Skip to main content


Oct 2017

Compliance: micro learning vs long form training

Blog posts

Cammy Bean

Cammy Bean

Senior Solutions Consultant at Kineo US

Compliance training. No one particularly loves it - not even the legal department - but there’s virtually no way to avoid it. In most industries, if an organization or its employees aren’t in compliance, some pretty nasty consequences can arise should a law be violated or regulation ignored. And let’s be honest, compliance content isn’t by nature the most entertaining information to learn. That doesn’t mean it can’t be made a bit more interesting and engaging. In this post, we’ll take a look at two different options for how to tackle compliance training: microlearning vs long form training.

Microlearning vs long form training

When lookin at microlearning vs long form training, long form training is probably what most people are familiar with - sitting down and watching a long video, or reading through 50 slides about legal matters. The premise of microlearning is that not only does it help increase productivity by avoiding hours long tutorials and trainings, but that it encourages spaced learning. Spaced learning - or the repetition of the same material over a long period of time - increases memory retention and makes material more resistant to being forgotten. Of course, the spacing of the material needs to be monitored, as there is a point where the spacing becomes too few and far between, and is therefore counterproductive.

However, microlearning doesn’t just mean taking the material and making it shorter by serving it up in the same, static way. Microlearning is about short segments - no more than 5-10 minutes each - and different activities should be associated with them. For example, the training program may kick off with a short (remember, the keyword here is “micro!”) introductory video that discusses some background on specific rules and regulations. Think infomercial! From there, an organization might opt for weekly scenario-based elearning modules using interactive video (or other means) that encourage employees to think through specific situations, choose the right and wrong responses, and analyze the results. These scenario modules are also short - remember 5-10 minutes - and allow people to practice the skill they were introduced to in that initial video, such as identifying risks or choosing a compliant course-of-action. In this manner, microlearning vs long form training provides employees with shorter bursts of information that they are able to process uniquely each time. This repetitive method helps drive home the learning points, but also helps to change employee behavior regarding certain situations, since they’ll become conditioned to look for certain risks or respond in certain ways.

Instituting a campaign-style approach

At Kineo, we’re big fans of campaign style learning, in which microlearning plays a starring role. In a campaign approach, you’re looking to take a long-range view on changing employee behavior, distributing short bursts of content and exercises to be taken over a sustained period of time. For the most part, compliance training is about creating awareness - and marketing is all about creating awareness. If it works for a product, why wouldn’t it work for a new regulation or requirement?

The same type of campaign-style learning can be done for compliance training. If employees are assigned weekly modules as part of a microlearning vs long form training approach, they will continuously come in contact with the same information presented in a variety of ways or settings to reinforce the overall messaging. This approach keeps the information top of mind for employees while also providing unique and interactive ways for the messaging to be absorbed.

And if an organization can add a splash of fun to the microlearning sessions by incorporating interactive video or gamification, that’s all the better! After all, microlearning is not about segmenting and shortening the larger learning initiative, it’s about providing the initiative in segments that may require critical thinking and analysis to facilitate learning and retain information.

Providing flexibility and increasing productivity

Finally, one of the biggest advantages of microlearning vs long form training is that it provides a way for organizations to get their compliance training done without taking up hours of employee time. The very nature of microlearning means that it’s well suited for its flexibility and for increasing productivity, as it can be completed on mobile devices. This means that employees can complete modules during their commute on public transit or in some downtime before a meeting begins.

Now that you’re on board with using a microlearning approach to your compliance training, download our guide, The micro manual

Cammy Bean

Cammy Bean

Senior Solutions Consultant at Kineo US

Cammy has been collaborating with organizations to design online learning programs since 1996. An active speaker and blogger, Cammy gets fired up about instructional design, avoiding the trap of clicky-clicky bling-bling, and ways to use technology to create real behavior change.

Contact us

Talk to a member of our team about your learning goals