Video is changing the landscape of how people learn.
The statistics are out: According to an Edudemic article by Katie Lepi, video is four times more compelling than static content alone. As part of learning pedagogy, video doesn’t merely enhance engagement and improve student retention. It also creates better ways to access content, facilitates communication, and connects people across continents. The following five examples demonstrate just exactly how video is changing the landscape of how people learn:
• Sharing and producing video tutorials enables students to teach each other, and to take ownership of their own learning.
Club Academia is a site hosting high-school level video tutorials, created entirely by students. Shilpa Yarlagadda, one of the platform’s co-founders, came up with the idea after struggling In her AP Level Chemistry Classes. Once she had mastered a concept, she would create a video tutorial to share with students in introductory courses. Why are student videos so effective? Yarlagada explains that students who have had difficulty learning are often the best teachers. When students explain difficult concepts to each other using their own frames of reference, they have the potential to make material relevant in ways in which a teacher could not.
[Video from Club Academia: Concept of Position, Physics]
• Students have the opportunity to curate their own video archives, which they can reference easily and share with others.
A great end of term project is to ask student to “re-create” the lecture syllabus, using online videos. Ask students to explain not only how they found and selected the videos that they chose, but also WHY each video epitomizes a course concept or lesson. A digital library can not only help students to consolidate their knowledge in preparation for a final exam, but can also teach important research skills. As Aaron Sams, founder of the Flipped Learning Network explains,“One of the most important skills that any student can learn is where to go for information and resources.”
• Interspersing short videos with class discussion enhances student comprehension.
In his TED talk, “Why MOOCs (Still) Matter,” edX CEO Anant Agarwal advises that in class, instructors should alternate five-to-seven minute long educational videos with interactive “Socratic”-style questioning. He explains that immediate interaction with the material not only supports student engagement, but also metacognition. MIT Professor Shigeru Miyagawa confirmed these findings in a recent article released by the MIT News Office. During the Fall 2014 semester, Miyagawa taught both both residential and edX versions of his course, “Visualizing Japan. ” For the live-version, he assigned residential students to watch online videos and complete quizzes from the edX course before attending. When the class began, he reported that he no longer had to show PowerPoint Slides, or give lectures. He could immediately delve into more complex issues, such as “modernity and cosmopolitanism,” because students were already familiar with the historical background.
[Video: EdX CEO Anant Agarwal at TED]
• Students across the globe can share their knowledge with each other.
In MOOC discussion forums, students have the opportunity to work together to answer questions which might have come up during the lecture. Agarwal recalls the following experience from his first MOOC,
“I didn’t sleep for three nights leading up to the launch of the course. I told my TAs, okay, 24/7, we’re going to be up monitoring the forum, answering questions..One night I’m sitting up there, at 2 a.m. at night, and…there’s this question from a student from Pakistan…and I begin typing up the answer, and before I can finish, another student from Egypt popped in with an answer, not quite right…I’m fixing the answer, and before I can finish, a student from the U.S. had popped in with a different answer. And then I sat back, fascinated. Boom, boom, boom, boom, the students were discussing and interacting with each other…By 4 a.m. in the morning, they had discovered the right answer. And all I had to do was go and bless it, ‘Good answer.'”
While Agarwal’s experience is drawn from teaching a course of over 155,000 students worldwide, his example proves equally true for the more modestly sized classroom. Online discussion promotes peer instruction. Moreover, with online discussion, it’s easier for students with less aggressive personalities to contribute.
• Video facilitates discussions and communication outside of the class.
More and more instructors are holding offices hours via Google Hangouts or Skype, and recording the conversations that they have with students. In an article entitled, “Online Office Hours: Real Conversations in Virtual Spaces,” Stefanie Chasteen explains that online offices hours enable instructors to archive office hours conversations, and then share them with other students in the class who cannot attend. Some instructors are even finding it not only useful, but time-saving, to give feedback on papers via video or screencast. Screencasts enable instructors to scroll through a paper on screen while sharing comments via audio. In classes at the University of Michigan, students who received paper comments via screencast reported that they felt the feedback was both “more extensive and more personal.” One student stated that getting feedback via screencast was like “actually being in the instructor’s office and having a quasi-conversation with the instructor, because the instructor is actually walking through the whole paper and giving you really rich and extensive feedback.”