Microlearning for Today’s Students: A Rapid Review of Essentials and Considerations

Document Type : Review Article


1 Department of Anesthesiology, Faculty of Medicine, Isfahan University of Medical Sciences, Isfahan, Iran.

2 MD, Shahrekord University of Medical Sciences, Shahrekord, Iran.

3 Qaem Hospital, Mashhad University of Medical Sciences, Mashhad, Iran.

4 Pediatric Neurologist, Department of Pediatric, Faculty of Medicine, Mashhad University of Medical Sciences, Mashhad, Iran.

5 MD, Neurologist, Neurology Department, Mashhad University of Medical Science, Mashhad, Iran.

6 Assistant Professor of Pediatric Neurology, Department of Pediatrics, Hormozgan University of Medical Sciences, Bandar Abbs, Iran.



The concept of microlearning is based on Hermann Ebbinghaus’ forgetting curve, which states that when people take in large amounts of information, retention of the learned information tends to degrade over time. Microlearning can be used to deal with this issue. Splitting the content into small pieces and recalling the different pieces over time can improve knowledge retention and productivity. Small learning steps, with small portions of information, can be used for learning in between and on-demand. The learner is in control of what and when they learn. In this way, microlearning enables learners to stay up-to-date in today’s knowledge society. Microlearning is an engaging educational approach to learning new skills and information in small parts at a time.
Online content, including video tutorials, audio podcasts, presentations, scenarios, and assessments, can be presented as microlearning. Microlearning is not much different from traditional lessons. Rather, microlearning involves condensing and optimizing traditional lessons for delivery in a short time. This educational method is a learner-centered approach that provides just-in-time training on multiple devices (tablets and smartphones besides desktops and laptops). It should be noted that microlearning might not be suitable for more complex topics. Though microlearning is an effective learning strategy for reinforcement and retention, it cannot be used to provide basic and deep knowledge and complex concepts. Smart learning is not suitable for learning analytical skills or discovering cause and effect relationships, as these activities usually require time for planning and reflection.