Improving the quality of video-based learning: A cross-discipline approach

Concurrent Session 3
Streamed Session

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Brief Abstract

This presentation will pull together resources and techniques across the field of film production, marketing, and technology to create a decision-making framework and an instructor’s toolbox of techniques to develop high quality video-based instruction.  Participants will engage in discussion and quick practice about recommendations and techniques outlined in this presentation.  As a result of this work, instructors will be better positioned to make choices about how best to translate their content into engaging materials for students.  Participants will be able to: 1) examine recommendations across research and practice that can be applied to designing video-based instruction, 2) apply content creation techniques to their own video-based instruction, and 3) utilize a choice framework for content creation that suites their purpose, skill set, time, and audience.

Extended Abstract

Video-based instruction is a powerful tool for increasing learning outcomes for students and increasing student satisfaction (Sablić, Mirosavljević, and Škugor, 2020). Interests, research, and guidance on the topic of video-based learning had increased before the Covid-19 pandemic and one might assume that the role of online learning as a result would continue to be on the forefront of education. Video-based learning itself does not necessarily produce better outcomes (Evans & Cordova, 2015), so the ways and strategies associated with making videos that best support learners is an essential area of exploration.

Central to designing strong video-based instruction is developing an understanding of the field and research having already been conducted.  Chorianopoulos (2018) outlined a taxonomy of asynchronous instructional videos.  These designations include 13 different groupings created based on their use of human embodiment and instructional media used.  The category of human embodiment includes instruction with the audience, instructor, pen tip, handwriting, talking-head, multiple people, robot, and animated people. Instructional media used includes animation, blackboard, slides, pen tip, instrument, no media, and live coding.  This topography is supported by considering the types of video-based instruction that exist and how they might be best implemented. 

In addition to understanding the types of video-based instruction often implemented, it is crucial to examine the research related to outcomes.  Current research demonstrates that the advantages of video-based outcomes are clear. Sablić et al. (2020) systemic review of primary research focuses on three key topics, specifically student learning outcomes, teacher reflection and feedback, and teacher professional development.  From the research reviewed, they concluded that video-based learning can increase interaction within the class and increase students’ experience.  Other advantages include that students can self-monitor their own needs and re-watch or slow down certain elements in support of their individualized learning. 

For video-based instruction to have an impact on students’ engagement and potential leaning, there are many factors a video creator must consider. First, the emphasis to examine the cognitive load of the instruction presented is central to video-based learning (Ibrahim, 2012). This work includes understanding the intrinsic load of the content itself, the germane load of the activity the learner needs to engage in, and finally the ways in which the extraneous load detracts effort from the main learning goals (Sweller, 1988; 1989; 1994) and then applying those frames to video design which may be fundamentally different from face-to-face learning methods. 

In addition to addressing the cognitive load, video creators benefit from applying cognitive learning theory to multimedia context expressing the need to examine the relationship between the visual/pictorial channel and the auditory/verbal channel in learners (Mayer & Moreno, 2003). Their work suggests powerful implications for these two channels working in collaboration while still remaining cautious of not overloading one or both channels for the learner.

Building off of the known impact and attention necessary to engage in best practices around cognitive load, researchers have made recommendations to attain educational goals. Frist, segmenting information into smaller pieces of information is highly recommended (Ibrahim, 2012; Zhang et al., 2006), as well as queuing (deKoning et al., 2009) with onscreen texts or images to inform the learner of important information.

Similarly, one of the largest studies on engagement in video-based learning was conducted by Guo, Kim, and Rubin (2014) and resulted in several recommendations for those creating video content.  These recommendations include: 1) creating shorter videos, 2) seeing the instructor has more value than slides with a voice over, 3) videos with a personal feel are preferred, 4) drawing tutorials are more engaging than slides, 5) recorded lectures as if the camera was a student seated in the room are not engaging, 6) speaking quickly and enthusiastically adds to engagement (160 words per a minute), and 7) students will engage differently with lecture versus tutorial so instructors should be mindful of the differences when creating content. 

Moving from these recommendations into practice necessitates pedagogical knowledge within a different frame of learning as compared to traditional face-to-face classrooms.  Yet, how to implement a video-based learning model still leaves room for more theorizing and practice. 

The “how” of teaching in face-to-face classrooms has been discussed in terms of pedagogical methods and often shared across content areas in higher education. However, the “how” of video-based learning represents a new set of pedagogical practices pulling from fields such as education, film production, and multiliteracies.  Instructors in many cases represent novice video-based learning creators delivering their complex content to advanced media consumers (i.e., their students).    

In Costa’s (2020) 99 tips for creating sustainable educational videos: A guide for online teachers and flipped classes, the author (2020) shares many suggestions to help instructors improve their instruction. The suggestions stem from similar ones as above such as brevity and making personal connections to increase energy and enthusiasm. Costa powerfully unpacks the time versus return element of creating instructional videos.  As an higher education instructor herself, she bring a wealth of first-hand knowledge of video creation. 

Instructional strategies that may have started in elementary or secondary education have often been adapted to be used in higher education. Text rendering, KWL charts, gallery walks, and using jigsaw grouping strategies are all techniques that create a different level of classroom engagement.  Higher education is at a similar moment when instructors need to learn new technologies and methods to engage with their students. 

Although the research on video-based learning continues to grow, there remains a gap in how to put this knowledge into practice. As such, instructional strategies need to pull from fields beyond their own content and even beyond traditional partnering fields.  Film production, marketing, and technology are all positioned to support instructors creating better content for their students and ultimately resulting in a greater impact for their students.

This presentation will pull together resources and techniques across the field of film production, marketing, and technology to create an instructor’s toolbox of techniques and methods to develop high quality video-based instruction.  Participants will engage in discussion and quick practice about recommendations and techniques outlined in this presentation.  As a result of this work, instructors will be better positioned to make choices about how to best translate their content into engaging materials for students. 

Through this presentation, participants will be able to:

1.Examine recommendation across research and practice that can be applied to designing video-based instruction

2.Apply some content creation techniques to their own video-based instruction

3.Utilize a choice framework for content creation that suites their purpose, skill set, time, and audience