There has been much discussion over the impact of video use  in intruction. Is it an effective instructional technique; does it enhance learning? Visual imagery first became popular in classroom instruction as film slides,  film projection, then VHS video and DVD, and now as online video clips and streaming through such web applications as Youtube. Does the use of video enhance instruction and facilitate greater understanding? In particular, in the changing climate of education delivery, the move towards on-line learning to facilitate both distance education and blended instruction models, is the use of video an effective instructional medium?  Zhang, Zhou, Briggs, and Nunamaker (2005) conducted an empirical study on the influence of interactive video on learning outcomes and learner satisfaction. The concluded that the simply incorportating video into e-learning environments does not necessarily enhance learning outcomes; however, the use of interactive video – that which allows the user to replay, browse, and control the streaming of the video, appears to have a greater impact on student understanding and overall user satisfaction. For more about their study, click on the link provided to view the complete journal article.

In general, video can enhance learning by providing visual images of concepts which leads to greater understanding, internalization, and retention. Advantages include attractive and consistent presentation of material which motivates, intrigues, and engages learners with visuals and audio (a multi-media approach) and may also provide for students, experience with real world applications such as they would encounter in work place technology. This certainly, as the article suggests, supports the concepts of constructivist theory. As with traditional lecture style instruction, video presentations must contain an element of interactivity to be truly effective.  Traditionally, videos cover broad information and topics in a linear presentation – this can lead to disengagement and disinterest.  The journal article by Zhang, Zhou, Briggs and Nunamaker (2005) concludes that videos best supported e -learning when the learner was able to stop, rewind, and browse the video information. In otherwords, the learner could interact with the video by controlling the flow of information to address his/her specific learning needs. In traditional face to face instruction this is typically done manually by the instructor who gages student interest and makes adjustments accordingly. On-line instructional opportunities must allow the learner this interaction and control. This speaks to student directed learning and an inquiry approach.

Video use can be a great benefit to distance education in online course instruction, but also poses great potential for incorporation into traditional settings to created blended instructional approaches.  Furthermore, video use can provide opportunities for instructional differentiation to address student diversity. Other advantages to web based videos are that they are more accessible and cost effective for students and teachers. Current limitations with e-video use in public education are technological issues such as bandwidth, currently controlled by the Ministry, prohibiting much of the video streaming being attempted in schools. Another limitation is student motivation. Studies like the one outlined in the article suggest that only students who are self-motivated and self-directed (the student who succeeds in any learning environment) are successful in on-line courses. How can others, less motivated be monitored and directed? Finally, as with all technology, there will inevitably be glitches. Who will trouble shoot when the technology fails? These are all considerations to the selection and incorporation of video resource materials and into teaching practices.

Youtube is not only a great storytelling vehicle for students, but an instrucitonal tool for teachers. The flipped classroom concept means that instruction takes place outside the class, often through instructional videos on Youtube. Made popular by the Kahn Academy which offers lessons in any discipline, teachers are not only using the Kahn vidoes, but creating their own Youtube lessons for students to access.

For ideas on how to use Youtube in your classroom, click on the links below:

Youtube Edu  – Youtube Teacher Tutorials “10 Ways to  Use Youtube in the Classroom


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