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Wednesday, March 4, 2009 (3:57 pm)

Matt CrosslinMicrolectures: A Constructivist’s Dream Come True

Posted by: Matt Crosslin In: Pedagogy

Here’s another emerging trend for you: Microlectures.  The Chronicle of Higher Education has an interesting article on microlectures called “These Lectures Are Gone in 60 Seconds.”  Basically, one would create a microlecture in this fashion:

Take a 60-minute lecture. Cut the excess verbiage, do away with most of the details, and pare it down to key concepts and themes.

What always makes me laugh about these articles is that some expert always comes in at some point and enlightens us about the short comings of some trend.  Trends are not perfect?  Really?  I think the pedagogical limitations of a microlecture are obvious.  They are obviously not great for more complex subjects that need detailed explanations (but where you need a more detailed explanation of complex subject… why not still chunk that complex subject into smaller steps…  you know, to help people grasp them easier?).

The important thing is that by considering a microlecture, some instructors might actually see the bad pedagogy they have been using all along.  Because while it is true that some concepts are too complex for a microlecture, I would be willing to bet that there at least a thousand percent or more concepts that are not complex enough for a full lecture and get that treatment anyways.  I’m also an instructor from time to time, and let’s face it – we tend to have a habit of loving the sound of our own voice.

The article link above is also a great resource in that (at the end) it teaches how to create a microlecture.  The important thing to note is that a microlecture can be more than 60 seconds.  Also note point number 4 on the list  – this step is very important in helping students actively construct the knowledge they need.  The important part to remember is that the microlecture does not communicate everything the students need to learn… they still have to construct that later on their own.

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