Do you use videos as an educational resource? In Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs), the primary learning activity for a majority of learners is watching video lectures. Therefore, examining how learners use the video lectures is one way to understand the MOOC learning experience. Stöhr, Stathakarou, Mueller, Nifakos, and McGrath (2019) examined the use of videos between learners who were categorised as specialists and non-specialists across three MOOCs (i.e., Introduction to urology, Introduction to graphene science and technology, and Sustainability in everyday life). Specialist were learners who were professionals and students in the courses’ subject area while non-specialists were learners who did not have formal training or experience in the subject area.
Some highlights from the results were:
- Number of video lectures that the learners watched positively correlated to learners’ performance. However, the difficulty or type of the assignments influence the relationship between learners’ performance and number of video lectures watched. For example, in one of the MOOCs, many learners watched many videos but has low or average performance scores, suggesting that the assignments in the course were more difficult than the other two courses.
- In the two MOOCs that had more videos in total (69 videos in Introduction to graphene science and technology and 52 videos in Sustainability in everyday life), learners watched about one-quarter to one-third of the videos and there were no difference in the number of videos watched between specialists and non-specialists. Learners in the MOOC that had 49 videos altogether (i.e., introduction to urology) watched more than half of the videos and non-specialist watched slightly more videos than specialists did. The findings suggested that learners, regardless of whether they were specialists or non-specialists, benefited from watching video lectures.
- In the MOOCs on Introduction to graphene science and Sustainability in everyday life, learners with higher educational degree watched more videos regardless of whether they were specialists or non-specialists. In addition, for non-specialists, older learners watched more videos. The findings suggested that learners with higher educational background or older learners might possess the necessary self-regulated learning skills to remain active in the course and engage with the videos to learn successfully in MOOCs.
The authors concluded that even though MOOC learners can be engaged with other formats of content (e.g. quizzes, discussion forum), watching the video lectures is still an essential activity for completing the MOOCs. Therefore, research should, on one hand, examine how videos lecture can be better designed to enhance their effectiveness as an instructional tool, on the other hand, examine how learners can be better supported when watching video lectures to enhance learning. Nonetheless, like all learning materials, using videos as an educational resource can be an effective way of delivering learning content in MOOCs if learners are actively engaged in their learning.
Stöhr, C., Stathakarou, N., Mueller, F., Nifakos, S., & McGrath, C. (2019). Videos as learning objects in MOOCs: A study of specialist and non‐specialist participants' video activity in MOOCs. British Journal of Educational Technology, 50(1), 166-176.