David Shieh’s “These Lectures are Gone in 60 Seconds: Minute-long talks find success at a community college” got forwarded to us instructional designers by our supervisor recently. (http://chronicle.com/free/v55/i26/26a00102.htm) This issue had come up because of a request by some departments for a presentation that would cover some topics that are critical for e-learning: new technologies, e-learning quality, accessibility, intellectual property, and some design principles. They wanted this all in a short time.
Knowing how much hand-holding goes on for most course builds, I was skeptical that we could do a decent job of this in a short time even in the best of situations, without overwhelming the faculty audience. This was a gentle touché to my stance.
So back to the concept. Apparently, these very brief lectures may run from about a minute to about three minutes in the mini-format. At the very high end, 20-minute lectures are the limit. Here, information creators condense materials dealing with “little more than (the introduction of) key terms and concepts” and maybe instructor showcasing. These are created to capture attention for learners with hyper-short attention spans.
I’ve seen a few of these at my university. One was for a stress management course, and a trainer showed brief ways to relax at a desk. These involved ways to stretch and relieve muscle tensions without leaving the cubicle.
Restated: These micro-lectures are not about addressing depth or complexity. They’re not about building patience. They’re not about growing expertise.
In the above article’s sidebar, David Penrose at SunGard Higher Education who developed San Juan College’s microlectures, offers five steps to create these brief lectures. His ideas are sound…and made better because of Step 4:
“4. Design an assignment to follow the lecture that will direct students to readings or activities that allow them to explore the key concepts. Combined with a written assignment, that should allow students to learn the material.”
This concept can easily become a point of friction in e-learning given the traditionalism of the professoriate. That said, few have anything against some “zing” in the learning, and I think that that’s what these brief video lectures are about.