Microlearning: What are the benefits? And how can you get the best out of it?

Microlearning: What are the benefits? And how can you get the best out of it?

Microlearning is a performance-driven learning method that uses learning sessions or chunks of just a few minutes focused on a single goal. More than just another of today’s latest learning and development fads, it is becoming a must for digital training with proven pedagogical effectiveness.

Better anchoring of knowledge

Recent years have seen a dramatic shortening of the units of time associated with L&D training design. From days, we shifted to hours with e-learning, and now – with the advent of mobile training – to minutes. Microlearning, based on short, “bite-sized” sessions with a single objective, makes it possible to anchor knowledge little by little and build effective behaviours without filling the learner’s diary with commitments. Learning adapts to and leverages the rhythm of the learner, using the spacing and repetition effect to help the brain pass information from short- to long-term memory, where it will be more easily retrieved.

Flexibility for learners

Microlearning makes it possible to take advantage of the short time intervals available in learners’ overloaded schedules. Learners will immediately seize the benefit and be more inclined to complete short activities scattered through the day at different times if necessary. And while the trainer will suggest a rate of release of new teaching activities (usually between one activity per day and one per week), the learners are able to adjust this pace as they wish (within the defined limits), and this personalisation will increase the motivation to learn.

The desire for the next activity

Beyond the flexibility it brings, microlearning creates a reflex in the learner by proposing new content at regular intervals (usually daily). In a Teach for Mars microlearning course, activities are unlocked over time. A learner denied access to a locked activity will be all the more motivated to access this activity once it is unlocked. In the meantime, there is a window to revise content already assimilated through easily accessible gamified activities, for instance via the Shake’n’Learn feature. With each new activity unlocked, the learner will receive a prompt to open the app and train. In this way, the smartphone also plays a role in accompanying learners in their ongoing learning strategy.

Microlearning: a real educational advance

Run a Google search on “microlearning” and you get half a million hits. That is a significant number, and as Clarence Thiery, co-founder of the Sydo training consultancy, told French magazine Focus HR: “Micro learning is one of the real pedagogical advances of digital training (…). It integrates easily into everyday life, the content is available when you need it (…) and retention is notably better. Microlearning and mobile learning tools fit in nicely with current digital uses, and because the pace of learning can be adapted, they offer smoother integration of the training activity into the lives of busy professionals. They do not replace face-to-face training, but rather make it more effective”. In his latest video, Jérôme Wargnier, Head of Education at Teach on Mars shares this opinion: “These short activities are faster and considerably less expensive to produce and maintain than the e-learning formats we have been using for some twenty years now. (…) This is (…) an imperative in a world which is in perpetual transformation.”

In short, microlearning is an excellent tool to integrate into an overall training system, offering multiple benefits for both the trainer and the learner. One thing is certain, with attention spans shortening from one generation to the next, microlearning has a bright future ahead of it.


Teach on Mars contents authors: lesson #14 – Emotions, part III

Teach on Mars contents authors: lesson #14 – Emotions, part III

Dear Authors,

Lessons #12 and #13 demonstrate the power of emotions on learning.

Whether videos, anecdotes, smells, surprises or first impressions, the objective is to motivate learners by stimulating joyful emotions, to put them in a “flow state”. The flow state, also known as the zone, is the mental state of operation in which a person performing an activity is fully immersed in a feeling of energized focus, full involvement, and enjoyment in the process of the activity.

They say that good things comin threes! So let’s see in this last lesson on emotions how they may further stimulate our senses and enhance our learning.

First, people are said to be happier when they are busy. Several researches on the pursuit of happiness tend to demonstrate the link between happiness and busyness.

Not just any busyness thoughPeople dread idleness, yet they need a reason to be busy. Without a justification, people choose to be idle. And that’s where Teach on Mars comes in!  Thanks to an offline mode, Teach on Mars offers learners to train anytime and anywhere. Short mobile learning formats allow them turning wasted and boring time (moaning in the traffic jam, day-dreaming in the train, scowling at the snoring neighbor in the plane, queuing at an administration…) into useful and rewarding training moments.

Tip: Offer short educational activities to keep learners valuably busy everywhere.

Teach on Mars illustration on keeping learners busy everywhere:​​


Each Activity lasts up to 5 minutes.

Music is good for the soul… Would it also be beneficial for training? Yes claim studies on te matter!

Listening to music would release dopamine in the brain. The experience of pleasure corresponds with a release of dopamine in specific brain areas. As such, it might be useful to add music during a training session in order to engage learners in a positive and potentially (optimistically) addictive experience!

