One of the most effective ways to share information with an audience is with short, subject-specific, video content. Shorter videos are more likely to be watched start-to-finish, and provide users with the ability to fit in video learning or information in small, manageable bites, rather than requiring larger blocks of time. 

Mini-lessons should be shorter than a standard class period, typically lasting no more than 10 to 15 minutes. Mini-lessons work well for simple concepts, review, or developing ideas and themes introduced in longer lessons. They may not be adequate for more complex new ideas and concepts.

For instructors just starting out with video learning, mini-lessons may be an accessible way to get started and get comfortable with new technology and methodology.

Creating a Mini-lesson

In a mini-lesson, focus is essential; there is not room for rambling or additional ideas or information. Use the following tips to create effective, engaging, and even enjoyable mini-lesson content. 

  • Connect with students by integrating a direct statement about the information, idea, concept, or skill. Students should have a clear expectation of what they will learn in the mini-lesson video. When possible, incorporate the real-world value of the lesson to increase student interest and engagement.
  • Teach the content. Use visual content, like a PowerPoint presentation, to reinforce the lesson. If appropriate, you can also record hands-on demonstrations, or show physical examples of a concept or idea.
  • Practice the concept or information by including an assignment, project or learning activity as part of your mini-lesson. This can be completed during the lesson, if brief, or treated as “homework”. 
  • Link the mini-lesson to other course content. Tell students what to watch, practice, or review next, and remind them of what they should know to be successful with the mini-lesson content.

Using Mini-lessons

There are a number of different ways to use mini-lessons for online, blended, flipped, or more traditional learning environments. All learning environments can benefit from mini-lessons for review or additional explanation; instructors can even produce mini-lessons to respond to student questions.

  • For online learners, create mini-lessons to teach individual concepts; these can supplement longer videos, or can even make up a full lesson, when used in groups. This is a user-friendly option, enabling learners to watch video content in shorter blocks of time.
  • For blended or flipped learning environments, mini-lessons can help to prepare your students for class activities, or can be used after class to reinforce in-class learning. 
  • For traditional learners, mini-lessons are an ideal way to build on and reinforce in-class content, or to provide additional information for students. Mini-lessons can even summarize in-class content, if you’re not using lecture capture technology regularly.