“Chunking” your online course content

by Marty Crossland on May 14, 2008

In an earlier post I introduced the notion of “chunking” your course content. What this means in a practical sense is that you should think of your course materials in terms of bite-size segments that your students can digest easily. For example, if you’re using a typical textbook, the chapters are probably subdivided by subheadings into sets of information that “hang together” for the learner to consider.

When preparing your content, you should consider how to create your content “chunks” in the same manner. Rather than thinking in terms of a monolithic classroom lecture (e.g., “I have to cover one and a half chapters of the textbook in this 1 hour, 50 minute course meeting”), think about smaller segments that can more or less stand on their own, or be sequenced in a meaningful way.

This is especially important when creating video content for your course, using tools like Camtasia Studio. When creating video segments of, say, a PowerPoint presentation, I like to limit the individual pieces to no more than ten or fifteen minutes, and then provide some type of table of contents or other structure to guide the students through the material in a logical fashion.

The latest version of Camtasia Studio provides some help with creating and managing your “chunks” of course materials. We have a limited number of licenses at ORU, so please contact me if you’d like to use it. You can download a fully-functional, 30-day evaluation copy at www.techsmith.com/download/camtasiatrial.asp.

For some ideas about how to create educational “chunks” using Camtasia Studio, check out the long list of tutrial videos at this link: www.techsmith.com/community/education/education_solutions.asp.

To see another component of Camtasia Studio, the Camtasia Theater, for arranging the set of “chunks” with a useful interactive table of contents and navigation structure, please see this tutorial video: Camtasia Theater.

Think “chunking”!

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