Microlearning and Nanolearning: Similarities, Differences, and the Future of Learning

“Great teachers engineer learning experiences that put students in the driver’s seat and then get out of the way.”


The world has become fast-paced, our Gen Y and Gen Z are realizing the need for quick, effective, and on-the-go knowledge disbursal mechanisms.

And that’s exactly what Microlearning and Nanolearning strategies have to offer to students, corporate workforce, and all sorts of learners.

However, more info regarding how exactly Microlearning and Nanolearning practices work is the need of an hour.

Microlearning and Nanolearning: Similarities, Differences, and the Future of Learning
“Great teachers engineer learning experiences that put students in the driver’s seat and then get out of the way.” ― Ben Johnson


Microlearning vs. Nanolearning: The Similarities and Differences

  • Microlearning

The word “Microlearning” is somewhat self-explanatory. “Micro” means small and learning refers to “the process of acquiring knowledge, behaviors, skills, values, and preferences.”

Keeping it simple, Microlearning aims to deliver nuggets of knowledge in short activities of 2 to 5 minutes.

Currently, 10-15 minutes long Microlearning sessions are being used by a number of corporates, but it’s high time that the duration is reduced to its ideal length. I.e. 2 to 5 minutes.

So, that’s what Microlearning is fundamentally all about, and that’s also where the need for Nanolearning is most desperately felt.

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  • Nanolearning

The world “Nanolearning” means learning in bite-sized packets. “Nano” refers to something that’s of microscopic size.

So, Nanolearning, in simple terms, is the more compressed form of Microlearning.

Here the aim is to teach skills to learners within 90 seconds. E.g. deliver a 90-seconds instructional video on how to create Microsoft Excel Sheets.

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Similarities in Microlearning and Nanolearning

Both Microlearning and Nanolearning are regarded as eLearning strategies created for effective and fast dispensation of knowledge and skills.

Many features are common between the two, such as:

1. Ideal Modes of Learning for Millennials as well as Gen Z

New-age learners hardly have any time to spare for learning new things. That’s why it’s imperative that Microlearning and Nanolearning strategies are adopted worldwide.

The learners are able to gain knowledge and skills in the shortest span of time without sacrificing their daily life activities.

Nowadays corporations are also demanding that workforce be equipped with dynamic knowledge/skills and capable of playing multiple roles in the business at command.

2. Microlearning and Nanolearning Impart Knowledge Without Fillers

In contrast to classic, hour-long lectures, 5-10 minute lectures are able to convey the main points of topics, skipping the unnecessary portions.

It is not be understood here that long lectures are ineffective, it’s just that short form of lectures serve the modern, time-bound purposes.

You can learn just the portion you need to learn in a very short span of time, via Microlearning and Nanolearning, which you cannot do otherwise.

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3. Pareto Principle is Common to Both Branches of eLearning

Pareto principle says that we can achieve 80% results by applying just 20% effort.

Watching a 2-minute instructions video to learn a skill you require in real-time can prove to be a lot more effective and time saving.

Microlearning and Nanolearning may not always follow Pareto principle, but the advantages are substantial.

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4. Facilitates Focused Knowledge and Spaced Repetition

Microlearning and Nanolearning techniques allow us to retain only the information we require and makes it easy for us to skip the parts that we already know and move ahead in a program. Besides that, it makes spaced repetition a piece of cake.

Learning is not a one-time thing, we actually retain very little of what we learn, unless scheduled repetitions are made.

If we manage to learn a skill in bite-sized chunks over a period of time, we can learn it more efficiently.

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5. Microlearning and Nanolearning Strategies are Cost-effective

Microlearning and Nanolearning enables the learners to learn anything on a low budget. A little video or a mini podcast might be an efficient way to swiftly disseminate information.

It could also be a simple PowerPoint presentation made by a small business owner. You neither need to spend a lot of time or a lot of money if you’re willing to learn anything.

Differences in Microlearning and Nanolearning

The major similarities in Microlearning and Nanolearning discussed above clearly indicate that while Microlearning tries to deliver information in small nuggets on a particular learning target, Nanolearning further breaks down those objectives, and tries to cover individual learning points that fall within the domain of a Microlearning objective.

Learning time of 2-5 minutes is ideal for Microlearning and below 90 seconds training instructions make a norm in case of Nanolearning.

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The Future of Learning: Micro and Nano!

It’s pretty evident that the current tech-savvy generation wants everything on the go. The content, whether for entertainment or education, is desirable only in short, precise, and interesting formats.

Most people are busy watching reels on Instagram, shorts on YouTube, and TikTok videos because they’re short, entertaining, and precise. The same strategy is to be followed for the dissemination of knowledge because no one has time to go the long way.

The predominant indoors lifestyle has made people more dependent on technology, and the utilization of the same via Microlearning and Nanolearning for spread of knowledge and skills has become the need of an hour.

With that being said, it’s also worth mentioning that classroom experience is still a must for students, and online education has impaired our children of personality development, extracurricular activities, etc. which cannot be conducted online.



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Muneeb Sheikh
Muneeb Sheikh
A dreamchaser who loves to write for the greater good. A room-dweller who basks in human eccentricities, rather than sunlight. BeAnInspirer is a kind of platform where I love to share my content freely with a great, encouraging community.

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