Implementing Video-Based Learning in a Blended Higher Education Course

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Around the world, more than 140 million hours of Netflix are streamed every day. The public’s love of video has been optimized by universities into video-based learning to deliver complex, rich video course content.

The options for producing course content range from “user-generated” video to high-end production solutions.  The latter are often coordinated by professional staff working closely with academics, sometimes on-location, and producing “cinematic” scale content.

During a presentation at Blackboard’s recent Teaching and Learning Conference (TLCANZ 19) in Sydney, Dr. Roger Dawkins, academic and Western Sydney University lecturer in digital and social media, said there are many benefits to be gained by institutions who utilize video.  However, introducing this method of course delivery hasn’t been plain sailing – there have been challenges with rolling out video-based learning into some of his courses.

Students these days are watching course videos just like they watch streamed content on the internet.  Dawkins is quick to point out that the videos need to be structured in a certain way to grab a student’s attention, to keep boredom at bay, and to encourage them to keep watching, otherwise known as the “YouTube effect.”

In a recent collaboration with fellow staff member Rachel Bentley, the Director of Rich Media at Western Sydney University, students now have access to a brand new undergraduate unit in the school of Humanities and Communication Arts at Western Sydney University called “Pitch: Podcasting Essentials.” 

Incorporating video into this course provided a number of insights for Dawkins and Bentley as to effective course design.  A couple of areas of note were the limited scoping, especially at the beginning of the project, and figuring out the team hierarchy.  One issue in particular faced by Dawkins was determining the lead in their collaboration.  It was clear early on in the project that there is a lot more to video than just hitting record.

Tips for institutions looking to introduce video

Based on their experience, Dawkins and Bentley suggest institutions looking to introduce video-based learning consider the following:

  • Careful selection of subjects and production techniques needs to occur before filming takes place, to create an impactful video designed in connection with the teaching and learning outcome to augment the student experience.
  • The next-generation of video should include a high level of interactivity, not only to engage the student but to deliver data and metrics for the institution to use for future course design and delivery.
  • Determine need versus entertainment.  The inclusion of video within a course should be for a specific reason and support the teaching and learning outcome.
  • While videos can be expensive and take time to create, it’s really important that academics are able to repurpose, reuse, remix, and republish those videos in the context in which they have value.

Interactive platforms such as video-based learning typically generate feedback and data collection that traditional courses cannot.  Institutions need to consider the content being created and how today’s student consumes that information.  A way to do this is by using tools to effectively collect and measure data on how students are interacting with these videos so academics can continue to create useful videos for students. We have now reached a point where video in the learning environment has become so pervasive, it is an expectation of today’s student that this method of learning delivery has a starring role in their higher education experience.

Author: Chanelle Mansour is a Communication graduate from Western Sydney University, with a major in Journalism and sub-major in Creative Writing. Motivated by a passion for writing, Chanelle hopes to share focused and enlightening content that readers will find beneficial.