Ready for my closeup

Prompt: What have you learned thus far about designing instruction from a video media perspective? What was beneficial? What was difficult? How did it change the way you think about learning and teaching? What is helpful about using video versus a single medium for delivering instruction?

For my project this week, I had to recreate my instructional set using video. According to YouTube (2014), it has over 1 billion unique visitors a month. That is a lot of people watching videos! Whether they are educational in nature or entertainment oriented, people clearly love to watch videos and I am one of them. Using video as an instruction tool is not a new concept to me. In my current career, we use video to demonstrate to our students how to search the databases. We record screencasts of ourselves, using Screencast-O-Matic, searching the database with audio commentary explaining what we are doing. We keep them short, under three minutes and post them online on our YouTube channel. We also embed them in our course management system so students can interact with them at their point of need.

Personally, I love watching videos to learn how to do something as I appreciate the symmetry of hearing the instructions while seeing the actions demonstrated. For me this is my preferred method of learning how to do something technical in nature. The reason being that I can listen to the video, watch the demonstration, and follow along all at the same time. It allows me to learn by doing, which is something that single media do not allow really allow for. This what I find most beneficial about using video for educational or training purposes. In fact, research shows that even when people watch videos or television with only entertainment in mind incidental learning still occurs as the viewer makes sense of what they are seeing by applying it to their pre-existing knowledge or they take the new information and encode it into their schemas (Krendl & Warren, 2004; Seels, Fullerton, Berry & Horn, 2004). This is especially true when the people viewing the video or TV interact with it by questioning the content or actions of the characters.

While I had fun with this project, I had some difficulties. For one thing the video camera that I used recorded my video files in a non-standard format that I had to convert. I am afraid that I suffered some compression losses during the conversion that slightly skewed the video quality. For another, this project was definitely the most time consuming. I recorded about three hours of raw footage and my video is only three and half minutes long! Since my project is about checking out a book from an academic library, I wanted my video to be as authentic as possible so I had to plan to record during a weekend when the library is typically less busy as I did not want to bother the students who were studying. That meant I was limited in the times and days I could record. I ended up coming in on a Saturday I had off to record and creating a library bookshelf in an area that did not have any students studying.

I tried very hard to make my video both authentic and exciting as I wanted to catch the viewer’s attention as well as make it meaningful for the learner. Seels et al. (2004) and Krendl and Warren (2004) all discuss how learners tend to listen to the audio first and only after something in the audio catches their attention, do they then actively focus on the video to be able encode information. Hill, Wiley, Nelson, and Han (2004) discuss how learning that occurs in realistic, or authentic, situations is more meaningful to the learner as it mimics the ‘real world’ (p. 447). To accomplish this, I recorded each scene in a different location but all centralized around the library, which meant that much of my time was spent packing up the equipment, moving it, and framing each shot independently. I had my actor, who was my husband, perform the very same actions that the learner would have to do in order to check out a book. During the editing process, I added in the explanation audio, fixed the timing so that audio and video were in sync and added in peppy background music to give the video some panache.

All in all, I think my video turned out nicely and am proud of what I accomplished. I plan to continue using video as an instructional tool as I believe that it is the most popular method for learning among students and people of all ages. YouTube concurs with its high usage!

References

Hill, J. R., Wiley, D., Nelson, L. M., & Han, S. (2004). Exploring research on internet-based learning: From infrastructure to interactions. In. D. H. Jonassen (Ed.), Handbook of research on educational communications and technology (2nd ed.) (pp. 949-978). Mahwah, N. J.: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates.

Krendl, K. A., & Warren, R. (2004). Communication effects of noninteractive media: Learning in out-of-school contexts. In D. H. Jonassen (Ed.), Handbook of research on educational communications and technology (2nd ed.) (pp. 59-78). Mahwah, N. J.: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates.

Seels, B., Fullerton, K., Berry, L., & Horn, L. J. (2004). Research on learning from television. In. D. H. Jonassen (Ed.), Handbook of research on educational communications and technology (2nd ed.) (pp. 949-978). Mahwah, N. J.: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates.

YouTube. (2014). Statistics. Retrieved from http://www.youtube.com/yt/press/

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