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Microlearning and Learning Sprints

Human attention spans have diminished to margins that are threatening our intelligence, in a world consistently fighting for our attention it only made sense that traditional learning systems would soon be rendered obsolete. We need only pay attention to our social tools to gain insight into how we process information. These days even the most popular apps have adjusted their services to fully grasp our faltering attention. 


Through modelled infographics that present information pictographically, to one-two question quizzes that resemble twitter threads, microlearning is a concept that prioritizes gaining knowledge in the shortest time possible. Its aim is to enhance effective training in work environments by utilizing technologically driven platforms to divide information into small bit sizes that are easy to comprehend. 

This learning concept has impacted how humans engage with each other to achieve desired outcomes. A Learning sprint is a marginal learning process targeted at a specific end goal, it’s fast, it’s effective very much like a sprint. Normally a team, usually consisting of managers, comes together and sets up an objective they want to achieve. After this process preparation on team size, types of individuals and so forth are arranged in correlation with the objective. Together these tools have transformed training programs in human resources. 

The characteristics that involve micro-learning are numerous and profound, they include ideas about learning in short time frames, the consideration that it requires little to no effort from individuals is a concept that is debatable.


Each process of learning cannot be delivered in the same format across diverse information categories. This means each task depending on its outcome requires different microlearning tools to achieve maximum sprint learning effectiveness; these are as follows: 


Infographics: A visual format for presenting information or data. This includes pie charts and bar graphs with minimal texts. The benefit of using infographics is that we can group complex data into more easily readable formats that group data together.  


Nextworth a recycling electronics company in partnership with Unboxed found a way to reduce customer services by giving training through short training videos about how the trade-in program works, its benefits, and how to provide good customer experiences. The videos used infographics to simplify the experience and increase trade in accuracy by double its previous margin. 


Question & Response: This is one of the basic tenets of micro-learning because you cover a large amount of information quickly through questions and responses from the participants, while they acquire the necessary information without too much strain in knowing everything at once. 


Bloomingdale acquired the services of Axonify to produce training bursts of 3-5 minutes where employees could access a session at any time during their shift regarding safety measures through tablets. The training was a success that allowed participation of 90% and improved safety claims that could have cost millions. 


Brief Games: We all enjoy winning mostly because of the feeling of accomplishment that comes with it. In microlearning engaging participants with exciting games based on the objective will arouse within them the fiery spirit to be the best at something. This can bring out hidden potential in employees while also maintaining a learning environment. 


An example of this is Walmart that implemented a gaming system to help employees with knowledge retention, through Axonify they built a microlearning programme that gave them instant feedback, while also notifying them how well they were doing relative to other employees. Employees are observed on-the-job to see how knowledge is being applied, and when this performance data is entered into Axonify, training is adjusted for each employee based on what they need. 


Microblogging Exercises: Sometimes key points need to be covered that are essential in completing objectives. Microblogging offers the learner the opportunity to cover crucial key messages without burdening them with too much information. It keeps the necessary key objectives in front of the learner. 


One-Two Question Quizzes: Focus on the end goal of each learning subject give the learner in depth knowledge by delivering information that is purely focused on the “just one thing” or on a couple of important objectives for that task, it’s also a desired form of learning with sprints because of its effectiveness in feedback.  


An important point to remember about the current condition of the world is that we live in the age of information. This requires by pure procedure of how our world operates to consistently be in learning mode but also with so much information available to us it can be overwhelming to know what’s important and what is not. 


 Therefore, sprint learning is integral in becoming a standard because it offers fixed context of any object by sifting out the clutter that most information contains these days, to get to the real knowledge that we can use to achieve the preferred outcomes.  

The structure of a learning sprint must maximize effectiveness while also including everyone involved to ensure the learning process suits each person participating. Communicating enables everything to flow from point A to point B through engagement, knowledge passes around everyone specifically in learning sprints because everyone is engaging with the content. 


Repetition the amount of Learning sprints required to complete certain objectives determines the number of resources that need to be allocated to such an objective, although sprints are easy to produce, they can be time consuming to get off the ground.  

Learning Sprints are not about force feeding employees with knowledge. A learning sprint appreciates everyone’s own intrinsic motivation to learn. The advantages of such learning processes are leading us into new waves of effective technology and endurance learning, some of the benefits associated with micro learning include: 


Learner – Teacher Translation in most cases it just so happens that the learners who participate in these training sessions, later become teachers as well. Microlearning allows the transformation of roles to be fluid and translational, in some cases the roles interchange between the teachers and learners so rapidly that it creates a working environment less rigid and more attuned to helping each other. 

The beauty of microlearning is probably its rapid ability to send feedback and knowledge at instant speed through advanced technological programmes this is easily attainable by making use of developments that are quick but require less commitment from employees, they can be done either on the job through tablets, POS systems or at home. 


Employees’ time is respected through microlearning because of their short sessions; every person is free to participate in the training at their own time. Often, they have the option to choose which type training they engage with rather than feeling forced to do a specific task, they can pick and choose the training they desire. This allows employees to enjoy the experience of work but also to feel more liberated in the workplace.  


Employees are also more productive because they don’t have to labor for hours on one specific task all day. The time it takes to for a session helps them become more effective by enabling them to be spending more time on the job e job and less time on training, if it allows, they can do both at the same time due to the rapid fluidity of microlearning.  


As a simple consequence of the norms in our society, microlearning aligns conveniently with the behavior we are accustomed to. They operate with or without knowledge of their environment but will coherently appreciate the atmosphere of the workplace. 




By Sherman Morrison, October 22, 2017. 

Just One Thing –Microlearning: A Practitioners Guide 

By Todd Kasenberg. 

Coporate Learning Just Got Smarter Microlearning: Small Bites, Big Impact 

Axonify, May 2016.