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Video is critical to engage online students

25 September, 2020 | by Dr Lucy Elliott

When you think of online learning, what springs to mind? Exciting, engaging, visual?

That’s what comes to mind as the person in charge of learning design at Online Education Services. No longer does online education need to be a series of hour-long academic lectures – we have entered an era where variance of multi-media including short and sharp video learning, is key.

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, we have a highly skilled digital learning services team who work with learning designers to produce effective content across a range of disciplines and subjects.
For our on-campus 20th century design students, a walking tour of Melbourne is an activity they would typically complete in their first class. To provide the same opportunity for online students we reimagined the tour via a video that takes the audience through the inside and outside of key buildings. The video has now become an incredible learning asset and is also provided to on-campus students so they can experience the tour, over and over again.

To support nursing students attending placement for the first time, we developed a 360-degree virtual reality video of the campus to explore. Students reported an increase in confidence before attending on-site given they already had an understanding of the environment they were entering.

Videos can take many shapes and forms

There is not one mode or formula for video that works across the board. They can take the shape of animation, have the academic front and centre, or be illustrative, and this is only to name a few formats. MIT reports that six minute videos work best, but we know that the ideal length can vary based on a number of factors including subject matter and learning outcomes.

Having an academic step through examples of complex problems with voice over and illustrations has proven to be an effective way for students to learn in courses that are grounded in statistics and numbers. Whereas 3D modelling that demonstrates a specific skill works well in design units to help deliver intricate instructions and cement the skill in a student’s working memory.

We aim to include in every unit an introductory video. This helps to kick off a unit connect the student with the academic and create a sense of belonging with the university.

Collaboration is the key to success

A collaborative effort between learning designers and academic is important at every stage of developing an engaging online unit. Academics help our team understand what key concepts students need to learn, what they’re grasping, or where students need that helping hand as the unit progresses. We use this input to produce videos that are responsive to student needs and provide that just in time support that’s critical for success.

When information is delivered effectively, simply, and at the right time, students are blown away with how easy it is to learn key concepts. Student feedback for units has shown that a tailored approach to video integration can contribute to a more engaged cohort.

Video is a learning tool that’s going to be around for many years to come, and it’s only set to be utilised in education more and more as technology and innovation in the space develops.

In the next article of the series, I discuss how interaction and data tracking is set to redefine the future of video in education.