Most Teach on Mars activities welcome audio and videos, allowing trainers to further improve the quality of their training using learners’ hearing sensitivity. Mobile learning and music get on well together!

Tip: Help learners to capitalize on their emotions with pleasant training music!











And to complete this pamphlet on emotions here is a quote from Daniel Goleman, author, psychologist, and science journalist: … emotional intelligence accounts for 80 percent of career success. 

All the best in your good work!

Lessons index page

Teach on Mars contents authors: lesson #13 – Let emotions serve your content

Teach on Mars contents authors: lesson #13 – Let emotions serve your content

Dear Authors,

The previous lesson #12 started off with the praising of emotions supporting education:

  • People mimic others’ expressions. And moving muscles  are strongly linked to related emotions. Include smily videos will therefore tend to make smily therefore happier learners.
  • Information is processed more deeply and retained longer if it has an emotional hook. Use anecdotes, quotes, stories rather than factual data  would improve learners memorization.
  • Smells induce memories and hence emotions. Designing scent for influencing emotions might soon be part of a mobile apps designer’s options!

These are just a few illustrations of the potentiel impact of emotions on our teaching methods.


Aristotle said: The secret to humor is surprise. (Slightly) more recent studies corroborate the words of the late Great Greek Philosopher! People are pre-set to enjoy surprises. New things capture attention. Including some unexpected likable content in a training would not only get learners’ attention but also provide them with a pleasurable experience.

Tip: Regularly include new nice contents to surprise and therefore motivate learners

Teach on Mars illustration on surprising learners:​​


Teach on Mars SCOUT technology allows authors instantly updating and publishing new contents in SANDBOX mode.


Teach on Mars keeps on proposing new pedagogic activities, such as “Wordspool”, recently released.


Not only (pleasant) surprises delight and motivate learners. The “first impression” that gives the look and feel of the application will determine their trust indicator and therefore their motivation for the next step. People quickly decide on what is trustworthy, or not. It is therefore important to pay attention to the usability and appearance of a training, to give learners the desire to go further!

Tip: Punch up a training usability and appearance to get learners’ trust and motivation

Teach on Mars illustration on brightening mobile learning applications look and feel:​​ ToM Enterprise starts off with a video which discloses some of the pedagogical activities.


Ever day-dreamed with a smile, staring at a pastoral scene? According to some essays , most of human beings enjoy watching landscapes scenes which include hills, waters, trees, birds … It places them in a secure environment, full of protection, water and food. A sense of relaxation that helps learners to focus and achieve the flow state!

Tip: Add pastoral scenes images  to relax and concentrate learners

Teach on Mars illustration on using pastoral, calming scenes:​​

IMG_0624 IMG_0626


I have introduced you with some ingredients making the inspired learners recipe. It is now up to you to try it out and to become the next top chef!

Lessons tips index page.

Teach on Mars contents authors: Lesson #12 – How emotions can best serve learning

Teach on Mars contents authors: Lesson #12 – How emotions can best serve learning

Dear Authors,

Remember lesson #6 on the 7 basic universal emotions: joy, sadness, contempt, fear, disgust, surprise and anger?

Seth Godin declared: There are only two tools available to the educator. The easy one is fear. Fear is easy to awake, easy to maintain, but ultimately toxic. Other tool is passion. Whether from the dark or the bright side, the force of emotions is always with us. So, how can we make the best of it in our training contents? See a few answers below…


First, let’s acknowledge Josh Davis’ studies. On one side, Mr. Davis demonstrates that moving muscles and related emotions are strongly linked. And that people mimic others’ expressions. On the other side, we now know that videos have a significant impact on retaining information. Hence, showing a video with someone happy and smiling will tend to make learners smile as well, which will then make them feel happy and optimistic for the next stage of the training.

Tip: Include smily videos to make smily therefore happier learners

Teach on Mars illustration on smily videos (bonus: French lesson):













Second, the more anecdotical the data delivery, the better the learners comprehension. Why? Because information is processed more deeply and retained longer if it has an emotional kick. Anecdotes appeal to empathy, which in turn produces an emotional reaction. Look for ways to use anecdotes in addition to, or in place of, straight data in our contents may well improve learners’ training memorization. As states Rasheed OgunlaruThe only way to change someone’s mind is to connect with them from the heart. 

Tip: Use anecdotes, quotes, stories rather than factual data to improve learners memorization

Teach on Mars illustration on using anecdotes, quotes and stories:

IMG_0586 IMG_0587


Have you heard of the OPhone? A smartphone that sends smelly SMS seems unbelievable doesn’t it? All the same, smells induce memories and hence emotions. Many companies are using scenting machines for branding: hotels, retail stores, casinos to cite but a few. Why not in learning! In the future, designing scent for influencing emotions might be part of a mobile apps designer’s options;

Teach on Mars might well surprise you with a smelly mobile learning application one of these days! In the meantime, let’s take advantage of our readily available tips. Following on the benefits of our learners’ emotions in the next lesson!

