
  • R P Singh
Kostochka, R. (2016). What is the future of E-Learning?, available at: Singh, R. P. (2014). 17 Awesome resources on micro-learning, available at: