Video to play growing role in higher education – Survey

Video use in education has increased dramatically over the years, says leading video technology provider Kaltura, which published its third annual State of Video in Education report on 12 July.

A total of 1,500 respondents undertook an international online survey in April 2016, the results of which show video usage reached a tipping point during the 2015-16 academic year.

More than half (52%) of higher education respondents use video solutions integrated into their learning management systems. The figure is up by 6%, from 46% last year.

“Institutions which do not yet have a comprehensive video strategy for the new academic year risk being left behind,” said Kaltura chairman and CEO Ron Yekutiel.

A digital future

Survey respondents included educators, instructional designers, IT professionals, digital media professionals, senior administrators and students from around the globe: 75% were from higher education and 20% from schools. The rest came from education technology organisations, educational non-profits, and other education-related institutions.

Around 72% of respondents use video for student assignments, with 10% of them saying more than half of all students actively create video; 86% of respondents say their teachers actively use video during class.

A total of 93% said video has had a positive impact on student satisfaction and 88% agree it boosts achievement levels.

Almost all say that digital literacy is the way of the future, with 96% agreeing it was important to raise the levels of both digital and video literacy, in their institutions. Optimal educational video length should be no longer than 10 minutes, say three-quarters of the respondents, but many feel 10 to 30 minutes is ideal.

Only 23% believe there will be no significant changes in how lectures are undertaken in the future, with 91% saying video will play a major role.

The power of personalisation

Educators stress that video is not a shortcut, and on whether there was a risk it would eventually replace face-to-face teaching, Kaltura’s Justin Beck, vice-president for global enterprise and education, told University World News: “While there is inevitable risk, we see this as more of an outlying concern than a true issue.

“Today’s students are very video-savvy, with high standards. Teachers using video in effective, innovative ways are being enthusiastically embraced. Just as students are growing more video-savvy, teachers are seeing it as a way to be more efficient.”

He said recorded or live video “provides a scalable, easy-to-use personal touch for educators to make an ongoing impact on their students”.

“Imagine instructors recording their commentary to students’ assignments while they review, instead of giving written feedback. That is the power of personalisation.”

Bearing this out is that 85% of respondents say using video as part of their resources toolkit increases teacher satisfaction, while 76% say it also has the benefit of increasing student retention rates.

“One of the trends we’re enthusiastic about is the flipped classroom,” said Beck. “Having a professor give the same lecture year after year (but only once a year) is fairly inefficient.

“It makes more sense to record one stellar version of that lecture, including additional multimedia elements, that students can then watch anywhere at their own pace, even re-watching to better understand something or to review for the exam.”

That doesn’t mean there’s no role for the professor, though.

“Instead, what teachers are doing is getting the repetitive part of teaching out of the way before class, and then using class to really engage with students – answering questions, leading discussions, and provoking the kind of active thought that is more effective at helping them learn, as well as being more satisfying for student and instructor. Video frees up classroom time for activities that actually require interaction.”

Beck said it was probable “we’ll increasingly see educational materials as integrated packages, combining text, recorded lectures and demos, footage from around the world, computer simulations, interviews, and more – whatever is the best way to get across those particular concepts.”

The popularity of webcasting, for instance, is also increasing, with most institutions using it internally and externally: 75% of respondents’ institutions use it for at least one purpose, up from 70% last year.

Pros and cons

Most respondents are excited about emerging new video technologies, and their impact on the classroom.

One of them is graded quizzes inside videos, with 41% predicting the greatest impact from this. Video broadcast from cellphones and videos that branch to other videos based on in-video actions are also predicted to become popular.

“I think video lecture will eventually replace the traditional lecture in the auditorium,” said one respondent, an instructional designer at a large European higher education institution, while another said it would be “part of the textbook replacement”.

“Textbooks are outdated before they hit the front doors: video will keep everything timely and more relevant.”

Yet while most respondents believe students will continue to benefit from video use, some still have concerns regarding reduced literacy levels.

“The speed of learning and the ability to review is significant, but I feel it has had a negative impact on literacy,” said library staff at a small North American higher education institution, while one of the students said: “Video might replace working teachers/professors and provide this world with a robotic atmosphere.”

A prized skill

In response, Kaltura’s Beck said: “We’ve actually found that many of the educational institutions and enterprises using video say it can increase interpersonal communication and collaboration.

“While some educators worry about it being seen as a shortcut that could reduce communication, the opposite occurs when institutions deploy video strategically. Through video assignments and feedback, students and professors can form a more personal bond, especially in large lectures or for distance learners.

“Shy students come of their shells when they can submit video assignments rather than compete with more vocal classmates. The power of this generation is their comfort level in expressing themselves with video online.”

He said a trend noticed in the survey “is that educators increasingly consider the ability to communicate through video to be a key skill students need to acquire for the future”.

“This mirrors the feedback from last year’s survey of enterprises, where 82% of employers thought video communication skills should be taught in schools to ensure tomorrow’s workers are video-competent.

“Video is a highly prized skill in the working world: companies are increasingly using it for communication, collaboration, training, knowledge sharing and retention, and more.”

It is likely that educational materials will increasingly be seen as integrated packages, said Beck, and some exciting technologies are emerging, including Augmented and Virtual Reality.

“In the next 20 years we’ll invent things we can’t even dream of yet. It’s going to be exciting to see what comes next.”