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Getting Started with Blended Learning Videos

“There’s just not enough time in class with students!” It’s a common faculty complaint, and when students are provided quality course materials they can use outside class, this blended learning approach gives faculty more time in class. A variety of materials can be developed for use outside class. In this article, we’d like to focus on creating video content that students use for a blended learning course.

Blended learning videos benefit students and teachers in several ways: (1) they give students more time to process information and can have them coming to class prepared to discuss and put their learning into practice; (2) teachers can better maximize class time for higher-order, student-centered, collaborative learning activities; (3) the videos help teachers standardize content for core and required classes; (4) students can view and review videos at their own pace and during times convenient to them; (5) blended learning approaches provide teachers an appropriate way to incorporate audio and visuals into the learning process; and (6) these approaches speak the language of a digital generation.

But these benefits don’t accrue automatically. They depend on the development of quality course materials. To help us refine the materials we’d developed, we asked the 300 students enrolled in a general education course we teach what makes a good blended learning video from their perspective. They responded after viewing videos we’d developed. Here is a summary of what we learned:

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As for getting started, we recommend this process: (1) identify what information students will learn out of class and what will they do in class; (2) clearly define what students should learn from the video before starting to create it; (3) create a video script that coordinates the verbal content with the visual elements; (4) create a slide presentation to accompany the narration; and (5) use screen capture software to record the audio and video.

We recommend initially creating a few sample videos. Make them available to students (using either a learning management system or YouTube), and then survey students to discover their preferences and feedback about what did and didn’t work for them. Student preferences play an important role in developing these materials, but if their preferences aren’t in line with what’s known about learning, then they shouldn’t be accommodated.

Although creating blended learning videos requires significant work, our experience and student survey responses indicate that the time and effort are worthwhile. We have more class time we can devote to activities that engage students and promote higher-order learning.

Reprinted from Teaching Professor, 29.10 (2015): 5, 7. © Magna Publications. All rights reserved.

Anthony R. Sweat is an assistant professor at Brigham Young University. Ken Alford is a professor at Brigham Young University.