Why video is the superior tool for learning


Over the last few years, one of the most prominent trends in online learning and development has been to shift lots of learning materials and content online in the form of MOOCs (Massive Open Online Courses). While these courses include a broad range of subjects, and are present on various different platforms, one thing that almost all MOOCs have in common is the emphasis on conveying content to the learner through video. At youtrainingedge.com[1], you must have seen the significance given to video learning and development, in view of its importance and the benefits it brings for leading towards a successful learning experience. In this article, you would be exploring why video is still considered an integral and superior tool for learning and development.

It is to be noted that majority of the learning videos seem like conventional lectures chopped into little chunks, in the way of a “tablet capture” (lecturers writing on board while speaking), and “talking head” (lecturer talking to the class)[2]. The choice of the video is not evident. MOOC videos are expensive to develop. Usually, video is the single most costly component in MOOC’s budget, in both money and time. And in spite of the comparatively high cost of video development, there is limited research into the effectiveness of video as a pedagogical tool for MOOCs.  What limited research does exit revolves around engagement metrics like examination of clickstream data and reviewing stats, which might or might not act like an effective proxy for gauging learning. So what the reason behind deep investment of MOOCs in video is?

In their most initial iteration, MOOCs imitated the familiar and traditional pedagogical model of a university classroom; the lecture. Despite of the fact that lecture are not effective modes for promoting critical analysis and thinking, developing deep understanding and supporting the practice of knowledge, they are comparatively direct way of translating the course materials into a digital setting. Keeping this in consideration, it makes much sense why the initial MOOCs were more than recordings of the classroom lectures made accessible cheaply online. Due to this decision to deliver content through video lectures, MOOC teams were required to be incorporated with production studios and people having film or television background. Since then, the MOOCs have kept using video as their default mode of content delivery and MOOCs teams were formed to make videos[3].

Instead of thinking critically regarding the theories of learning integrated in this pedagogical format or taking the chance to iterate on the model by asking great questions about how students learn, MOOCs take the use of video as a given, instead of leveraging it as a planned pedagogical tool. With this in consideration, it is to be recommended that you must think twice before using video. Just because everyone is using it, it doesn’t imply you must also. Video should be used to support your learning objectives, not the other way around. There are various forms of media like interactive animations and podcasts, which are not yet explored as much as a mean to achieve learning objectives in online courses.

The answer to why video is the superior learning tool lies in its portability. Between the widely spread internet, battery enabled mobile devices and electrical grids, the video lessons can be accessed and viewed just about anywhere in the world[4]. This allows widespread learning of the lessons that were geographically isolated once. This actually brings a lot of advantages. In rural environments, it eliminates the requirement for the students to head to a university classroom that might be located far away. In certain regions, video learning and training preclude the requirement for costly travelling for in-person training and development sessions.

Another thing is that visual learning is far more powerful than other learning modes. Educational and training videos are primarily visual. While an audio is evidently a critical part of the learning, the blend of visual and sound content enables the viewer to grasp information in an easier way, in particular, the information that is visual inherently[5]. Even if your subject is not much visual, a video is superior to the audio recording or podcast since it is able to capture nuances of body language, meaning and content that won’t carry through otherwise.  The rewinding and pausing features of videos enable flexible learning. One of the best advantages of video learning is that a learner can stop, pause, rewind or manipulate the learning timeline. As opposed to the conventional classroom session or in-person training, a video learner never misses anything. As long as they have time to try again, they can always go back[6].

This is an undeniable fact that future of learning and development belongs to video. It is here to stay and grow. Instead of avoiding video learning, trainers and instructors must think of how they can integrate video into their learning and teaching processes. Video learning is an innovative learning tool that influences the learners faster than any other medium.

[1] Yourtrainingedge.com
[2] https://medium.com/mit-media-lab/why-there-are-so-many-video-lectures-in-online-learning-and-why-there-probably-shouldn-t-be-2fad009c30b5#.38ipe86a1
[3] http://www.tonybates.ca/2014/07/27/why-lectures-are-dead-or-soon-will-be/
[4] http://www.tonybates.ca/2012/03/10/pedagogical-roles-for-video-in-online-learning/
[5] https://educationaltechnologyjournal.springeropen.com/articles/10.1186/s41239-016-0011-4
[6] Seluakumaran K, Jusof FF, Ismail R, Husain R (2011) Integrating an open-source course management system (Moodle) into the teaching of a first-year medical physiology course: a case study. Adv Physiol Educ 35(4):369–377.

Copyright 2016 Bryant Nielson. All Rights Reserved.

Bryant Nielson – Managing Director of CapitalWave Inc.– Being a big believer in Technology Enabled Learning, Bryant seeks to create awareness, motivate adoption and engage organizations and people in the changing business of education. Bryant is a entrepreneur, trainer, and strategic training adviser for many organizations. Bryant’s business career has been based on his results-oriented style of empowering the individual.
Learn more about Bryant at LinkedIn: www.linkedin.com/in/bryantnielson

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Bryant Nielson is heavily involved in the Corporate Training and Leadership and Talent space. He currently is the Managing Director for CapitalWave Inc and the training division, Financial Training Solutions. He brings a diverse corporate experience of organizational development, learning and talent development, and corporate training, that also includes personal coaching of top sales individuals and companies of all sizes. For the prior 4 years, Bryant was the Managing Director and Leadership and Talent Manager for Lengthen Your Stride! LLC. In this position, Nielson was the developer of all of the courses for MortgageMae University (MMU), the Realtor Development Center (RDC), and of Lengthen Your Stride! (LYS). In that position, he developed material, refined over many years of use and active training, and condensed the coursework and training to be high impact, natural learning, and comprehensive. Bryant has over 27 years of Senior Management experience encompasses running his own Training and mortgage firm, in New York City. He strongly believes that the corporate training is not to be static but should 'engage and inspire' students to greater productivity and performance. Some have asked how to reach him. Here are some standard ways: Postal Mail: Bryant Nielson 54 Tenafly Road Tenafly, NJ 07670 Email: If you would like to contact me. Please do so via email by: clicking here. Telephone: (212) 335-0097