Universidade de Vigo (SPAIN)
About this paper:
Appears in: INTED2010 Proceedings
Publication year: 2010
Pages: 454-458
ISBN: 978-84-613-5538-9
ISSN: 2340-1079
Conference name: 4th International Technology, Education and Development Conference
Dates: 8-10 March, 2010
Location: Valencia, Spain
A learning pill is a "reusable learning objects", that is, a digitized entity, which can be used, reused or referenced during technology, supported learning or small chunks of learning (granules, objects) that are labeled (meta-tagged within IMS standards) so systems can automatically mix and match them to assemble and deliver individualized learning experiences. They present a hierarchy of learning objects, which ranges from simulation through topical unit and reusable learning object (RLO) to information objects.
Learning pills are a new way of thinking about learning content. Traditionally, content comes in a several hour chunk. Learning objects are much smaller units of learning, typically ranging from 10 to 15 minutes. Are self-contained – each learning object can be taken independently and reusable – a single learning object may be used in multiple contexts for multiple purposes. Can be aggregated – learning objects can be grouped into larger collections of content, including traditional course structures. Are tagged with metadata – every learning object has descriptive information allowing it to be easily found by a search.
A lerning pill in the University of Vigo has a 1024P+P format. It enables us to combine a computer desktop image and the video image of the lecturer or presenter in the same video. The end product is a video with resolution at 1024x768 including the lecturer, his/her voice and the PC background used for the presentation in all its resolution, with any program used and the mouse pointer movements.

The production of a learning pill at the University of Vigo is lecturer transparent and can be executed without any technical assistance. In fact, one of the advantages of the learning pills is the “comfortable” felling of teachers because of the short time to record a pill does not stress them and in most cases they can reuse their PowerPoint presentations or any other learning tool as a tablet PC or a electronic blackboard because the screen area of the learning pill can contain.
Other advantage is the presence of the teacher image on the pill does not generate problems related to copyright of shared content between teachers of the same matter. This topic have generated big problems in Spanish universities when the use of learning platforms. If teachers want, their image could be substituted by a dummy avatar or silhouette.
In the case of engineering disciplines, learning pills are well received by students not only if their content is about fundamental concepts on chemical engineering but in the following cases: case studies, use of computer programs, problem resolution.
In the case of problem resolution we are now working in a new kind of learning pill called “mixed learning pill” because we have detected the time that takes the numerical resolution is very large in relation to the “key steps” description. By means of a short postproduction, we can reduce or accelerate the calculations time to focus our learning pill on key steps, combining the use of or excel or matlab screencast recordings for the calculations with PowerPoint slides for the key steps.
Finally, to evaluate competences reached by students, according to the Bologna Declaration in the European Space for Higher education a new tool that complement the knowledge pills in order to help the student the knowledge level reached, teachers are preparing test under the flascard format.
Knowledge pills, flashcards.