What is Nano Learning?

25 January

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What is Nano Learning?

What is Nano Learning?

Nano learning is a learning design trend created to educate learners on a topic through short, informal learning particles, usually less than 2 minutes long. There is no interaction with the instructor as it is carried out via electronic media.

Due to the popularisation of social media platforms such as TikTok and Snapchat, fast paced content is becoming increasingly prevalent, with generations now learning more from short videos than traditional lesson formats.  

Nano learning is self-contained, by offering small, highly targeted nuggets of information with a single objective, to learners. It can contain a wide variety of multimedia such as text, video, sound, and images, all of which keep learners engaged. Nano learning is also very responsive as it can be viewed on a range of different devices. 

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What is an example of Nano Learning?

Nanolearning refers to small, bite-sized learning experiences that can be completed in a short amount of time compared to traditional educational experiences. These types of learning experiences are typically designed to be easily accessible and digestible, often using technology to deliver content in a quick and efficient manner.

An example of nanolearning might be a brief video tutorial or infographic that teaches a specific skill or concept in just a few minutes. For instance, a short video demonstrating how to use a new software feature or an infographic explaining a complex topic in a simplified way.

Imagine a busy executive who wants to learn more about a particular industry trend but doesn’t have the time to sit down and read a lengthy report or attend a full-day conference. Instead, they could opt for a series of 2-minute videos or infographics that provide a high-level overview of the trend, including key takeaways and potential implications that the internal learning and development team built for company development. This type of nanolearning can be easily consumed during a spare moment in the day, such as while waiting for a meeting to start or during a quick break.

A practical example of nanolearning in action

Your company XYZ Widgets Inc has grown. You now have a large team of marketing professionals using an email automation platform. As the Head of Marketing, you’ve noticed that there is a wide variation in the quality of emails being sent out by across the team.

In an effort to standardise your company’s approach to email you want to implement some training but the team is already stretched. You have worked with a qualified instructional designer to create a nanolearning course in email etiquette.

Here is an outline of the course.

A nanolearning course in ‘Mastering Email Etiquette’

Objective: The objective of this nanolearning course is to help learners improve their email communication skills and develop effective email etiquette in a professional environment.

Duration: The course is designed to be completed within a single day, with a total estimated time commitment of 30 minutes.

1. Introduction (5 minutes):

  • Overview of the importance of email etiquette in professional communication.

  • Explanation of the benefits of mastering email etiquette.

2. Module 1: Basics of Email Etiquette (10 minutes):

  • Writing clear and concise subject lines.

  • Proper use of greetings and salutations.

  • Using a professional tone and language.

  • Structuring emails effectively.

3. Module 2: Formatting and Visual Appeal (5 minutes):

  • Appropriate use of fonts, colors, and formatting.

  • Effective use of bullet points and numbered lists.

  • Avoiding excessive formatting and email clutter.

4. Module 3: Managing Tone and Tone Awareness (5 minutes):

  • Recognizing and avoiding offensive or ambiguous language.

  • Using positive and neutral language.

  • Understanding the impact of tone on email communication.

5. Module 4: Netiquette and Professionalism (5 minutes):

  • Avoiding the use of jargon and abbreviations.

  • Proper use of capitalization and punctuation.

  • Understanding the importance of proofreading and editing.

6. Conclusion and Action Steps (5 minutes):

  • Recap of key points covered in the course.

  • Encouraging learners to apply the learned skills in their daily email communication.

  • Suggesting additional resources for further improvement.

Multimedia in eLearning is a powerful tool for enhancing the learning experience and making it more engaging, interactive, and effective. It allows course creators to deliver content in various formats that cater to different learning styles and preferences, ultimately resulting in a more personalized and effective learning experience for learners.

In this article, we share the top five benefits of incorporating multimedia learning into your digital instruction.

What is the Difference Between Micro & Nano Learning?

Microlearning and nano learning are both forms of bite-sized learning, but there are some core differences between the two.

