Online video is revolutionising education. Here's why

Online video is revolutionising education. Here's why

Posted on: 3 July 2015

Video is revolutionising education. Here's why.

In my last blog I talked about how interaction will transform the way we watch online video. But how can interactive video be used in education?

In March 2011 Salman Khan, who created The Khan Academy, proposed that we use “video to reinvent education”. He recognised the benefits of using video for learning online such as learning at the learner's pace, accessibility and flexibility.

However, this "reinvention" has been claimed many times before. Thomas Edison said way back in 1922 that the “motion picture is destined to revolutionise our educational system and... in a few years it will supplant largely, if not entirely, the use of textbooks ”. In their 1994 book Using interactive video in education, Penelope Semrau and Barbara A. Boyer claimed that video discs would revolutionise what happens in the classroom of tomorrow.

VideoDisc in the classroom of tomorrow? Maybe not.

Tomorrow's world: The video disc.

Despite these claims, education as we know it has remained largely unchanged as a result of these ‘revolutions’. But that has all changed. The Khan Academy does offer something unique: the opportunity for students to interact. Learners can now answer questions and get instant feedback about their input through ‘state-of-the-art, adaptive technology’ that identifies strengths and learning gaps. The Khan Academy is now incredibly successful, with millions of users across the globe and thousands of courses ranging from calculus to cosmology. They’ve also formed extraordinary partnerships with NASA, Tate Gallery and MIT.

NASA use video in education in their partnership with Khan Academy

NASA have teamed up with Khan Academy to use their video content in lessons about the universe.

One of the reasons behind the Khan Academy’s success is that it transformed the passive viewer into an engaged learner. A raft of other tools now exist like Zaption and Huzzaz that allow producers to create whole lessons including quizzes, resources, and analytics to track progress. The best examples of these tools facilitate what is essential for any learning environment, online or otherwise:

1. Demonstrate visually and verbally

Video appeals to different learning styles and allows producers to both show and tell.

2. Facilitate participation

Once learners have seen how it’s done they have the opportunity to demonstrate the knowledge they’ve learnt through comprehension tests.

3. Allow feedback and encouragement

Learners get instant feedback when they make decisions and answer questions, which keeps them engaged and helps them to improve.

4. Provide direct access to learning resources

URLs, images and other videos are made easily available to the learner.

An example of providing links to learning resources from the Khan Academy

Tate Gallery direct learners with links to other educational resources.

5. Track and reward progress

Analytics provide both the educator and learner with details about their progress which helps them keep track of their progress and accomplishments.

Static, linear educational video is no longer enough for learners, especially online where maintaining attention is a constant battle. Interactivity enables a video to become a learning environment in it’s own right. It can now be a space where learners will be questioned, encouraged, assessed and rewarded.


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Online video is revolutionising education. Here's why

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