Bite-sized learning, micro learning, snackable learning, learning nuggets; these are all terms used to
denote a brief learning capsule designed for a specific audience and quick and easy consumption. We
have had numerous case studies and presentations that compare the attention span of millennial
learners with that of a goldfish and why it is important to engage learners to derive any benefit from the
course being deployed. In this blog post we look at ‘Bite-Sized Learning’. We will examine how modern
workplace learning has evolved to accommodate bite-sized learning as a bona fide learning trend; the
ideal duration for search learning nuggets, the benefits of bite-sized learning, and the growth of mobile
Understanding Snackable Learning
Compare a three-course full meal with a snack. A three-course meal takes time to make, the portions
are large, and it is to be savored bit-by-bit and can’t be consumed in a hurry. This is akin to a full-
fledged eLearning course that can be anywhere from 45 minutes to 90 minutes long. A snack on the
other hand could be as simple as an apple or a sandwich that can be consumed anytime and anywhere
without too much of preparation time. It is designed to work as a filler between meals and cannot fully
substitute a full meal. To summarize, bite-sized learning cannot replace a full-length course.
Alternatively, a collection of bite-sized learning nuggets can be structured together to form a full-length
Delivering Results with Just-in-Time Learning Solutions
Bite-sized learning is designed to be delivered when its needed the most. Remember that a 75-minute
course can be broken down into smaller coherent modules that are between five to ten minutes in
duration. Research shows that these micro lessons add value and help reinforce learning better than the
longer courses. In 2015, researchers at the Dresden University of Technology found that a group of
online learners studying through a microlearning platform answered assessment questions 20% more
accurately than a group who learned through the traditional method of studying a substantial amount of
material, then completing one assessment. The microlearning group also took 28% less time to answer
questions, demonstrating the strength of microlearning in both accuracy and efficiency.
Video Nuggets and Mobile Learning
Research studies state that in the next couple of years, 80% of traffic on the Internet will be dedicated to
just videos. This shows the kind of impact they have in terms of the growing consumption of videos and
the ever-increasing demand for quality videos. Would it not be wonderful to tap into the power of
videos to drive your employee-learning? Invest in creating video nuggets that are brief – 3 to 5 minutes
in duration that can be viewed easily on mobile phones.
Micro learning that can be delivered on the smart-phone is not just restricted to videos. You can create
customized apps that offer learning, SMS-alerts that send one key learning in each SMS, and small
quizzes to assess learning. With smartphones being marked as the number one cause for attention
deficit and delay in learning; use them to your advantage by moving a portion of employee learning to
the smartphone itself.
Determining the Ideal Length of Bite-Sized Learning
How does one determine the exact or the ideal length for bite-sized learning? This is a question that’s
been doing the rounds for a while now. The good folks at ATD ran a poll to figure out the ideal duration
for microlearning and found some interesting answers. ATD Research polled 228 respondents working in
various organizations that deployed microlearning to figure out the effective length of a microlearning
activity. 59% of the participants of the poll said that two to five minutes was the ideal length; but most
of the microlearning deployed at their organizations was between 10 to 15 minutes in length. When the
same question was posed to a group of 144 Talent Development professionals, 13 minutes was the most
popular answer and the average amount of time for microlearning was 10 minutes.
Based on the various surveys conducted, we can conclude that there are two distinct types of bite-sized
or microlearning. Learning nuggets that are from two minutes to four minutes in length and are concise,
crisp, and focused. The second category comprises five to ten-minutes long microlearning chunks that
have additional details and offer greater insight into the topic.
Exploring the Benefits of Bite-Sized Learning
Bite-sized learning offers organizations the flexibility of deploying engaging, just-in-time learning, which
can be designed quickly at an affordable cost. With a clear focus on a mobile-first philosophy, bite-sized
learning, especially videos and games, improve retention of learning. We have always believed in the
adage – ‘A good picture is worth a thousand words’. We bring to you an infographic that encapsulates
the benefits of bite-sized learning.
Evolution of the Smartphone
Before smartphones became easily accessible, thanks to the growth of the Android OS; we had clunky
and brick-like PDAs, which used to offer a number of ‘smart features’. One of the earliest definitions of
mobile learning is “Easily accessible learning that’s delivered on your Palm”. This is a throwback to the
innovative PDAs manufactured by Palm Computing in the nineties. The period from 1996 to 2003 saw
progress of mobile technology at a scale that no one foresaw. In 1998, Nokia overthrew Motorola as the
world’s largest phone manufacturer. At its peak in mid-2007, it almost seemed that Nokia was
untouchable and would grow on to be a synonym for mobile devices globally. Then came the game-
changing launch of Apple’s first iPhone and the mobile industry would never remain the same. We have
witnessed the launch of iOS, Android, Windows, and Firefox mobile operating systems that eventually in
their own distinct ways destroyed Nokia’s Symbian and short-lived ‘MeeGo’ projects.
Smartphones – A Life-Saver Indeed
Today, we celebrate the availability of full-feature sub 50$ smartphones, economical data tariffs, and
access to apps that open a whole new window of learning and entertainment to mobile phone-users. All
along this evolution, smartphones have now become an integral part of our lives and turned into an
extension/organ of our lives. Be it banking, shopping, accessing movies, songs, or news; the smartphone
has become an all-in-one solution to make our lives easier. These are the positive aspects of the
smartphone revolution. Organizations have woken up to the possibility of using the smartphones of
their employees to foster workplace learning.
Workplace Learning for the Modern Workforce
In a survey conducted by the Merrill Lynch Go Learn initiative, an interesting stat emerged in terms of
where people complete learning/training.
- 32% of the respondents said they complete learning when travelling
- 26% of the respondents said they complete learning when at home
- 24% of the respondents said they complete learning when they commute
- 18% of the respondents said they complete learning when they are at work
The modern or millennial workforce prefers to consume learning ‘on-the-go’. They would not like to be
dictated terms and closed into a training room and made to undergo workshops and seminars. With a
focus on experiential learning and the freedom to access learning at their own comfort, bite-sized
learning delivered on the smartphone is the most intelligent solution. Organizations that intend to retain
their best talent should have a strong learning culture. Time and again research has proven that
employees seek to learn new skills and overcome challenges and problems posed as a part of work. By
offering employees a healthy learning atmosphere, organizations keep them motivated, happy, and
Mobile learning solutions truly democratize learning and free learning from the trappings of a closed
LMS. Currently, the focus is on creating an immersive learning experience that offers seamless learning
across devices and gives learners the chance to interact with fellow learners.
We believe that the effectiveness of an eLearning solution can only be measured by the impact it
creates in the growth of the end-user/learner. If the solution is not able to bring about any measurable
change or add value to the learners’ existing skillset; then the project is a failure. At Origin, we have
helped leading brands around the world harness the power of learning by designing and deploying,
result-driven learning solutions for them. This blog post was a small attempt on our part to highlight the
changing requirements of the modern workplace and how bite-sized learning on the smartphone holds
the key to successful training.