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Women’s fashion in the 1800s was characterized by maxi-dresses which came all the way to the ankles.  By the 1940’s, skirt lengths crept to mid-calf with the introduction of the midi-skirt. The 1960s continued the upward climb with mini-skirts that sat mid-thigh.  These days, any length is acceptable, including the hybrid hi-lo:  short in the front and long in the back. Different lengths are acceptable for different circumstances.  The same thing can be said of training.

Through the 1980s, training usually involved face-to-face, single or multi-day courses.  These courses, which now are considered macro-learning, provide the context and the details while giving learners a chance to practice and get feedback.  But they lose points for efficiency.  Aside from the associated logistical costs, much of the information is not used immediately.

In the 1990s, shorter, self-paced, computer-based courses proliferated.  Now considered mini-learning and mostly migrated to the internet, web-based training generally lasts no more than an hour.  These courses work well for introducing a subject.  But they suffer from middle-position problems:  some consider them too superficial to explain a subject and others consider them too long and boring.

Enter micro-learning in the 2010s. Micro-learning focuses on giving learners what they need when they need it but nothing more.  On the positive side, viewers get answers to questions in under five minutes. On the negative side, micro-learning provides little context so users do not learn how to problem-solve the next issue that may arise.

Training Remote Employees

In today’s increasingly distributed workplace, training remote employees presents a unique challenge for organizations. Traditional face-to-face training methods are often not feasible or effective for remote teams, and organizations need to find creative ways to deliver training that is engaging, effective, and accessible to all employees.

There are a number of training methods that are particularly well-suited for training remote employees, such as:

  • Self-paced online courses: These courses allow employees to learn at their own pace and on their own schedule, which can be especially helpful for employees who have busy schedules or who are located in different time zones.
  • Webinars and virtual workshops: These live sessions allow employees to interact with trainers and other learners in real time, which can help to create a sense of community and engagement.
  • Microlearning: This approach involves delivering small pieces of content in a variety of formats, such as videos, infographics, and interactive modules. Microlearning can be a great way to deliver training on specific topics or skills.

In addition to the tips mentioned above, organizations should also consider the following when developing and implementing training micro or macrolearning programs for remote employees:

  • How to build a community at work: Remote employees can feel isolated from their colleagues, so it is important to create opportunities for them to connect and build relationships. This can be done through virtual team-building activities, social media groups, and online forums.
  • How to network: Networking is essential for career development, but it can be more challenging for remote employees. Organizations can help remote employees network by providing them with access to online networking platforms and hosting virtual networking events.
  • Choosing a training provider: When choosing a training provider, it is important to consider the needs of your remote employees. Look for a provider that offers a variety of training methods, including self-paced online courses, webinars, and virtual workshops.

Like women’s fashion, today’s organizations do not have to choose a single category of learning to offer employees.  They can choose what is best for the particular circumstances.  The following table highlights the differences:

Macro-Learning Mini-Learning Micro-Learning
Duration Half-day or more 5 – 60 minutes 2-5 minutes
Goal Understand and do something new. Understand the basics. Get single help or answer now.
Prime Focus Context, principles, practice, problem-solving, skills-building Basic concepts, simple to moderate task performance Problem-solving, task performance, help, reinforcement
Access Attend course Search online/ Access website Ask question/ Search online
Formats Instructor-led classes, webinars Self-study elearning modules or videos Help functions, videos, samples, templates, tools
Interactivity Many Some None

Which one is best for your organization?  It depends on what you are trying to achieve.  The following questions can help you decide:

  1. At what point on their learning journey are the learners?
    • For new, basic information, consider micro or mini-learning.
    • For new, complex information, consider macro-learning.
    • For information that supplements existing knowledge, consider micro-learning.
  2. Do learners want answers to immediate tasks or understanding of the bigger picture?
    • For tasks, consider micro-learning.
    • For the bigger picture, consider mini or macro-learning.
  3. How critical is practice and feedback to learning the behavior?
    • For critical, use macro-learning.
    • For less critical, consider mini- or micro-learning.


For help deciding what solution is best for your organization, contact Comprehensive Learning Solutions.

Karen Feeley
Karen Feeley

Instructional designer

Karen Feeley is a seasoned professional with over 25 years of experience in workplace learning and development. She is a published author, trainer, instructional designer, editor, and project manager with a proven track record of success in the private, public, and non-profit sectors.