In a world that’s been evolving constantly in the digital realm for as long as most of us can remember, it’s hard to deny the negative impacts smartphones and social media have on our attention span. Users can hardly sit through a 60-second TikTok video, let alone a 20-minute training course for work. Rather than allowing weaponized incompetence and distractibility to seize the day, app developers have been working tirelessly on creating platforms that make retaining knowledge fun and easy again. They’ve dubbed this trend “microlearning,” and while it could simply be a fad, there are clear benefits to challenging your mind in a bite-sized way.

What Is Microlearning?

Microlearning pictured: man scrolling on phone at his desk
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The concept of microlearning is based on the forgetting curve, which comes from Hermann Ebbinghaus. His research demonstrates that “when people take in large amounts of information, retention of what was learned tends to degrade over time.” More specifically, they reportedly tend to lose 80% of what was previously learned within a month.

To combat this, some educators are delivering content in more succinct ways by condensing large quantities of information into easily digestible chunks. There are numerous ways this can be done, from creating interactive quizzes, games and flashcards to watching seemingly made-for-social media videos breaking down concepts in three to five minutes. Other microlearning tactics include audio snippets, reading short paragraphs and understanding different processes through illustrations and visual aids.

The benefits of this digital trend include more engagement and knowledge retention for learners as well as valuable time and money saved for employers, teachers and other community leaders. There are still some cons to the new system – mostly the fact that it’s not suited to complex topics, which would require additional expertise to fully grasp. Microlearning is still relatively new, but so far, the apps coming out suggest a promising future for sharpening our minds in the digital age.

Best Microlearning Platforms

To start your microlearning journey, here are a few apps to choose from.


Nerdish describes itself as “a new way of learning and self-development for those who want to learn something new every day.” Subjects you can study on the platform include history, science, tech and the arts, with a recommended input of 10 to 15 minutes per day. Numerous times a week, the site’s editorial team shares a new topic to be pondered, always keeping you up to date with what’s happening in our world.

Khan Academy

If you happen to be a teacher or parent, one of the best microlearning platforms for you to check out for your kids is Khan Academy. They’ve been around since 2006 but have worked hard to continuously expand their content library, now offering free courses in math from pre-school to college, computing, social/emotional learning and many more.

iSpring Learn

Those who are eager to create a microlearning platform of their own might enjoy iSpring Learn, which can be accessed on your smartphone or desktop. The website boasts that you can launch your own program in one day; this is partially due to iSpring’s built-in authoring tool that can be used to create responsive courses. Should you already have an impressive collection of content, you can use your videos, slides and articles to create training material for others.


Learning a language isn’t an easy task, but with Duolingo, you can work toward your personal development goals and feel more confident in your Spanish in a matter of minutes. Creating a standard account is free, and if you find yourself maintaining a streak for longer than anticipated, it might be worth treating yourself to the paid version. With Super Duolingo, it’s easier to complete daily lessons in French, Italian, Arabic and Hebrew, just to name a few. As they continue to expand, the beloved microlearning platform has added piano and match lessons too.


Finally, there’s Ted-Ed. It’s not hard to find inspirational Ted Talks on YouTube, coaching viewers on everything from finding business success to tapping into your spiritual side. As mentioned, declining attention spans make it difficult for some to sit through these insightful conversations, which is partially what led to the design of Ted-Ed. Videos on the platform tackle tough but important topics in less than five minutes, such as dealing with imposter syndrome, showing empathy to others and recognizing signs of emotional abuse.