Skip to main content
a hand holding a magnifying glass looking at trees in the distance.

Credit: © vovan /

Dutton Digest, February 2023

February 15th, 2023

by Maria Wherley

Microlearning, or Why a 14-second Plunger Video Is So Effective

Microlearning is the name for breaking down complex or large chunks of content into small, digestible pieces that are delivered at just the right moment, and in an engaging way, so that learners can quickly understand. For example, microlearning is employed by popular language apps such as Babbel or Duolingo, which deliver on-demand, concentrated, mini language lessons. Another example is that quick "how to use a plunger effectively" video you found, just in time, on YouTube. Think "bite-sized takeaway." In the classroom, microlearning can help scaffold learning -- intentionally-delivered building blocks and practice, repetition, and feedback can help students learn and retain new information.

To learn more about microlearning and how to use it effectively with your class, take a look at the following pieces from the Dutton Institute's Teaching and Learning Showcase:

Debunked: Online Learning Doesn't Teach You to Think

This Times Higher Education article called Yes, Online Learning Can Teach You to Think puts forth that quality course design, engaging practices and cultivation of higher-order thinking skills and metacognitive activities all show that online education is valid and not simply a substitute for face-to-face instruction. 

“Had I heard him correctly? ‘Who else can’t read cursive?’” I asked the class.

“The answer: about two-thirds” (Faust, D.). The Atlantic article Gen Z Never Learned to Read Cursive explores the diminished use of cursive writing. If you're grading papers by hand, it may be worth a look.   

Faust, D. (2022). Gen Z never learned to read cursive. The Atlantic, 330(3), 74-6.