Microlearning In Language Learning

Microlearning In Language Learning [You NEED this]


Microlearning isn’t new in the language learning scene. However, it has developed a lot over the years. In this post, you’ll learn what it is, the examples, the benefits, the characteristics, the challenges, and places to create your own microlearning content.

What is microlearning?

It’s a method where learners learn something specific in bite-sized lessons. One of its nicknames is knowledge nuggets. Initially, they are long pieces of information split up into short, easy-to-understand, and take only a few minutes to finish.

It can also be used to review what learners have learned to strengthen their knowledge (written in their own words). With the help of spaced repetition, they can retain the knowledge for a longer period.

If I can give you a perfect example of what microlearning in general is then what you’re doing right now is exactly that. 

  1. You search on Google for microlearning in language learning (or something similar)
  2. Click on a link that captures your attention
  3. Read the post for less than 5 minutes
  4. You got what you’re looking for. Objective achieved!
  5. Done.

Examples Of Microlearning In Language Learning

Videos (Interactive, Explainer)

SpanishDict Interactive Video

If you use SpanishDict you will find lots of interactive videos. YouTube is one of the most popular sites for learners to find pretty much anything from comprehensive input, simple grammar explanations, native materials, etc.

If you’re looking for how a word(s) is used in a different context in the form of videos try YouGlish. It’s available in these languages;


Most of you have been using language apps such as Duolingo, Babbel, etc in your daily lives. These apps are designed to deliver lessons in a stressless way that even busy people can do by squeezing in 5 minutes of their time. 

As for Google Translate although it doesn’t fall into the app category one can use it to look up the translation of foreign words or phrases quickly. If there are useful ones, they can add them to their SRS apps such as Anki, Quizlet, etc.

A few apps also have Word Of The Day. You never know when this can come in handy.

Social Media

There are lots of language learning accounts on each platform. For example, Instagram. I’ve listed down a few English and Spanish learning accounts. Learners can follow these accounts and participate in their exercise posts.

Stage Door Johnny
Stage Door Johnny

Some users on a platform such as TikTok are very creative. They create humorous videos wittingly. People engage with it and feel like they are indirectly learning something complex.

Games and challenges (MCQ, flashcards, leaderboards, Q&A)

Games such as puzzles, crosswords, etc are fun activities. Challenges such as leaderboards, Q&As, etc can motivate learners to do better. Doing so involves active recalls, one of the best methods in language learning.

Infographics (Informational, Comparison, List)

Informational can be used to explain the changes in a language over the years for example in terms of spelling, etc. Whereas comparison can be used for verb conjugations. The list can be used to list down similar words with different meanings.

Audio/ Books

Listening to something you relish whether it’s music, podcasts, or audiobooks doesn’t require much effort. All you have to do is sit down, focus, and let your ears be familiarized with how your target language is spoken by natives. 

As for books, short stories are a good start. In fact, Olly Richards created a course called StoryLearning. Either way, you’re testing and improving your comprehension skills at the same time.

Benefits Of Microlearning

One At A Time

Microlearning focuses on targeting one goal or objective at a time making it attainable. Learners are the ones who decide what they want to learn, when, and where making it personalized only to them and can be done at their own pace. 

Time may no longer be a problem.


Our brain can only absorb so much. By breaking down information one can learn without feeling overwhelmed. Funny how we want to learn more when the lesson is short. 

That means our attitude toward it is different compared to the opposite. By the end, we were like ‘I’m still focused, let’s learn more’. Since the human attention span is getting shorter by the decade this approach is ideal for them.


Google Analytics Device Percentage

It can easily be accessed across multiple devices. Much research has shown that the percentage of mobile users is much higher than desktops.

Even my Google Analytics says so for my blog (last year’s stats).

Knowing this microlearning content creators have made their content responsive which resulted in great benefits for learners because now the information can be served on the go.

Characteristics Of Effective Microlearning

In order to achieve efficient learning, micro-content must be purposeful, logical, short (max 15 minute), carefully planned and included in macro structure by a teacher. - Alexandra P. Marinskaya

To The Point

The information must contain only important points hence why it needs to be concise and comprehensible. It has to go through a few filters. 

For example, does X topic interest you? If yes, what are the things you need to know? Then, remove the unnecessary and keep the main keywords.

It’s difficult to know what one already knows and doesn’t know. Adding the option to skip the former and go straight to the latter is thoughtful. This is called adaptive microlearning.

Go Offline

Continuing with the ‘mobile-friendly’ point if you’re the creator know that microlearning can be done offline too. It doesn’t have to be digital all the time (though it makes our lives easier). 

You can do it with a notebook, bring it anywhere, and don’t have to worry about an internet connection.


It has to be interesting enough to pique one’s interest to keep learning and/or reviewing the lessons. 

Microlearning must have interactive elements to make learners apply what they have learned immediately, be it mix and match, translating into the target language, drag-and-drop, etc. Toward the end, they can clearly figure out the main takeaways.

Challenges Of Microlearning

The beginning is always the hardest. Planning out the ‘blueprint’ of the content takes a lot of time and is one hell of a task. You have to double-check a bunch of things such as;

  • Is everything aligned with the objective?
  • Is it relevant?
  • Is it straightforward enough?
  • Is it the correct format?
  • Is the layout visually appealing? Is it too flashy?
  • etc

Even after careful planning, there’s always going to be something to add (unexpected ideas popping up). It’s unavoidable because that’s part of the ‘updating the content’ process.

Being tech-savvy is one thing but knowing how to use digital tools is another. It’s a total learning curve not many people are willing to do.

With apps, either you love it or hate it. Learners probably don’t use much of their active brain, resulting in being receptive bilingual because these apps often use word recognition rather than active recall.

Sometimes it isn’t always fruitful just like what I said in my previous post ‘fast isn’t always good. Slow isn’t always bad’. Microlearning definitely works best with other ‘not so short’ methods. 

Create Your Own Microlearning Content

Apart from the popular Anki and Quizlet, below are a few alternatives you might want to consider using. They are good for creating microlearning content in general not just for language learning.

Midterm App
Mochi Attachment Option

Do you use microlearning? How do you go about doing it? What’s your favorite part? Share with us below.

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  1. Nguyễn Thị Phương Trâm says:

    So for the past half a decade my language skills in both English and Vienamese have improved because of this method! I am a good example of the success of microlearning yeah. It is so wonderful to learn that there is an official name to the way my brain works. Thanks yeah. 🙂

    • ourmindonmusic says:

      Fantastic! I’m so glad this method has worked for you! Thanks so much for sharing that with us too!

      • Nguyễn Thị Phương Trâm says:

        You are welcome. Cheers to learning!

    • Meina says:

      Hi, Nguyễn Thị Phương Trâm.

      There’s almost always a name for everything. Heck, I didn’t even know a passive bilingual term exists 😄 Thanks for dropping by!

      • Nguyễn Thị Phương Trâm says:

        I’m going to have to look up “passive bilingual” !! Thanks 🙂

  2. ourmindonmusic says:

    This is interesting content. I wonder what you think about learning language through music. I know in my own experience, I’ve discovered many “nuggets” through music. Would you have any interest in writing about that?

    • Meina says:

      Hi, thank you. I’ve actually written a post on that a long time ago here.

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