“”A microlecture is a short video or audio presentation of narrowly focused topic. Microlecture follows the principle of “bite-size information”. Thus learner can explore and pull the content relevant to him/her and move through it at his/her own pace. That means that one microlecture shouldn’t be longer than 3 minutes. You can create microlecture as narrated PowerPoint, screencast or short video.
In this post I’ll present 4 elements, which are important when creating a microlecture on the basis of your PowerPoint slides.
1. Preparing slides
When you are preparing PowerPoint presentation as a basis for your microlecture, have in mind all media possibilities that the tool for creating microlecture you are using is offering you (i.e. audio, video and other annotation tools) as well as their proper use. According to Richard Mayer and Ruth Clarck – 10 brilliant design rules for e-learning, media mix (text, graphics, audio, animation, video) in online learning is often wrong, resulting in cognitive overload and dissonance. Thus you should be cautious of:
- Saturated text leading to reduced concentration and understanding. Instead of too many words you should use bullet points, simple writing, highlighted keywords and short paragraphs.
- Irrelevant graphics and images. Text and graphics/images are OK, if we use text for explaining graphic/image.
- Combining text and animation cause cognitive dissonance. Animation should be accompanied with voice narration.
Note also that you prepare no more than 3 slides for one microlecture.
2. Voice narration
Write what you are going to say in advance. It will help you to be concise.
Don’t read from the screen. People read faster than you speak. Consequently, voice narration and screen display must complement each other. If not, learners may find it disturbing.
Text and graphics both use the visual channel. When, for example, you are explaining a very complicated diagram and put text beside a diagram, it could cause cognitive dissonance. Using voice narration instead of text, proves to be a very welcoming replacement.
Combining audio and image/graphic is shownn as the best combination.
Combining audio, image/graphic and text may cause cognitive overload.
Recorded speech should sound good. There shouldn’t be any background noises present. It should be loud, clear and consistent throughout the course.
Your speech should be calm, natural, trusting and most of all, inviting. Learners will also evaluate the course through speech.
3. Web camera
Include a web camera to make your lectures even more credible. Learner feels connected to the person speaking to them. When making a video, look directly into your web camera. Watch out for any inappropriate facial mimics. Web camera is not suitable for explaining certain charts or diagrams, because learners should focus on them not on you.
4. Annotation tools
It is good to use different annotation tools to refocus learners’ attention on a particular part of the slide content. The most useful tool (for presenting the exact part of the text, graphic, table, etc.) is a mouse pointer. You can also use tools for drawing/writing on slides and zooming the content. All these actions should be synchronized with your speech.
Annotation tools make your microlecture more dynamic so plan them carefully.
In short, concomitant use of different media results is harming rather than helping the learning process. Short videos with images and audios are shown as the best combination. One of the possible tools for creating microlecture is also Edynco, whith web based microlecture recorder integrated.
Take a look at how to create a microlecture with Edynco:
And an example of a microlecture created with Edynco. For this microlecture I prepared a PowerPoint presentation, uploaded it into Edynco and finally recorded voice over the slides.