Microcourses: Designing Bite-Sized Lessons to Improve Professional Development

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Dr. Katie Nieves Licwinko  

Microlearning is smaller, chunked lessons that focus on singular, specific strategies. Participants can learn whenever and wherever from their device, without needing a large-scale training. Learn how to use this philosophy to design engaging and effective microlearning content for professional learning.

Audience: Coaches, Curriculum/district specialists, Technology coordinators/facilitators
Skill level: Beginner
Attendee devices: Devices useful
Attendee device specification: Smartphone: Android, iOS, Windows
Laptop: Chromebook, Mac, PC
Tablet: Android, iOS, Windows
Participant accounts, software and other materials: No specific accounts will be necessary-- interactive polling will be used so only access to a device is needed
Topic: Professional learning
Grade level: PK-12
ISTE Standards: For Coaches:
Professional Development and Program Evaluation
  • Design, develop and implement technology-rich professional learning programs that model principles of adult learning and promote digital age best practices in teaching, learning and assessment.
  • Evaluate results of professional learning programs to determine the effectiveness on deepening teacher content knowledge, improving teacher pedagogical skills and/or increasing student learning.
For Educators:
  • Set professional learning goals to explore and apply pedagogical approaches made possible by technology and reflect on their effectiveness.

Proposal summary

Purpose & objective

Purpose: The purpose for this session is to provide a brief overview of the microlearning philosophy and provide a more detailed examination of how these ideas translate into the creation of professional development.

Objectives: Participants will be able to identify the characteristics of microlearning, examine examples of microlearning for professional development, and begin to plan and discuss how microlearning could be integrated into their professional development and training creation

Challenge: Creating engaging and relevant professional development is difficult. Sometimes bringing in outside experts or speakers is not feasible for districts and, often, teachers cannot leave the classroom for full day training sessions. However, microlearning provides a great opportunity for districts in terms of professional learning. This session reviews how microlearning courses can be planned, designed, implemented, and evaluated.


- Introduction to microlearning (5 minutes)
- Examples of microcourses (5 minutes)
- Step-by-step for planning/designing microcourses (15 minutes)- interactive polling with the audience at each step of the process so participants can essentially "plan" their microlearning courses while in the session
- Final tips (5 minutes)

Supporting research

Microlearning Short and Sweet by K. Kapp and R. A. DeFelice
The Microlearning Guide to Microlearning by C. Torgerson
Designing Microlearning by C. Torgerson & S. Iannone

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Dr. Katie Nieves Licwinko, Wayne Township Public Schools

Kathryn (Katie) Nieves is currently a Teacher/Coordinator of Educational Technology Integration and was formerly a special education teacher. She is a doctoral candidate and is a Google Certified Innovator, Trainer, and Educator. Katie is passionate about using technology to support the needs and interests of all learners. She has presented at national conferences, including ISTE, AMLE, and CEC and her work has been published in different journals, textbooks, and educational websites.

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