“Chunking” the lecture

While COVID-19 and the subsequent remote class delivery brought its share of disruption, it also allowed me to try something new. One of the methods I tried was to “chunk” my lecture. I think the following schematic should explain it:

I had read about “chunking” or breaking up the lecture for a while. From what I understand, its primary benefit is to reduce the students’ cognitive load in any given class. By breaking up a lecture, more active learning strategies can also be implemented. Finally, it helps to reset students‘ attention.

My typical Human Anatomy lecture is 75 minutes long. When we met in person, I was mindful of taking breaks after ~25 minutes. However, I was not disciplined in keeping that, and I could have better used that time.

Thus one of the first decisions I made after the class became online-only was to break up my lecture into 2-3 videos. For example, my respiratory system lecture typically took up two days. With “chunking,” I broke up the two lectures into four segments – Upper Respiratory tract, Lower Respiratory tract, Lungs, and Mechanics of Breathing.

I usually put a quiz between the video segments for the students to complete after each video to conduct a formative assessment. From the quiz results, it appeared that the students were able to grasp the material. Furthermore, I also include a Post-lecture comment and question submission so that the students have a chance to reflect at the end. This constituted one of the more important venues for students and I to interact.

Personally, there are a few benefits: (1) it‘s easier to produce a shorter video, (2) I am more disciplined with the talking points and concepts I want to address, and (3) I am a lot more organized with this format. In conclusion, I think this worked well, and I look forward to “chunking” my in-person lecture in the future.


  1. https://miamioh.edu/regionals/eccoe/news/2020/03/chunking-video-lectures.html

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