Link to lessons index page.

Teach on Mars contents authors: Lesson #11 – the decision process

Teach on Mars contents authors: Lesson #11 – the decision process

Dear Authors,

Plato said over 2300 years ago “A good decision is based on knowledge and not on numbers”.

How would you rule on Plato’s above saying? Do you believe the way people make a decision on something is straightforward? Apparently not!

Several studies show that our decision process is influenced, as we may suspect, by internal dynamics including our past experiences and temper but also by external factors, to name but one, the trainings we receive.

Let’s try to drill down into this topic a bit! How to take advantages of the science of how we make decisions in the creation of mobile educational content?

First, in her book The art of Choosing, Sheena Lyengar demonstrates that people associate control to the ability to make choices, people need to feel that their actions are powerful and that they have to make choices. Consequently, the more learners can make choices during their training, the more they are satisfied and motivated.

Tip: Give learners a sense of choice to keep them motivated

Teach on Mars illustration on choices:


The training suggests an agenda… … But leaves learners with the choice of the sequence.


Quiz, training games, word picking… The training is full of activities offering learners … the choice of the answer!

Be careful, though! people always want a lot of choices but remember less is more, and people who have too many choices usually end up not choosing at all – the “jam” study!


Second, people would care about time (more than about money). Studies conducted by Jennifer Aaker and Cassie Mogilner show that a person’s experience with a product tends to foster feelings of personal connection with it, and referring to time typically leads to more favorable attitudes—and to more commitment. Learners’ decision to browse through a training would then also depend on the time and experience required to complete it.

Tip: Reference time and experience in you training introduction to keep learners motivated

Teach on Mars illustration on time and experience:


Present the experience that the training will bring


Reference the time for completing the training


What other factor might impact the decision of a learner to be interested in a training? According to a study realized by Marieke de Vries in 2008, people in a happy mood estimate the value of a product higher when making an intuitive decision. We can influence someone’s mood easily, with a short video clip or an amusing little detail in passing. Therefore all that is required to motivate learners is an open enquiring mind and a pinch of humour!

Tip: Spice a training with some humour to keep learners happy and therefore motivated

Teach on Mars illustration on spicing a training with a pinch of humour:

 IMG_0566 IMG_0567


Returning to Plato, what would be your opinion on his quote above after reading through this paper?

Does he leave you with a multitude of possible interpretations? Does his spirit put you a good mood? The decisions is yours!

Link to lessons index page

Teach on Mars contents authors: lesson #10 – let’s focus!

Teach on Mars contents authors: lesson #10 – let’s focus!

Dear Authors,

What grabs people’s attention? Here is a key topic for a trainer, addressed in this 10th lesson!

After traveling the behaviour of our brain with respect to the vision, reading, colours, memory, emotions and thought, let’s see now what attracts us, what holds our attention and how!

First, attention is selective. Among the things for which people unconscious endlessly scans the environment, there is … sex, food, danger and their own identity. So, failing to start a training with a sexy video, remember to always reference the name of your learners in order to secure their responsiveness.

Tip: Always reference your learners’ name to secure their attention.

Teach on Mars illustration on grabbing learners’ attention:

IMG_0508 (1)

Reference learner

IMG_0511 (1)

Engage learners


Second, attention is time limited. People can focus on a task about 7 to 10 minutes at most. Hence we should keep tutorials under 7 minutes in length or introduce new material or interruptions to hold attention longer.

Tip: Keep tutorials under 7 minutes in length because attention is time limited.

Teach on Mars illustration on limiting tutorials’ length:


Time-limited activities


Time-limited tutorials


Third, many psychology researches have proved that people can’t multitask. Whether young or holder, confident to be multitask or not, we may be good at switching back and forth quickly but we can only listen or read one thing at a time and are actually not multitasking.
In the context of education, it is therefore important to focus on one subject and on one step of the learning cycle at a time.

Tip: Multitask is a myth. Focus on one subject and one step of the learning cycle at a time.

Teach on Mars illustration on avoiding multitasking:


A coaching handles 1 subject


An activity handles 1 step


Let’s keep in mind that according to eminent psychologists, to name one, Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi, happiness would depend on our ability to grow a highly focused mental state. So let’s make happy learners by creating attention-catching trainings!

Lessons tips index page