Microlearning: What Is It and How Should It Be Used for Compliance Training?

Amber Ratcliffe
Female nurse at computer

Healthcare is a continuously evolving industry, especially when it comes to compliance. Compliance standards are consistently under scrutiny from regulatory organizations, which means healthcare professionals frequently need to refresh, re-train, and learn new concepts and best practices. When that time comes, microlearning is one of the best options for compliance training. 

What Is Microlearning?

Microlearning refers to “small but complete learning experiences,” according to organizational learning guru Clark Quinn. If that doesn’t mean much to you, that’s ok. Let’s break it down and look at the components of effective microlearning:

  • Short lessons that are typically 3 – 12 minutes in length
  • Highly informational content that engages learners
  • Content focuses on 1 or 2 main learning objectives
  • Tests knowledge or offers an opportunity to try it out

In short, microlearning is a concise, super-concentrated education that’s created to meet a particular learning outcome. A microlearning course will typically consist of rich media such as videos, quizzes, and other interactive elements — content that engages you and helps with retention.

While microlearning is often executed as a concept for online training, it doesn’t need to be digital. In fact, you’ve had plenty of micro-learning experiences in your life — like when a colleague shows you how to make a double-sided copy using the copy machine. You watched how a specific action was performed, then tested your knowledge by trying it yourself. That’s microlearning!

Reasons To Use Microlearning

Lots of busy professionals gravitate to microlearning because it offers them a succinct way to learn. But the benefits of microlearning go well-beyond just short, to-the-point educational experiences. Here’s a look at some of the best reasons for healthcare professionals to use microlearning:

  • Improved Focus. Microlearning reduces overload and improves focus for learners by breaking complex topics into bite-sized, easily digestible modules. This allows them to absorb critical information without feeling overwhelmed, and empowers them to retain and apply knowledge effectively.
  • Self-Paced Learning. Healthcare professionals benefit from self-paced microlearning that works around and in tandem with their schedules and preferences. This flexibility helps them acquire new skills and stay updated with medical advancements, without disrupting their demanding work routines.
  • Improved Engagement. Microlearning improves engagement by utilizing interactive and multimedia content. By mixing up the type of learning, it fosters active participation and caters to various learning styles. It can make the learning process more enjoyable and effective!
  • Less Administrative Burden. In short-staffed healthcare environments, microlearning becomes a valuable resource for time-crunched professionals who need to upskill and educate themselves quickly and efficiently. Microlearning helps keep patient care top-of-mind and the primary focus, even when time is limited.
  • Adaptable Approaches. Microlearning’s adaptability to diverse learning empowers healthcare professionals with different backgrounds, specialties, and levels of expertise to access customized content that suits them. This fosters an interest in continuous growth and skill development.


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The Best Ways To Use Microlearning in Compliance Training

Microlearning’s versatility translates well to compliance-focused training programs. Whether it’s a refresher or a new concept, bite-sized lessons make it easy to prioritize a compliance mindset. Let’s explore some of the best practices for leveraging microlearning in compliance training

1. Continuous education (such as HIPAA)

HIPAA training is required annually, but most healthcare organizations require refreshers more often. Microlearning is great for these refresher trainings, which can be done monthly or quarterly in just 10 – 15 minutes. Bite-sized learnings satisfy compliance requirements without getting in the way of busy schedules. 

Examples: Cybersecurity & HIPAA, Practical Applications of the HIPAA Privacy Rule, The HIPAA Security Rule, HIPAA and Social Media, Protecting PHI, and more.

2. Introductory trainings

When additional training is required for your team, you might want to start slow with microlearning courses. Microlearning can help introduce unfamiliar topics to staff and get them comfortable with new compliance concepts, as opposed to making them sit through a seminar or long presentation. 

Examples: The HITECH Act, Security Risk Analysis and Contingency Planning, Informed Consent, and more.

3. Optional learning

There are many different types of training that are highly recommended for healthcare professionals — education that’s primed for microlearning. Whether it’s learning how to use a new piece of medical equipment or getting a primer on the facility’s emergency response plans, microlearning helps create a culture of continuous compliance.

Examples: professional development and management courses, refreshers, equipment tutorials, compliance plan overviews, customer service training, and more.

How MedTrainer Incorporates Microlearning in Compliance Training

When you’re administering an employee training program, it’s not enough to simply track who watched or attended training. You need to build in accountability and incorporate knowledge checks. To give you an idea of what this looks like, here’s how we do it at MedTrainer:

Set expectations upfront

In each course, we explain what the student should learn from the course, otherwise known as the learning objectives. This gives them context, which helps them learn. It also starts the process of repetition, which is important for learning, even in a microlearning setting. Lastly, it previews what will be assessed during the knowledge check.

Focus attention

Even in five-minute microlearning courses, people are tempted to disengage and let their mind wander. We try to put some guardrails on this behavior, to keep the learner focused. If someone clicks away from the lesson, our courses pause until the viewer is back on the course tab and ready to engage with the content in front of them. 

Provide interactive material

Throughout the short course, we include interactive elements that are designed to keep the learner engaged. When a student participates in the learning process — rather than being a passive participant — they learn faster and more thoroughly. Clicking to reveal more information or dragging an element to the appropriate category are ways we put learners in the driver’s seat.

Check comprehension

At the end of a micro-lesson we always give a quiz, to make sure the student learned what they were supposed to. If the student doesn’t get a passing score on the quiz, they can take the course again until they improve their score. The lesson is short, but the content is important — we want to make sure it is well-understood.

Microlearning for the Modern Healthcare Environment

MedTrainer improves compliance training programs by offering tailored microlearning experiences, designed to enhance understanding and retention of crucial regulatory information. Through a cloud-based learning management system (LMS), MedTrainer delivers bite-sized, interactive modules that enable healthcare professionals to learn at their own pace, ensuring optimal comprehension and engagement. 

With a comprehensive content library, automated tracking, and compliance management tools, MedTrainer not only streamlines the training process; we empower organizations to meet compliance standards efficiently and effectively. Learn more today!