I designed and delivered a 3rd year undergraduate module titled Global Marketing that ran at the School of Management for the first time in the spring term 2016. The course hosted 206 students and comprised 2 consecutive lectures and 10 workshops each week.
Two coursework assignments contributed to the final mark of a student. The first coursework is a group report (40%) and the second one is an individual essay (60%). The first coursework required students to form groups of 4 to 5 and to write a report in which they conduct a “market opportunity analysis” for two countries. More precisely, students had to assume the role of a Marketing Management team of a UK-headquartered company that seeks to expand internationally. Their task was to analyse and compare the market attractiveness of two countries for the company and to finally decide which of these two countries to target. Students were provided with a detailed 6-step analytic framework that was supposed to systemically guide them through an opportunity analysis.
Pecha Kucha as Formative Assessment:
I decided to use Pecha Kucha student presentations as an innovative and technology-enabled technique of providing students with formative assessment. By applying this teaching method I sought to enhance student learning concerning how to conduct a systematic opportunity analysis of two country's markets and consequently to improve the quality of the written group report that students were supposed to submit a week after the oral presentation.
Pecha Kucha (Japanese for “chit chat”) is a highly visual and fast paced presentation format that uses Power Point as a facilitating software (Klentzin et al. 2010; Beyer et al. 2012). Pecha Kucha presentations rely on powerful images, photos, and graphics rather than text to support the presenter’s speech. Furthermore, the presenter has to follow a ‘20-20’ rule in that he or she is only allowed to present 20 slides and can only talk about each slide for 20 seconds before the slide automatically changes to the next one. This rigid format results in a presentation that is exactly 6 minutes and 40 seconds in length (Klentzin et al. 2010; Lehtonen 2011). Invented in 2003 in Tokyo among architects, Pecha Kuchas have, since then, become raised as a “powerful new technique” (Klentzin et al. 2010, p. 158) to present content in creative industries such music and marketing (Lehtonen 2011). Today, this presentation format is increasingly appreciated in the academic community - on conferences as well as in the classroom (Beyer 2011). I decided to use Pecha Kuchas as formative assessment, rather than traditional PowerPoint presentations for three reasons. First, Pecha Kuchas draw on both powerful images and well-organized and structured speech which acknowledges student diversity and allows “visual learners” as well “audio learners” (Fleming 2015 retrieved from http://vark-learn.com/home/) to benefit from this presentation style (Klentzin et al. 2010). Second, in the context of a one-hour seminar, four to five groups can present and receive feedback thanks to the brevity of the presentation format. Third, the creative, fun, and technological aspect of this presentation format is likely to increase student engagement from a presenter as well as from an audience perspective (Klentzin et al. 2010; Beyer 2011).
The brief a) emphasized the formative character of the exercise (i.e. the presentation is not marked), b) outlined the learning objectives (i.e. students should improve the written report based on the feedback in class; development and improvement of generic skills), and c) explained the necessity to divide work and roles among group members (i.e. students should accommodate and embrace their diversity; some international students, for example, do not feel comfortable presenting in front of class, but consider designing powerful, visual slides as their strengths).
The actual implementation of this teaching activity can be divided into 4 learning phases.
1. Pecha Kucha preparation (outside the classroom; student-led)
2. Pecha Kucha presentation (in the classroom; student-led)
3. Pecha Kucha feedback (in the classroom; ca. 3-5 minutes of constructive feedback). In addition to the oral feedback, students were given written feedback.
4. Pecha Kucha Feedback integration (outside the classroom; student-led; student integrate feedback into written report).
A few days after the Pecha Kucha presentation, I conducted two focus groups (each ca. 40 minutes) with eight students to collect feedback on how they experienced this teaching technique. I conducted a thematic analysis of the focus group data using Anderson and Krathwohl’s (2001) revised version of Bloom’s taxonomy to identify the cognitive processes and intellectual efforts that the students went through while engaging with Pecha.
The analysis reveals six “learnings” that students achieved by preparing, giving, and receiving feedback on their Pecha Kucha presentation before handing in their written reports.
1. When preparing the Pecha Kucha presentation, students are reminded that the analyses and the related report are meant to be a holistic and coherent piece of work. Typically, in group work, students divide the tasks and individually work on ‘their’ parts while ignoring others. As a result, the final group reports often read fragmented and show inconsistencies. The Pecha Kucha presentation, however, forced students to contribute ‘their’ parts long before the report submission deadlines, and most importantly, it made students work together and review each other’s parts in an effort to create a logical presentation that is in line with the Pecha Kucha format requirements.
2. When preparing the Pecha Kucha presentation, students understand which elements of the analysis are more relevant compared to others. The brevity of the presentation and limited number of slides forces students to think about how important each part is in the light of the overall analysis. Students have to decide which parts to (not) include into the presentation. They also carefully allocate the number of slides they dedicate to each step of the opportunity analysis based on how relevant they consider each step. This reflective process of distinguishing between the relevant and the irrelevant has implications for the written report. Students re-align their analysis based on these considerations and consequently strengthen their reports.
3. Students intensively practice how to apply the 6-step opportunity analysis framework. While preparing the Pecha Kucha presentation and thoughtfully planning how many slides to dedicate to each step of the analysis, students cannot avoid but go over the 6-step opportunity analysis framework over and over again. They intensively work with and apply this framework to their thinking while solving this task.
4. Pecha Kucha facilitates students to more precisely formulate the key findings and students get more reflective about the results they gained from the analysis. This is due to the highly visual nature of Pecha Kucha presentations. For each slide, students are required to find pictures, images, and graphics that best illustrate the point they would like to make.
5. The Pecha Kucha feedback allows students to re-evaluate their work, spot performance gaps and reflect on how to improve their report. Feedback was provided through a quick oral feedback after the Pecha Kucha presentation, and second, I gave them the filled-out feedback form that explicitly listed the evaluation/marking criteria of the report, the comments I made while listening to the presentation, and some improvement suggestions. Because the opportunity analysis follows a clear structure and students were forced to keep this structure in the Pecha Kucha presentation, it was less difficult to give a targeted feedback.
6. Based on the concise Pecha Kucha Presentation Feedback students were able to produce stronger reports. Students re-worked and re-organized their written reports through integrating the feedback.
Furthermore, the analysis reveals that Pecha Kucha facilitates the development or improvement of six generic skills that are transferable to workplace situations. These skills include: presentations skills, teamwork, time management, organizational skills, creativity and openness to innovation.
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