Harnessing the power of video for learning

Video has so much potential for effective teaching and learning. But after reviewing how video has been used by leading online education providers - ourselves included - i'm often left wondering if we're doing the medium the justice it deserves. Until recently, that is.

Eight years ago, when we first introduced video into our online courses, we saw it as a way to replicate the in-person lecture experience. The result was hundreds of 10 to 30-minute videos of talking heads. These videos served their purpose, but they barely scratched the surface of the potential of online video for education.

Our purpose at GetSmarter is to improve lives through better education. And with recent advancements in video technology and available SaS video tools, we knew that we could do better.

This week, our Education team launched several interactive videos. As I worked through one that was produced for our UCT Advanced Human Resource Management course, I was blown away by how engaging it was. One of the key issues in online education is that of student motivation. And the experience I had while engaging with this video was one of serious concentration. I particularly like the gamified feeling, driven by a sense of being in control. Perhaps the reason it was so engaging was because I was an active participant in watching the video, rather than a passive recipient of 30 minutes of 1-way lecturing.

Click on the "Start" button below to get a sense for what we're doing with interactive video. I'd love to hear your view of this experience. I've also included Rob Paddock's (our Chief of Education) view on interactive videos below:

Rob's view on interactive videos:

Interactive video eliminates the passive and linear method of viewing a standard video, and gives the student a sense of control and curiosity that is hard to replicate in traditional video lecture format.

Interactive video is fun and engaging for students, and provides them the opportunity to make decisions in real-time as to how they progress with the video content. Combining the rich instructional capabilities of video lectures, with the user-driven decision making of an interactive experience, this new technology lends itself perfectly to GetSmarter’s constructivist model of online education.

Our early statistics indicate that student engagement with interactive video content is significantly higher than traditional video lectures. Students are more likely to initiate the interactive experience, they engage with the experience for longer, and they come back to complete the experience more times than they would a traditional video lecture.

This is one of the many advancements in online teaching and learning practice that we're pursuing with vigour at GetSmarter, and we're confident that these learnings have the potential to positively impact existing teaching practices at the Universities we partner with.