Microlearning typically involves learning experiences that are longer than nano learning, usually lasting between 5-15 minutes. These experiences are designed to be consumed in one sitting and are often focused on a single learning objective. Examples of microlearning include short videos, interactive quizzes, and gamified activities.

On the other hand, nano learning experiences are even shorter, often lasting less than 5 minutes. They are designed to deliver very specific pieces of information, usually centered around a single idea or concept. Examples of nano learning include infographics, quick tutorials, and short snippets of information.

The main reason someone might choose one form of bite-sized learning over another depends on the specific learning need and context. For instance, microlearning may be better suited for a more complex topic that requires more in-depth instruction, while nano learning might be more appropriate for quick reminders or refreshers on a topic already learned.

In corporate settings, the emergence of digital learning design has made both microlearning and nano learning more popular options for employee training and development. With the rise of remote work and the need for flexibility in training schedules, bite-sized learning experiences can be more easily integrated into busy workdays. Additionally, digital learning design enables organizations to personalize the learning experience, tailoring it to the specific needs of each individual learner.

Overall, the choice between microlearning and nano learning ultimately depends on the specific learning need and context, and both can be effective in corporate training and development programs when implemented appropriately. (Gautham AS, 2020).

Read more about the differences between microlearning, nano learning, and traditional elearning.

How to Apply Nanolearning?

Nano learning can be applied in many different fields such as: medical, leadership, customer, tourism, and coaching. (Moonshot Jr. 2021) Due to the design approach, there is only a short moment to grab the learner’s attention, hook them in and efficiently deliver content. These pieces of education can live in a company onboarding folder or in department development opportunities. (Laverty R, 2020). 

It is most effective when learners need a quick refresher or to support an on-the-job activity, for example: 

  • How to create a pivot table or insert multiple rows on an Excel spreadsheet 

  • How to use a specific feature of an app, like sharing location or making a payment  

With nano learning, learners should be able to immediately benefit from the resource or asset. It should be noted that it is not suitable for deeper levels of learning and skills development.  

Here are some practical examples of nano learning in action: 

  • Sending short SMS or email to learners during a course or programme 

  • 13-30 second video clips with animations (similar to TikTok videos) 

  • Visual infographics covering 3 core points 

The Future of Nano Learning

In the context of digital learning environments and learning and development departments, nanolearning is likely to play an increasingly important role in the future. Here are some reasons why:

  1. Flexibility and convenience: Nanolearning modules can be delivered online, allowing learners to access them at their convenience. This makes it easier for learners to fit learning into their busy schedules and learn at their own pace.

  2. Customization: Nanolearning allows for customization of learning experiences, allowing learners to choose the topics they want to learn about and the pace at which they want to learn.

  3. Engagement: Nanolearning modules are typically short and engaging, which helps to keep learners motivated and focused on the content.

  4. Cost-effectiveness: Nanolearning modules are often cost-effective to produce and deliver, making them an attractive option for organizations with limited budgets.

Overall, the future of nanolearning in digital learning environments and learning and development departments is promising. As organizations continue to seek innovative and effective ways to train their employees and develop their skills, nanolearning is likely to become an increasingly popular approach.

The Next Step

The EdTech industry is constantly evolving, and new opportunities are being created every day. Do you want to reach your professional development goals early this year? With our university credit-rated programmes in Digital Learning Design and Instructional Design, you can advance your career and become job-ready as a specialist in digital learning design. 


  • Study International. (2021) Is nanolearning the way forward?. Available here.  

  • Moonshot Jr. (2021) Nano Learning: What is it and will it work in the future?. Available here

  • Katambur, D. (2019) Microlearning and Nanolearning: The Same Game with a Different Name? Available here

  • Laverty, R. (2020) Nanolearning: The Future of Learning – Training Industry. [online] Training Industry. Available here

  • Gautham AS. (2020) Is Microlearning and Nanolearning Same or Different? E-Learning Gamification, Videos and Courses Development. Available here

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