As we transition our in-person classes to online, my first major piece of advice is microlessons. While the learning space is drastically different, learning theories we embrace as teachers do not need to be drastically changed. The transition itself is a huge learning curve. Students and teachers can handle this learning curve with patience and resilience.

To make lessons easier to make and learn, the practice of microlessons can help. A microlesson is the breaking down of a lesson into smaller components to make the objective-to-be-learned manageable. A microlesson should contain one or two concepts to be learned, an activity to practice the concept, and a short assessment to determine whether the learner acquired the information. Breaking down the lesson into smaller micro-lessons means the instructor can determine the uptake of each part of the lesson as well as identify any pitfalls of the learning process in the new system.


For the Learner:

  1. A lower stakes assignment to practice how to learn in the new environment.
  2. Lessen details and learning objectives to make the learning controlled and specific.
  3. Tool for a student to manage learning on their own.

For the learner, the microlesson needs to show them the learning objective, but can also guide them through the learning process slowly, so they learn how to learn and learn how to navigate the new learning space.

For the Instructor:

  1. More detailed lesson planning
  2. A smaller component to test out the new learning space
  3. Development of the lesson into clear and easy to obtain objectives
  4. Adapt the lesson to have the learner practice each component/concept/idea

As we adapt to our new online teaching and learning experiences, the important thing is to be patient and play to our strengths. Online learning has a lot of fun and helpful features. Let go of trying to do too much and embrace what is important: microlessons.

Additional Reading

Andriotis, Nikos. 2018. “What is Microlearning: A Complete Guide for Beginners.” https://elearningindustry.com/what-is-microlearning-benefits-best-practices

Greany, Kirstie. 2019. “5 Inspiring microlearning examples: Inspiration for 2020.” https://www.elucidat.com/blog/microlearning-examples/

Zambito, Victoria. 2018 “The Brain Science of Microlearning: Why it Works.” https://trainingindustry.com/articles/content-development/the-brain-science-of-microlearning-why-it-works/