Video as our instructor, our entertainer


While video has been used as an entertainment source for decades, it recently has been making an introduction to the classroom. As video is a highly information dense medium, it is possible to convey large amounts of information for the purposes of instruction and entertainment. While having additional benefits by being more interactive than traditional learning styles as well as being able to bring education far outside the physical classroom, video as a form of education is becoming increasingly popular.

In the past, a main hinderance towards widespread video education was the lack of infrastructure to support it. On top of the high costs associated with legacy video technologies such as the Video Home System (VHS), there was nearly no way to make this videotape interactive. Additionally, the use of legacy video technology such as VHS was not nearly as widespread as current video technology is today. This made video education largely infeasible.

In 2015 however, more people than ever before have access to the Internet and some sort of video streaming device. As much of the infrastructure is already in place, the costs associated with disseminating video education are lower than they have ever been. Further, modern computer technology allows for a more interactive component to videos than ever before. The fact that usage costs are becoming cheaper and that video education itself is becoming more effective suggests that the popularity of video education is continuing to increase.

It can be seen that video education is becoming more feasible in terms of its reach, but it is also important to consider how well video education can provide information to viewers that results in a high transfer of training. In other words, while it is possible to deliver large amounts of information through video to a large global audience, education is not effective if it does not result in the viewer having effectively learned the content provided.

Luckily, video education can be made highly interactive by incorporating a concept known as gamification. Gamification is the incorporation of game thinking and game design elements into various non-game contexts. By making several aspects of education emulate the desirable aspects of video games that makes them so addictive, it is possible to increase user engagement in an educational experience. In this way, video allows education to be both entertaining and informative.

Incorporating an interactive component to video education further enhances the ability to communicate abstract concepts as users can actually work through examples that make abstract content more concrete. Subjects such as mathematics and computer science, which tend to be inherently abstract, benefit greatly from introducing an interactive component such as that which video education offers.

A popular technique in online courses is to provide short snippets of information followed by an opportunity for students to quiz themselves on the content that they just learned. An efficient way to do this for both of the viewer and the instructor is to deliver the quizzes in the form of multiple-choice or true-false selection.

By utilizing a method such as multiple-choice or true-false selection, the student does not need to recall as much information as many aspects of the multiple-choice or true-false question act as contextual cues. This is beneficial for the student as they can focus their cognitive efforts on the application of knowledge rather than its recall.

Implementing multiple-choice or true false selection methods is also beneficial for the instructor. Rather than personally gauging each student’s performance, the instructor can simply gather descriptive statistics based on the results of the multiple-choice and true false questions. In this way the instructor can gauge which areas of the course are providing students with the greatest difficulty. This has positive implications in clarifying content in the current course as well as designing future courses.

The average person’s attention span is lower than ever before at just 8.25 seconds in 2015. This compares with an attention span of 12 seconds 2000. With attention span having decreased 31.25% in just 15 years, it is now more crucial than ever that content be engaging. In addition to the aforementioned benefits, an interactive quizzing component which separates delivery of content keeps students much more focused than they would be if the content was not broken up in this way.

By intermittently switching between video content delivery and interactive quiz components, students are not only more engaged than they would be if they were just passively listening to content delivery, but studies also show that active learning translates to better retention of knowledge when quizzed upon at a later date. This is due to the fact that after immediately learning certain information, the student is forced to synthesize that information, assign meaning to it, and use that information to solve the problem. By utilizing knowledge in this way, the student provides several layers of understanding to a particular concept which allows them a deeper semantic understanding of the content they’re learning. This compares with simply delivering information that will be more easily forgotten if the student does not choose to apply it on their own accord.

Apart from the benefits of interactivity and gamification, video education offers individualized education experiences. As the content delivery component of the course which simulates the traditional lecture component of a class is viewed separately by each individual, individuals have the opportunity to rewind the video when they need clarification and move through the course content at their own pace.

Considering that many students who are confused in a real-time classroom lecture cannot learn new content that builds upon previous content until the previous content is clarified, video education provides an opportunity to optimize the information delivery process.

After considering all of the benefits associated with video learning, it can be seen that video learning is a valid supplement to traditional learning. By utilizing video as a way to facilitate content delivery and introduce an interactive component to learning experience, video education capitalizes on the concept of gamification in order to make education more enjoyable for the viewer. Given the many benefits associated with it, it is likely that video education will continue to grow in the future.

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