Six questions on video lectures still unanswered

downloadA recent review by Kay gives a brief overview of video lectures which provides some useful information [see here for open access version]. Perhaps more interesting though are a list of questions at the end of the paper which Kay feels remain unanswered. I’ve listed them below, and thrown in a few of my own thoughts. I’d be interested in hearing what others think.

1. What is the optimum length for video podcasts and does that depend on the nature of content?

This is a common question, but I think it does depend not on the nature of the content, but on what you want students to do with the content. Sitting watching a video for 10 minutes while doing nothing will seem like a very long time, but I think using a 10 minute video to work through a work sheet or other activity won’t feel as long…?

2. Are summaries more effective than full lectures video podcasts?

McGarr has summarised podcasts as substitutional or supplemental as often mentioned on this site. The question is really – is it worth repeating a passive learning experience in a video form? Neither a summary nor a full lecture is likely to be much use if there isn’t an additional learning benefit to the students in addressing a problem or using it in some way. 

3. Are worked-examples better addressed through the use of video podcasts than in lectures?

I am a big fan of worked examples, and I think they are useful learning and revision tools. I think this is one area where video podcasts have huge potential. In a lecture environment, students probably don’t have time to both work through the example and process the discipline specific material in each step. Moving this online (or at least providing additional worked examples online) help in this regard as students can work through them at their own pace.  

4. Can administrative tasks be adequately addressed using video podcasts?

Bleurgh. Well maybe…? No… Bleurgh. 

I have toyed with some induction material on vodcast… maybe there are other options?

5. Could video podcasts be used to give feedback to students?

David McGarvey at Keele spoke about this at the Irish Variety and gave some really concrete examples of how video feedback had an enormous impact on the quality of students’s final submission of work. I don’t know if there is much published on this. 

6. What type of content or concepts are best suited to the video podcast format and is there still a roll for audio podcasts?

Audio podcasts never seem to have taken off in science, and I think it is because of the nature of the content; equations, graphical material etc. It’s interesting to note the recent work by Sweller on audio alone versus audio and visual, summarised here, on the preference of the latter.

Any comments?