Video for learning: Today and tomorrow

Photo by Vladimer Shioshvili on Flickr
Educators have been using video for decades.

The first time I saw video being used in a classroom was in 1973. I was studying at college and a man in a white coat wheeled a television and video player into the room. My fellow students and I watched avidly - I can't recall what the topic was, but I do remember the thrill of the experience - it was fresh and new to be able to watch television in a formal education setting.

Later I witnessed the use of video as a feedback method for student teachers on practice. We recorded micro-teaches - usually a 10 minute lesson - and then played back the footage to the students so they could see and hear themselves and learn from the experience. I wrote about other examples of the power of educational video in a previous post.

Today, video use in the classroom is more commonplace. Present-day students, who interact with a steady stream of digital media throughout the day, are generally unsurprised by video in the classroom; if anything, they expect it. But because students are saturated with media, the quality of the videos they consume need to be sleeker, more polished and to the point to maintain their interest.
Alternative modes
Today, education has expanded beyond traditional learning spaces into distance education, blended learning, flipped classrooms, mobile learning, and online delivery through technologies such as MOOCs (Massive Open Online Courses). Video plays an important role in all of these alternative modes of learning experience (Brame, 2015) and will continue to do so with future developments. It's clear that video has evolved into a versatile, accessible and indispensable standard across a variety of formats and contexts of education. Video has been used to encourage independent thinking and critical analysis, and in higher education for example, has been used successfully to promote active engagement and collaborative learning (Parlour, 2019). Video isn't fading in its popularity, but will continue to grow as a mainstay resource for all forms of education in the future.

The future?
So what will educational video look like in the future? Such as question is difficult to address because 'the future' can be quite nebulous, and predictions are often inaccurate due to unexpected events and unforeseen outcomes. Who could have predicted for example, that touch screen technologies would become so important and prevalent in such a short time? There is good reason why futurists tend to project no more than three years into the future. It is difficult to predict the future accurately, but we are able to analyse social trends and determine what we might see with reasonable accuracy for a few years into the future (Kaku, 2011).

We can be assured that video will continue to be used extensively in all forms of education for the foreseeable future. The current generation of students are particularly enthralled with social media, and video has become the 'lifeblood' of that fascination, according to Parlour (2019). Access to video resources will be even more important in the future than it is today. There are many platforms that offer free access to video content, but not so many that do so in an ad-free, safe and secure manner.

Furthermore, educators generally have a strong faith in the efficacy of video. In a recent poll, 93% of institutions expressed a belief that video increases satisfaction levels for students (Parlour, 2019). Today, teachers tend to be pressured and have little time to spare. They need to find resources quickly and effectively, so navigation of content must be quick and simple.  They also need to ensure that the video content they select is free from distracting adverts, security threats and inappropriate content. One platform I recently discovered that can accomplish all of this is Boclips for Teachers, which is currently free to all educators, if they sign up before June 30th, 2019.

Today's learners
Today's learners are more independent and self-sufficient than previous generations of students. They actively seek out content to supplement and extend their learning experiences, and use their personal devices to access online content (Steckner, 2017). Video content is one of the most highly accessed and accessible forms of online content, largely because this generation of learners are encultured into watching and listening. Students not only enjoy using video as part of their everyday entertainment experience, they also expect it in their learning. There is good reason to believe that the next generation of learners will also continue to use video as a favoured method to support their learning.

As video becomes increasingly important for education (see my previous post on this topic), so new ways will be discovered to embed it into educational contexts and experiences. We may see video being used increasingly alongside augmented reality on personal devices, and also as interactive materials to engage students more deeply in doing and making. There is also scope to advance virtual reality and immersive experiences in education, both of which rely heavily on video content. Game based learning is another area of development that has already impacted positively on education. Again, this mode is dependent on high quality video content. Video, if deployed appropriately, can promote active learning; in just about any place; at any time; and at the individual pace of each and every learner. No wonder video is considered by many teachers to be so effective.

Teachers sometimes take their students out into the world. With video, they can bring the world to their students.

Brame, C. (2015) Effective educational videos, Available online at: (Accessed 30 April, 2019).
Kaku, M. (2011) Physics of the future, London: Penguin Books.
Parlour, A. (2019) Why Video is the Future of Higher Education, Available online at: (Accessed 30 April, 2019).
Steckner, S. (2017) Can one-to-one initiative and BYOD in schools increase student engagement? Insight, Available online at: (Accessed 1 May, 2019).

NB: This post is sponsored by Boclips for Teachers

Creative Commons License
Video for learning: Today and tomorrow Steve Wheeler was written in Plymouth, England and is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.


Anonymous said…
Interesting. I hadn't realisedthat video was present in all of the latest forms of education.
Anonymous said…
A very useful explanation of how video can be used to encourage students. I'm pleased I found this blog.

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