Microlearning and inclusive leadership


Microlearning has been gaining in popularity in recent years – here’s how I incorporate it into my inclusive leadership training program and why it’s important to do so.

I have worked in the diversity and inclusion industry for 13 years now, delivering inclusive leadership training to senior executives all over the world.

These people are time poor – I know because I was in the same boots before I started my own business (I’m still in the same boots!), as Head of Mergers and Acquisitions at Aon in the UK and Australia.

I needed a way to teach these senior execs the ‘how to’ of inclusive leadership in a way that would hold their attention, get them to retain the information, and most importantly – put it into practice.

That’s why I started incorporating microlearning into my Courage: Inclusive Leadership in Action program.

Furthermore, the average attention span of Millennials these days is a mere 8 seconds, and by 2025, Millennials are set to make up 75% of the workforce.

As this new leadership generation progress through their careers, it is imperative to tailor our adult learning to this audience.


So what is mircolearning and how does it work?


In short, microlearning is bite-sized learning delivered in short components of no more than 5 minutes each, covering 1 learning objective per component.

These small bites of information are effective in engaging short attention spans and delivering essential learning.

Due to the short duration, programs that incorporate microlearning are suitable for mobile apps, enabling users to access and learn at times and places that suit them, such as lunch breaks or commutes.

These bite sized components support the following adult learning objectives:



The bites must acquaint learners with why they need to be trained. Our Courage: Inclusive Leadership in Action program immediately educates participants about how inclusive leadership is not just a nice to have, but directly impacts the bottom line of the business. This demonstrates the relevance to how they can make a difference to their day-job. Once they are convinced that learning more about how to be an inclusive leader will increase the engagement, collaboration, innovation, productivity and diversity of their team, the learning becomes something they passionately WANT to achieve rather than feeling forced.



Youtube is the 2nd most visited website in the world, after Google, and it’s said that 70% of Millennials visit Youtube every month. Video is becoming increasingly popular for elearning and is something participants expect to see. Video engages participants and holds their attention, as long as clips are kept to no more than 5 minutes each.



Participants have the freedom to choose what they want to learn. They choose the time, pace, and content they want by flicking through the various components of each module. The Courage: Inclusive Leadership in Action program has 5 modules that need to be completed over the duration of 10 weeks. This equates to 1 module per fortnight and allows the participants to set their own pace within a broad timeframe. They choose whether to watch leader perspective videos, participate in interactions, conduct offline real experiments, or collaborate with other participants via discussion boards.



Participants are taught something new that connects to their existing knowledge. Even leaders that are well acquainted with diversity and inclusion have something new to learn! The Courage: Inclusive Leadership in Action program is built around experiments, allowing leaders to pull out their existing to-do lists and pick something on their that they can commit to doing differently. This reinforces to our leaders that rather than adding to their workload, we are just getting them to look at what’s already there in a different light. It also provides a connection between the learning and what they are already doing on a day-to-day basis.


Different mediums

As I mentioned above, video is a crucial part of the mix when delivering microlearning. It is also important to consider other mediums to keep your audience engaged, such as interactions, scenarios, experiments, gamified activities, and quizzes. The Courage: Inclusive Leadership in Action program uses a mixture of all of these elements to keep the attention of all participants.


Knowledge retention

If you’ve heard of the Ebbinghaus forgetting curve, you’ll know that the human memory is limited and fallible. Herman Ebbinghaus, a German psychologist, concluded in 1885 that while the brain could retain fresh information, over time much of this information would be forgotten – and the older the information, the less the person would remember. In order to maximise knowledge retention, repetition and embedding is required over a period of time. The Courage: Inclusive Leadership in Action program is run over a 10-week period for this exact reason.


As you can see, microlearning certainly isn’t just the latest buzzwork that’s been gaining in popularity.

It is an increasingly important learning method used to maximise engagement and knowledge retention, and ultimately ensure participants get the most out of their training experience.

It’s also a key part of one of our flagship programs, and has been successfully undertaken by thousands of leaders already.

Speak to us today to find out about how the Courage: Inclusive Leadership in Action program can work for your leaders.

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