Humboldt State University

Center for Excellence in Learning & Teaching

Learning & Teaching Tips

Micro-lectures, by Joan Van Duzer: Just-in-time teaching for critical topics and skills

Attaining competence with some concepts and skills requires repetition and practice. Instructors can use class time more efficiently if they create short digitized learning objects that describe a particular concept or demonstrate a skill that students struggle to learn. Create an out-of-class assignment in which students view the micro-lecture and then complete an activity, small project, or written assignment that entails applying the concept or using the skill. Micro-lectures can be as short as 60 seconds to 5 minutes or as long as 15-20 minutes.

Micro-lectures should focus on a specific concept or skill. The micro-lecture technique works best with content that can be explained in small chunks. An advantage is that narrowly-focused micro-lectures allow students to access instruction on a specific concept or skill they need to practice. They do not have to wade through a longer presentation to review one specific topic. Students can return to a micro-lecture any number of times to get the practice they need.

Use micro-lectures to:

Production tips:

Adapted from: University of West Florida, Center for University Teaching, Learning & Assessment

Tip References

Shieh, D. (2009). These lectures are gone in 60 seconds. The Chronicle of Higher Education, 55 (26), A13.