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Digital education

Video and Pedagogy

21 April 2017

by Karl Luke

My involvement in the recent Cardiff University Phoenix Project visit to the University of Namibia (UNAM) was a great personal and professional experience. I was invited to UNAM to work with Matt and Dewi in delivering training and facilitating workshops to UNAM colleagues on a range of subjects broadly related to the theme of Technology Enhanced Learning (TEL). More specifically, like Cardiff University, UNAM have recently invested in Panopto and a primary focus of my role on the visit involved reviewing UNAM’s requirements, analysing the current adoption of Panopto and suggesting strategies for improving uptake of the tool for capturing and sharing teaching materials, such as lecture recordings, podcasts and screencasts.

UNAM Video and pedagogy session

I was also asked to prepare a workshop on the subject of “video and pedagogy” which was a great opportunity to reflect on my involvement on the Learn Plus project over the past 18 months and consolidate my current reading and thinking around the use of video in higher education. This also presented an opportunity to assess what we currently know about video in the context of teaching and learning and more importantly what we don’t know. The purpose of this post is designed to summarise some of these findings and suggest some reading which may help colleagues in preparing video for teaching and learning.

Video and pedagogy

Woolfitt (2015) has published a really insightful report entitled “The effective use of video in higher education” which presents an accessible overview on the subject of video and higher education, drawing on recent literature and sources. In the report Woolfitt explores what is known about effective teaching with and through video and effective didactic implementation of video in higher education. It is a recommended read if you are interested in this area.

Regarding pedagogic uses of video, Koumi (2014) presents a framework for understanding the many specific ways that video can be used to illustrate various types of information. Koumi identifies 33 specific qualities of video in teaching, which are allocated into four domains: Cognitive, Experiential, Affective and Skills. Again this an interesting paper which provides insights into the diverse affordances of video for teaching and learning.

Video production: What does the evidence suggest?

Guo, Kim and Rubin (2014) explored how video production decisions affect student engagement with online educational videos and report on a number of video production recommendations based on their findings. These findings include:

  • High production value might not matter;
  • Shorter videos are more engaging;
  • Talking head is more engaging than slides alone;
  • Speaking rate affects engagement;
  • Students engage differently with video lectures and video tutorials.

The recommendations reported are based on findings taken from the authors’ analysis of online videos contained in MOOCs. The authors recognise the limitation of their findings and they may not generalise to all online video watchers. Importantly, we should not draw firm conclusions about student learning with video solely from this MOOC-focussed study. Rather we could use the authors’ findings as a discussion point for further analysis of student learning with video at Cardiff University.

What don’t we know?

Woolfitt (2015) report that there is a general lack of research into the use video for online learning and it is not yet clear how to best measure a learning video’s effectiveness. Moreover, there remains a lack of empirical research on the effectiveness of different video viewing approaches to learning. For instance, there are many tips online regarding how to make notes for lectures and strategies for studying but there is a lack of resources to help students with the process of actually learning from video (exceptions can be found at York University and at Cardiff University we have started work in this area).

Where next?

The potential educational benefits derived from the use of video should not distract us from the basic dialogue of learning. Any benefits needs to be balanced with less positive aspects such as passive video viewing in which there may be no constructive engagement or active learning. Integration of video into teaching and learning practices should be carefully considered, with appropriate planning, design, development, implementation and evaluation. A future blog post will seek to provide practical tools to aid in this process.


Guo, P. J., Kim, J., & Rubin, R. (2014). How video production affects student engagement: An empirical study of MOOC videos.

Koumi, J. (2014). Potent Pedagogic Roles for Video. In Media and learning association. Brussels.

Woolfitt, Z. (2015). The effective use of video in higher education.

Further Posts

Dewi Parry: Phoenix Project – Visiting the University of Namibia

Matt Smith: Visitors and Residents – University of Namibia


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