Are you ready to work out your macros? Proteins, carbs, fats, let’s get you fighting fit. Don’t worry, no need to break a sweat! This is not that kind of macro article. In the eLearning sphere, microlearning has been the bee’s knees in recent years. People want quick, targeted, and cheap. You’d be wrong to disregard slower, more thorough cousin macrolearning, though. Read on to discover the uses of macrolearning. 

Macrolearning vs. Microlearning

Macrolearning is the bigger picture; the overview of everything there is to know on a topic or organization. If macrolearning were a university course, it would be “Psychology 101: An Overview for Undergrads,” whereas if you wanted to dive into microlearning, you’d get “Mood and Anxiety in Children between the ages of 6-9.” 


  • Starting line: I want/need to learn something new, and I have a few hours and/or days to dedicate to it. 
  • a wide breadth of learning 
  • the core of eLearning strategy for most businesses, no matter how popular microlearning becomes 
  • puts topics into chunks of content for modules 
  • These are your big, structured courses of the eLearning world


  • Starting line: Oh, dear, I need help right now! 
  • depth of learning on particular topics
  • often found by asking questions 
  • eLearning portals that respond to questions like “How do I access HR data on the intranet?” 
  • Useful once a person has a good grounding of the subject matter 

When To Use Macrolearning

Onboarding and Inductions

It’s Charlie’s first day at Hugh & Nicolls Consultancy. They’re excited for a fresh start and keen to get involved in company culture. This is one of the best places to use macrolearning. While onboarding and inductions are often used interchangeably within HR circles, onboarding is the long-term process of ensuring employees feel part of their new workplace, meet everyone they will be working with, and fully understand their role. Inductions are the more cut and dry process of understanding employee benefits and filling out necessary insurance paperwork. 


I heard you groan all the way over in my home office (nicely nestled between a cat and a steaming cup of coffee, by the way). Compliance training is, by its very nature, a macro activity. Gone are the days where you’d be given a huge stack of papers to educate yourself on the laws and regulations that govern your company and industry. Instead, edTech offers up snazzy quizzes to ensure you have a full overview of everything you need to know. Importantly, you can also gain a full overview of who has completed mandatory compliance training within the company. With the right tech in place, you can create some excellent graphs to show your CEO all the ways your company is making sure it doesn’t get in trouble with the forces that be. 

Organizational Change

You want your business to conquer the world, or at the very least rock your industry’s world. Unfortunately, things are feeling a little stale, and you need a bit of business transformation. You hire a consultant and work with all areas of your business to create new goals and outcomes. The rollout of this new vision requires more than just a PowerPoint presentation. Your existing employees need macrolearning to move your company through the stages of change sustainably and stably. 

Corporate Social Responsibility 

This shouldn’t just be a hip, PR buzzword hidden in the depth of your company’s website. Social responsibility is complex and can’t be targeted by a quick YouTube video. In fact, the key to successful corporate social responsibility, or CSR, is getting your company values in line with giving back to society. To make sure everyone in your business is on board and understands the mission, it is important to give a macro-overview of some of the biggest CSR topics. Some of these are:

  • corporate business ethics
  • sustainability
  • diversity and inclusion 

Benefits of Macrolearning

  • Educate on Familiar Grounds: In most of our education experiences, we learn in a macrolearning environment. This makes it easier for most people to continue to learn this way.
  • Create Masters and Experts: If you’re looking to become an expert on a wide field that you’re new to, macrolearning is still the best way to go. It is your Bachelor’s thesis, not your Ph.D. dissertation. 
  • Handle Complexity with Ease: Some topics are too complex for microlearning to tackle. Macrolearning makes an easy meal of even the most complex.

Cons of Macrolearning

  • Not very on-trend: Don’t get me wrong, you shouldn’t use a form of learning just because it’s hip and sexy, but with microlearning modules popping up left, right, and center, it can be difficult to keep a hold on attention spans for the macro side of things.
  • More expensive: Whenever learning requires more time, it automatically becomes more expensive upfront. However, macrolearning may be saving money long-term due to avoiding costly mistakes due to a lack of complex understanding. 
  • Requires more attention for longer. Even the best laid-out macrolearning eLearning will still require holding a learner’s attention for a significant time. 

Is Macrolearning All You Need?

In conclusion, macrolearning is still king in the eLearning world, and rightly so. Its downsides can be easily supplemented with a sprinkling of microlearning for whenever a learner needs something so specific; they could easily miss it in a grand overview. Macrolearning isn’t all you need, but neither is microlearning. Many problems within learning and development are cropping up due to organizations trying to “patch” too many problems without ever taking a look at the big picture. It’s time to take a step back and get macro with it all.

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