Three Ways to Use Microlearning in Higher Education Classrooms

college students having fun in successful gamification program

By Blake Beus

Today’s college students learn much differently than they used to. Higher education is no longer a world of physical textbooks and hour-long presentations. With so much access to information and multiple learning platforms online, the attention span of the average college student no longer has time to truly focus on these traditional teaching methods.

A possible solution? Microlearning, a great employee onboarding tool in corporate learning, is something you can try implementing to help meet the needs of your students.

Microlearning is an effective form of delivering content in small, easily digestible pieces. It provides students with focused information and control over the content flow. By engaging students with microlearning strategies, you speak their language and increase their chances of not only learning the material but retaining it. Here are a few strategies that have worked for other educators.


PechaKucha is a presentation method that isn’t much different than the average PowerPoint (or Prezi) lecture, except that it relies more on pictures than text. Presenters assemble twenty thematic images that culminate into a specific idea, and the presenter only spends twenty seconds discussing each image.

PechaKucha is a good fit for microlearning because it focuses on a specific time limit with a set number of slides. These time constraints require the presenter’s content to be very focused and condensed, which is easier for the audience to digest.

For example, you could create a Pecha Kucha presentation containing images representing a specific argumentative topic (Ex: Do violent video games cause violent behavior?) and use the images to spark interest and get students’ ideas flowing. When you conclude your presentation, it sets the stage for an open discussion with your students. See other examples here.


Infographics are a great way to condense a topic that could take pages to write, and Venngage is one resource available to help you create them. Infographics are an effective microlearning strategy because they present a large chunk of information into a condensed visual. Instead of having to read pages of material on a theoretical model, you can just put together an infographic explaining that same model with a visual representation.

Infographics not only lend themselves to microlearning, they are a great way to add visuals to your courses and make them more engaging. They are also a great way to engage different kinds of learners as defined by Howard Gardner’s multiple intelligence theory.

Referring back to the argumentative essay example, using infographics is an effective method to present your learners with raw numbers and statistics before they begin writing. Using infographics as research tools can help present seemingly abstract information into a recognizable order which has many benefits for your learners. Not only will it give them quick access to relevant information, but it will also prompt students to recognize previously unseen patterns and connections among the data.

Whatever information you’re covering, infographics can lend a helping hand to your content delivery and student’s organization. To get started on Venngage, educators can take a look at their tutorial page, or check out their templates for more ideas.


The use of videos is another great way to implement microlearning into your course. More college students learn from videos than they ever have before. Videos are also versatile and accessible on various platforms. Animoto is a great tool to help with your custom video, slideshow or presentation creations.

Let’s stick with the argumentative essay as an example. This time, you could put together a slideshow of the argumentative essay parts. You would start with the introduction and proceed with bullet points that break down the part of the introduction. In addition, you could add a picture that helps elaborate on the topic, and if you wish, an engaging, catchy tune. In addition to that example, here’s a page to help you with using Animoto in the classroom.

For today’s learners, microlearning is a great way to spice up your lesson plans and keep your content more engaging, interactive, and informative. You and your students will enjoy a better academic relationship when you implement learning strategies that meet their unique needs.

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Blake Beus is the Director of Learning Solutions at Allen Communication Learning Services. Follow him on Twitter: @BlakeBeus

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