Informal learning and microlearning are often discussed as two separate vehicles for online education, but the ways they can influence and help each other can make small, casual learning even better for the employees hoping to benefit from it. Below are some of the ways informal learning and microlearning overlap and how to incorporate them when developing your learning strategy.

Microlearning Was Designed With Informal Learning in Mind.

Microlearning became popular because of the idea that busy workers could consume content in the small moments between meetings and between tasks. The hope was that if workers didn’t have time for a full course, they’d have time for a five-minute lesson on writing effective presentations or the best way to slice a tomato. They’d have a focused, usable lesson on how to make their work a little bit better, micro-lesson by micro-lesson.

As workers’ lives become more hectic and mobile-oriented, microlearning is a mobile-friendly way to fit learning in whenever and wherever employees have a break. This type of learning is informal by nature: It gives workers opportunities to teach themselves at their own convenience and access to whatever skill they need to learn.

Informal Learning Can Be More Effective With Microlearning.

Informal learning gives workers the resources they need to pursue self-guided learning to accomplish their individual goals. They can pursue this learning at their leisure or to meet just-in-time needs. Informal learning doesn’t have any specific distribution or delivery constraints , but microlearning does have specifications for what makes an effective lesson. Best practices recommend that each micro-lesson have a specific learning objective. They offer time limits and recommendations for the types of interactivity that will work in such short time spans. Microlearning also requires that lessons have some kind of knowledge check to keep the learner’s attention. These microlearning strategies can apply to informal learning, too.

Microlearning Can Motivate Informal Learning.

Studies have shown again and again that employees want informal learning opportunities. You can use microlearning as a motivational tool, because short lessons can be more appealing than larger ones. Combining microlearning with simple gamification can also boost motivation. For example, allowing learners to earn points or badges for each lesson they complete will help them see the progress they’re making, motivating them to continue and even compete with their co-workers. When combined with microlearning, gamification can serve as an informal learning solution that helps foster a learning culture.

Microlearning and Informal Learning Go Together.

Understanding the ways that microlearning and informal learning relate to each other can help you combine them to create a more effective and successful learning strategy. After all, informal and bite-sized learning fill in educational gaps, motivate learners and adapt to their lifestyle.