October 24 2013

4 Reasons to Harness Video for Online Learning

Written by Jim Yupangco

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The cost of video production has moderated dramatically in the last couple of years. Cameras and editing software are also less expensive and easier to use than in the past. These trends have resulted in affordable ways to create compelling instructional videos. In addition, learning platforms like Moodle and Totara make incorporating video easy. A clear benefit of video is that everyone sees the same, optimal view. When accessible through a learning management system, people can easily access this resource. You can review and re-review video very quickly. However, this does not mean you should go crazy creating videos for every topic. There are some excellent reasons for incorporating video into online learning. Here are four that you might consider.

1. Modeling behavior or a physical action

Some of the most difficult things to teach using words and still images involve human behaviors. Imagine the difference between reading the following: “when discussing complex treatment options for end stage cancer, remain calm. Have empathy with the patient and try to convey compassion” and actually watching a video of a healthcare professional acting calm, reassuring and supportive while discussing options with an obviously distraught patient.

Similarly, when teaching physical actions or processes like turning a patient over in bed, fixing a transmission, or operating a bank machine, video can significantly improve understanding. Visualizations help people model how to perform the same task when faced with a live situation.

2. Too small, too big, perhaps even dangerous

Video can take you where you cannot physically go. Video can illustrate objects and processes that are too large, microscopic, inaccessible, dangerous or difficult to observe without special equipment. Particularly in the sciences, where scale can be problematic, video can represent processes like mitosis, acetylation, molecular binding, and visualize structures like mitochondria, neutrons, and quarks. On the other end of the scale, video can show massive processes like interactions between planetary bodies, or the expansion of the universe.

In situations where it is physically dangerous to attend events -- in certain mining environments, on a battlefield, or during a nuclear spill clean-up effort -- video can safely capture methods and practices for review and discussion.

3. On the move

Video is ideal for documenting processes involving dynamic change or movement. How can you show, for example, cancer cell movement in metastases? Metastic cells move so slowly, humans cannot observe their progress directly. Video can enhance movement to capture what is happening –either by using slow-motion, or by speeding up video to show changes over time. In addition, you can combine graphics with video for emphasis to illustrate alignment, groupings, change over time and a myriad of other conditions – depending on what you are studying.

4. Nothing like being there

While there’s nothing like being on site, video comes close. Online learning allows anyone, anywhere to participate. But, what if you are trying to show people how a pharmaceutical production line works, or what an archaeological dig is like? Video can help people gain a better understanding of a location they have never experienced.

Most learning professionals realize that not everyone has the same learning style. Seeing and doing are two primary ways that people learn new skills and concepts. Online learning environments like Moodle and Totara make watching and sharing video easy. For those with learning styles most suited to ‘seeing’, this is a positive trend. Even for people who enjoy working with text, video can enhance their understanding of a topic and create a change of pace – something everyone can appreciate.

Do you want to learn more about using video in online learning?

Register for our free webinar - How to effectively use video in online learning on Nov 13 at 10 AM PST

 

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