As the final report of this project emerges, here is a short reflection on the context within which it was developed, as well as where it might lead us. 

The Teaching and Professional Fellowship “Learning videos- do they work for you” benefitted from its close association with the DIAL project.  The project proposal’s aim and objectives were developed with the personal support from the DIAL and ALTO project managers, and with the help of video resources and papers on OER made available via Processarts, and the DIAL blog.    A key project objective was to contribute to enhancing learning and teaching practices by creating guidelines for producing and embedding learning videos in practical workshops. This objective is closely aligned with the DIAL objective to explore issues around digitally enhanced practices.   The range of information provided by the DIAL and associated blogs informed our project’s activities  (i.e. postings on: http://process.arts.ac.uk/category/project-groups/cltad-teaching-development-projects; http://dial.myblog.arts.ac.uk/2012/05/25/should-ual-evaluate-digital-skill-levels-of-staff-and-students/)

DIAL also provided a link with previous and concurrent fellowship winners, Laura Norton and Lesley Raven, whose commentary and shared experience was helpful to our projects progress planning.     DIAL offered a platform for sharing our preliminary findings and advised on other dissemination events i.e. conferences; this is in line with our objective to share good practice: http://process.arts.ac.uk/category/project-groups/making-online-learning-videos.

 A draft paper will be presented at APT2013. Next Generation Learning Places and Work Spaces Conference. The University of Greenwich, July 2nd 2013. #aptnextgen
https://showtime.gre.ac.uk/index.php/ecentre/apt2013/index, an event sponsored by the Higher Education Academy and JISC : http://www2.gre.ac.uk/research/centres/ecentre

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.

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.

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

Production timescales in making learning videos


(photo from mEGaPHiLL from Flickr)

Through doing my Teaching & Learning fellowship I am discovering that the pre-production & post production time needed is significant for someone who might be thinking of making a video learning resource, it is better to take a long time making a single well made video than several quick and unthought out videos. This comes from feedback from students who have watched various types of videos.

What type of learning video are your addressing? I see 3 categories typically appearing:      i) general overview / induction / introduction to an area     ii) specific knowledge transfer of a specific task or process      iii) capture of a lesson / lecture capture / event where teaching takes place which is filmed

The best and most effective learning video learning resources are the type ii) which I want to make the following comments about:

1] If you are not a video person you will need to get help in scripting, or storyboarding your video. My experience shows that a lack of forethought in pre-production is very noticeable after the project is finished, and then normally too late to do anything about. You must find time, hopefully through manager support, or through research funding. And ideally work with the video person(s) to help you script out your idea.

2] Focus on the main objectives and key points that students need to know. Think on how to best convey the information to students. Get the relevant shots which can be paused or highlighted afterwards in the editing process with he use of graphics or on screen text.  Scripting and storyboarding is really making a key list of all the useful information a student might need to know, how you’re going to portray that over in visuals and in audio, don’t assume the viewer will understand acronyms or be familiar with the topic covered. Production values are important here in terms of good lighting and excellent sound (although voice overs in post production work well).

3] In post production (editing phase) it is important to work to the timeframe you want the final video section to be. This is the most time consuming element of making a video so be prepared for a long slog. It is often under-estimeted how long a good video takes to edit so timetable this in to your planning. A 5 minute learning resource that took a few hours to film can easily take  5- 10 days to edit.