3 microlearning success stories

Posted on Jan 03, 2018

Learning strategies


Games & gamification


Measurement & reinforcement

Microlearning solves many of the challenges set by today’s workplace environment. It’s no wonder, then, that organisations are increasingly using it. More of that later, but first…

The bite-size  guide to microlearning

1. Backed by science 

The first thing to know about microlearning is that it’s based on science. We know from scientific research that the brain processes and stores information much better, when ‘little, often and repeated’ learning techniques are used. There are three proven principles behind this.

The spacing effect

German psychologist Hermann Ebbinghaus discovered that recall improves when the learning is revisited after a certain space of time.  

Retrieval practice

This involves returning to knowledge already learned and being retested on it. By repeating the practice, knowledge gaps can be identified and filled by a ‘refresh’.

Confidence-based learning

Dr James Bruno, a professor of education at UCLA, found four stages on the route to mastery: Misinformed (mistakes), Uninformed (paralysis), Doubt (hesitation) and Mastery (informed action). Confidence-based learning, used in microlearning, focuses on the gap between what people think they know and what they actually know to reach topic mastery.

In easy-to-digest terms, when these three principles are brought together, they boost absorption and retention, so the learning can be applied with correct confidence. 

2. Perfect fit 

The second key fact is that the way a microlearning platform works makes it a perfect fit for today’s workplace. Here are 12 words that explain why:


Learning is rolled out quickly and, if required, in team competitive environments.


The learning is built according to the circumstances of each learner.


Artificial intelligence (AI) drives the learning.


Because it’s personalised and adaptive.


Three to five minutes of learning, every day.


It uses games to ensure engagement rates of typically over 90%.


Practice makes perfect.


The learner knows straight away how they’re doing.


Accessible on-demand, 24/7.


It fits into a working shift.


Location, language or culture are no barriers.


Because it can be updated and adapted.

3. Real results

Thirdly, microlearning works in key areas and across sectors.  The following three success stories illustrate this and are also great examples of how microlearning is designed to meet specific, measurable business goals.

Customer service – AXA

Insurance brand AXA wanted to embed a people-centric customer service culture at its UK-based contact centre. The challenge was to roll out the learning quickly, without disrupting work, and to do it in an engaging way. Daily microlearning was used in a blended approach and, within months, it had transformed results:

  • Positive customer comments – up by 113%
  • Formal complaints – down by 24%
  • Top-rated calls by insurance advisors – up by 114%

Health and safety – Walmart

The retailer has achieved remarkable safety results at its 150 distribution centres in the US, after introducing microlearning to effect behavioural change.  Using a game, employees answered questions and received immediate feedback in daily learning reinforcement chunks of 3-5 minutes. The reinforcement has driven home important safety practices to 75,000 associates. Results:

  • Recordable incidents – down by 54%
  • Employee confidence – 72% feel safer on the job
  • Knowledge levels – up by 15%

Sales – Ethicon

The Johnson & Johnson subsidiary faced the huge challenge of keeping its global sales staff updated on new and evolving products, at a time of rapid innovation. Employees also need to be confident and knowledgeable about a range of health topics. The company used continuous learning via a mobile microlearning app to deliver knowledge and answers on demand to 1,000 staff. A continuous learning culture is now embedded. Results:

  • Confidence and product knowledge – 50% increase
  • Staff love it – 95% voluntary participation

Evidence that microlearning is making a real impact now

In a survey by the world’s largest talent development association, ATD, 38% of organisations were using microlearning and another 41% intend to start.

But the big stat is this: of those already using microlearning, 92% intend to use it even more. This is evidence that microlearning is having a real business impact on the modern workplace and is set to grow as we dive deeper into the digital era.

Ask an expert

Michael Quann - Head of Microlearning Solutions at Sponge UK

Michael works with our extensive list of multi-national clients to ensure all the advantages of our digital learning capabilities are reinforced using science-based techniques over time.

He specialises in helping clients use analytical capabilities to identify areas and individuals who need further assistance including mentoring and coaching.


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