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Reimagining the online lecture: how video platforms are increasing student engagement

07 September, 2021 | by Brooke Walters, Rebecca Bishop, Shea Heard

The use of video as a medium to educate students in a university setting is not a new concept. However, its potential as a platform for engaging online learners in a social and interactive way is an emerging area.

The Director of Learning Design at OES, Dr Lucy Elliott, sees that the real strength of video is its ability to deliver information in an accessible and engaging format.

She recently wrote: “The video medium itself doesn’t produce results. It’s the way videos are purposefully used to deliver information that make a difference to how students can easily digest information.”

At OES, when we innovate, we do so to solve a problem. In this instance we hypothesised that high quality and interactive videos could improve engagement in online learning and teaching.

To get more of an understanding into how video is used in online courses globally, we commissioned research to look into how we could get the most value out of the medium and how we might better integrate it to improve our students’ overall learning experience.


Integrating video into our Learning Management System

Research indicated student satisfaction was consistently higher in video based learning environments over learning environments without video (Youself et al. 2014). Interactive videos were also shown to increase learning compared to non-interactive videos (Sauli et al. 2018). With this in mind, we made a deliberate decision to increase our use of video across all units and integrate interactive video solutions seamlessly into learning materials.

To successfully increase learning, videos must be implemented effectively. We utilised a 3rd party platform to create video playlists, add closed captions to maximise accessibility, and embed videos into assessments seamlessly. Control features were also introduced to reduce cognitive overload, as theory suggests features such as pausing, searching and moving forward/backwards assists students with processing information, which increases their learning (Biard et al. 2018).

In addition, we utilised a plug-in to turn passive video watching into an engaging and social experience by embedding collaboration tools into video content, enabling social interactions centering around moments within a video.


Enhancing the student experience

For students enrolled in online study through our partner universities, our flexible approach has always been valuable, as they enjoy being able to study and view course content at their own pace. Integrating social interaction in videos has enhanced the experience for students by enabling collaboration and interactivity with other students and teaching staff, creating an environment similar to an in-person lecture.

The use of video solutions was first piloted in three units across Queensland University of Technology’s online (QUT Online) postgraduate courses. It enabled the course content to become socially interactive by simulating ‘live’ commentary, whilst still offering students the flexibility to watch as per their own schedule and as frequently as required to grasp concepts. By encouraging students to access materials, ask questions and interact at their own pace, they were able to remain engaged and focused on the topic.

The pilot utilised the tool in various ways, including facilitating instructor-led conversations (through pre-determined questions), allowing the instructor to highlight important areas of the video for students to focus on, sharing additional resources related to a key section in the video, and opening an invitation for students to ask questions and respond to peer comments whilst watching.

Video and discussion are put side-by-side and instructors are notified at what point in a video a question is posed or a discussion joined. It enables direct and specific engagement with video content and has yielded strong results with 70% of content interacted with in both trial units.

Engaging via our video platforms is very similar to engaging on social media. Due to our students’ widespread use of social media, the interaction felt familiar and comfortable, removing any barriers to adoption for our students and their OLA’s.

The overall satisfaction was high, with 50% of users noting they were extremely satisfied with the introduction of a video management platform, with a further 30% noting they were satisfied. One student commented that they found it “…easy to record and rerecord once I knew my way around”, and another said the option to “stop and start recording helped to pause read notes and start the new section.”


An outcome-centric approach to innovation

Innovation at OES is driven by the potential student benefit and our approach to learning design focuses first and foremost on enabling better interactions through usable and accessible technology that is underpinned by good pedagogy.

Our video platforms serve to facilitate student collaboration. We will continue with a ‘test and learn’ approach to using these tools, collecting student and teacher feedback to troubleshoot and refine our video adoption before including it in more courses across our partner brands.

Through this, we aim to ensure that our learner journey includes best practice learning materials, active learning experiences and great learning outcomes for our students. This will support our vision to be the worlds’ most impactful enabler of education.



Biard, N., Cojean, S., & Jamet, E. (2018). Effects of segmentation and pacing on procedural learning by video. Computers in Human Behavior89, 411-   417. doi: 10.1016/j.chb.2017.12.002

Sauli, F., Cattaneo, A., & van der Meij, H. (2018). Hypervideo for educational purposes: A literature review on a multifaceted technological tool. Technology, Pedagogy and Education27(1), 115-134. doi: 10.1080/1475939X.2017.1407357

Yousef, A. M. F., Chatti, M. A., & Schroeder, U. (2014). The state of video-based learning: A review and future perspectives. International Journal on Advances in Life Sciences6(4), 122-135.