Teaching and Professional Fellowship project: summary report

Learning videos – do they work for you
Student focus group1
Project aim: To explore the value of the integration of on-line learning videos into the students learning experience in practical workshops (pattern cutting and sewing)
The videos which were subject of this investigation could be classified broadly as instructional videos, presenting processes or specialist machine introductions. As such, they can be referred to as a type of multimedia learning resources (using words and visual images) and learning objects: “any digital resource that can be reused to support learning” (Wiley, 2000)

Constructivism as an educational philosophy views learners’ engagement in the learning process as a key to constructing meaningful knowledge and skills. From this stand point, some researchers and educators have questioned the value of learning videos for the learners’ experience.
“It is believed that learning objects do not cause learning but provide its availability” (Yahya and Yusoff, 2008).

Project data: staff perspective
In summary, videos were created for one or more of the following reasons:
– To provide visualisation to student groups, and thus to overcome difficulties with understanding text or verbal instructions;
– To provide visualisation of areas that are difficult to see in a normal workshop situation, or of 3D process and movement which are of particular relevance;
– To provide availability of instruction on demand by the learner;
– To provide additional stimulation, inspiration and motivation.
The videos were commonly not seen as:
– A learning tool to be used by the instructors in workshops;
– As substitutes of direct instruction.

Project data: students’ perspective
The students are most likely to view the videos at home (75%), and currently the most commonly used viewing device is laptop (64%) .
The students stated the following reasons for using instructional videos: as a reminder, to visualise a process, to save time (instead of waiting to be seen and instructed again by a technician), to view something that they have missed in class.

The students preferred short (2-4 minutes) and clear process instructional videos. Longer videos of highly specialist processes were also seen as useful. General area and machine induction videos were rated as less useful. “Voice over” with camera focused on work demonstration was favoured over “talking head” style videos.

Students expected high quality image and sound. Some international students suggested subtitles.

Summary
Although staff created videos for a range of valid reasons -helping visualisation, enabling the less advanced learners- the video’s integration in the construction of knowledge was left to the students’ individual initiative.

Recommendations
Videos can be useful and helpful learning objects, which can enrich the students’ learning experience. To improve the effectiveness and reuse of videos, the following considerations can be included in the video planning and production stages:
– Identify the shortest visual and audio information that is to be related via the video;
– Identify key messages and terms as meta data that can used to enhance reusability;
– Adapt learning and teaching technique so that they incorporate learning objects in a more actively supportive role, instead of offering them as an “on-demand” resource.

Full references can be obtained from G.Daniels, e-mail address: g.n.daniels@fashion.arts.ac.uk