Supporting innovation in teaching, learning and learner development at Roehampton

eLearningMeet: Debbie Pearson on whether YouTube videos can enhance learning

At the eLearning Meet on 29 June, Debbie Pearson from the Business School presented on the YouTube videos she created for her first year accounting students. She explained her development process and the students’ response:

In December 2014 I noticed a short article in The Times: “clips on YouTube should replace hour-long lessons”. It referred to an interview with Sanjay Sarma, Director of Digital Learning at MIT, in the TES. Professor Sarma argued that “lessons that lasted up to an hour and relied on pupils paying attention to teachers at the front of the class were out of date and failed to address how young people learned in the internet age”. The idea was not to replace all traditional lessons but to enable students to learn in different ways. I decided to trial it on my core year one accounting module which is taken by students from all business programmes. I used my iPad to record a weekly short video on a key accounting idea/concept and publish it on YouTube with a link on my module Moodle site. Following Sarma’s example, I decided that each video would focus on a single issue which I knew from experience that year one students found hard to grasp. Each video would be no longer than 10 minutes. I announced to the students that this resource would be made available to them each week and that the multiple choice questions which are part of my exam would concentrate on these key concepts. (I thought this would give them the “what’s in it for me” factor.) I looked at what already exists on YouTube in this area. There is quite a lot but much of it is voiced over PowerPoint slides – in essence a shortened lecture. Although I wanted a high tech delivery I wanted a fairly low tech style of teaching in bite sized chunks. So the videos (which I recorded myself with an iPad propped up on a music stand) show me writing on a whiteboard and talking about what I’m doing. I have monitored viewing. Unsurprisingly there was a surge of interest before the exam. I hit 494 views for the most popular video with positive comments (350 students take the module). Student feedback has been very positive.

In summary it’s a cheap and easy way to add value to teaching. Today’s students are doing much of their learning online using mobile devices and need flexibility to fit learning around essential part-time jobs.

You can view all of Debbie’s videos (and add to her view count!) on her YouTube Channel.

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