Tag Archive for: microlearning

Organizations Wanted to Pilot Leadership-Development Subscription Learning!!

I am looking for organizations who are interested in piloting subscription learning as a tool to aid in developing their managers and energizing their senior management's strategic initiatives.

To read more about the benefits and possibilities for subscription learning and leadership development, read my article posted on the ATD (Association for Talent Development) website.

Potential Benefits

  • Reinforce concepts learned to ensure remembering and application.
  • Drive management behaviors through ongoing communications.
  • Utilize the scientifically-verified spacing effect to boost learning.
  • Enable dialogue between your senior leaders and your developing managers.
  • Inculcate organizational values through scenario-based reflection.
  • Prompt organizational initiatives through your management cadre.
  • Engage in organizational learning, promoting cycles of reinforcement.
  • Utilize and pilot test new technologies, boosting motivation.
  • Utilize the power of subscription learning before your competitors do.

Potential Difficulties

  • Pilot efforts may face technical difficulties and unforeseen obstacles.

Why Will Thalheimer and Work-Learning Research, Inc.?

  • Experienced leadership-development trainer
  • Previously ran leadership-development product line (Leading for Business Results)
  • Leader in the use of scenario-based questions
  • Experienced in using subscription learning
  • Devoted to evidence-based practices
  • Extensive experience in practical use of learning research

Why Now?

  • Subscription-learning tools are available.
  • Mobile-learning is gaining traction.
  • Substantial discounts for pilot organizations.

Next Steps!!

  • Contact Will Thalheimer, PhD to arrange an online discussion of the possibilities.
    • email: info AT work-learning DOT com.


A little while ago, I wrote an article for my newsletter about how Subscription Learning might be used in Leadership Development.

I’m still a big believer, and I’m looking for organizations who want to pilot test the concept. Let me know…by clicking here.

ATD liked the article and asked if they could post it. Click to read the article.

If you want to sign up for my newsletter, click here.

Yesterday, #chat2lrn, a bi-weekly twitter discussion, delved into the concept of microlearning. It was an interesting discussion.

You can view the tweets by clicking here (thanks to Martin Couzins).

Here are my takeaways from engaging in the discussion:

  1. There was no consensus on what microlearning entails.
  2. There was no consensus on how long a microlearning engagement might take. Indeed, there were estimates that ranged from 5 minutes to 1 hour!
  3. There was a strong suspicion that “microlearning” was a buzzword, perhaps one created by “evil” marketers.
  4. There was no consensus on what microlearning might be good for.
  5. Many saw microlearning as information-presentation only, not considering that a microlearning nugget might also prompt action.
  6. Many saw microlearning as something that regular learning-and-development folks would not be involved in. Indeed, many seemed to see microlearning as a way to subvert the ineffectiveness of L&D departments.
  7. Many saw microlearning as just-in-time learning, almost as performance support.
  8. Very few folks considered threading microlearning nuggets together in a subscription-learning manner.

“Microlearning” is now in the infosphere. The genie is out of the bottle and we better be ready. “Microlearning” is coming to a senior manager near you!


Here's a blog post by Brent Schlenker on Extreme Micro Learning, meaning videos in 6 seconds.

Click here to see the post.

His examples are more advertising than learning, but I think he's right that if we see the extremes it may make us more creative.

Tom Spiglanin has a nice blog post on Microlearning, in which he has generated a great discussion as well.

  • tom.spiglanin.com/2015/03/microlearning-fab-or-fad/

I commented on the discussion and am copying-and-pasting my comments here:


Tom, glad that you’re pushing this important discussion!

You say, “Microlearning products usually need no navigation, and there is no inherently complex structure. Each microlearning product serves but one objective and is tightly focused on that objective.”

I think this is too restrictive. Please check out my work on the Subscription-Learning Website (defunct as of December 2017).

On that website, I describe subscription learning (the use of small nuggets spread over time) as a way to create meaningful learning interactions. Indeed, subscription learning can go way beyond “learning” to provide prompting mechanisms, calls to complete tasks, feedback, etc.

The problem with the way many are thinking of microlearning is as a content-delivery system for folks with short attention spans. Unfortunately, we know that content presentation is a poor method. To really get folks to benefit from learning we need to ensure that we provide learners with at least the following (from the Training Maximizers model https://www.worklearning.com/2015/04/08/training-maximizers/):

A. Valid Credible Content
B. Engaging Learning Events
C. Support for Basic Understanding
D. Support for Decision-Making Competence
E. Support for Long-Term Remembering
F. Support for Application of Learning
G. Support for Perseverance in Learning

So, if microlearning only gets at A, B, and C; it will not create meaningful learning benefits.

Subscription learning can deliver isolated nuggets of information, but it can do much more as well. For example, one of the most important learning factors (based on the scientific research) to support remembering is the spacing effect (spacing repetitions of learning concepts over time). If you take a nugget-by-nugget approach, you don’t get the spacing effect.

Bottom line is that microlearning without intention, without scientifically-based learning design, with only isolated nuggets — will be a FAD.

Microlearning that utilizes learning factors that help us reach the requirements of (D) decision-making competence, (E) long-term remembering, (F) application of learning, and (G) perseverance in learning will be FAB.

They seem to be using the term "microlearning" for much longer chunks of learning time than that imagined in subscription learning's short (less than 5 or 10 minute) nuggets.

Still, the article makes the case that people just don't have the attention spans that they once had, and that the shrinking attention span is only going to get worse.

Click here to read the Guardian article.