If it is worth saying, is it worth saying in 60 seconds?

I started my day, as I often do, reading the new post on Assorted Stuff.  This one was on the idea of microlectures in a college course. I read it with interest because it was about a college here in New Mexico.  Tim seemed to be a little skeptical, asking

If the concepts and themes contained in your lecture can be compressed down to only three minutes, was there any value in the original full-length presentation to begin with?

I decided to follow the link and see where it took me. Tim got the link from Sean. Sean was intrigued by the whole idea.  He said:

I found this article very interesting as it really seems to push the limits and ideas of ways to present material in an educational setting.

Sean got the link from Thomas. He definitely gave the most complete report on the concept.  He wrote:

With educators seeking more active learning environments, the microlecture format seemingly offers great potential. Not only will the process allow students greater ownership of their learning, the more open-ended nature of the follow-up materials should provide greater time variation opportunities for students who may need such time.

He went on to outline the steps in the process of creating such a microlecture.

This seems to be a very interesting idea.

First of all, I have to say that the idea is intended for online learning.  Those kinds of very brief explanations would seem very appropriate in that environment.  People who put a 50 or 75 minute lecture up for an online course don’t get the difference between f2f and online learning.

But I also wonder if it isn’t appropriate for face to face classes, as well.   Not that I think all lectures should be reduced to a minute or two — even though I have sat through some that could have been reduced to that!  But wouldn’t that be a great way to remind students of the main points of the lecture in class, to give them a reminder before they begin to do an assignment based on that lecture?  It would seem more helpful than a copy of the presentation that was used as part of the lecture.  It would, of course, be more work.  But these microlectures are so compact that they could be used from semester to semester, I would think — even if the big lecture changed.

For second language learners, this would be a great help.  They would know that they got the main idea of a lecture by watching the microlecture. The idea could possibly also be used in an ESL class to help teach notetaking.  Have students take notes on a full length lecture and then use the microlecture to verify whether or not they got the main points correct.  It could work.  It might also help them understand the layout of the lecture by comparing the two.  Of course, that would require access to both full-leength and microlectures to do.  That might not be easy.

Anyway, the original article was from the Chronicle of Higher Education. An actual microlecture can be found here.

One thought on “If it is worth saying, is it worth saying in 60 seconds?

  1. Hi Nancy–Thanks for the trackback on my post from yesterday. I’m glad you linked to an actual “microlecture” too. For me, I’m always interested in ways that we push and shift the way we educate. This seemed to be such a novel idea and I wonder if it would work for me, for example, or for someone else? There are many ways to teach and learn and I hadn’t heard of this before.

    It seems that educational change can be s-l-o-w, but this idea seems like an idea worth trying, I think . . . .

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