Video-web learning platforms
This page has been written during a seminar at Tecfa: Semactu 2010-2011, Author: sugarch0
Video is not new to Computer-supported collaborative learning and has been used in education for decades already. In the eighties and nineties, it was mainly used to record conferences, lecures or educational films that could be watched by the learners. Even today, large repositories of video learning material are available and can be used in many instructional programs. Research here is focusing on quality standards and user-friendly editing tools. Video podcasting also is a significant resource for teachers.
In the nineties, new technologies allowing web transmission of video have developed (see wikipedia page on streaming media. Improvement of CPU power and bandwidth allow for direct viewing of video content without downloading. Video sharing sites like youtube have gained great popularity and some like teachertube are being used for training.
The possibilities to manipulate video material has soon been discovered in instructional technologies research. Written or oral annotation of video films for instructional purposes (Bargeron 1999) is being explored as well as the production of short, remodeled sharable extracts ("dives") by editing, zooming/transforming and annotate video (Pea 2004).
After 2000, the introduction of interactive telecommunication technologies with two-way synchronous viewing (See wikipedia on Videotelephony) broadened the horizon of video use and made videochats like skype and ichat popular. These technologies opened new perspectives for Videoconferencing and have prompted the development of the wide field (and industry) of Online video tutoring.
From an instructional perspective of distant learning and of using C3MS(Community, Collaboration, Content Management System), integrating synchronous video with some interactivity on a learning platform seems to be the natural next step.
The field of video tutoring with various degrees of interactivity on the platform and in some cases on the video itself is still developing, making a definition difficult. Most articles were found using the expression video-web platform, but terms like "desktop videoconferencing platform" (Guichon 2009) or "video-web communication tool" using existing tools like Adobe Connect (Jauregi 2008) are also used. A video-web learning platform includes of course a video-conferencing channel for several participants. The video window appears on a desktop enriched with synchronous communication tools (chat, whiteboard....), asynchronous communication tools like a forum, possibilities to see ressources and links and to record the sessions. Some platforms allow synchronous marking of cues during the session for later discussion and analysis (Guichon 2009, Jauregi 2008, Hampel 2005).
Underlying learning theories
Clearly, the instructional tool we try to describe here first is based on socio-constructivism. A learning platform that integrates some form of live video picture of participants and/or trainer allows for better social exchange, imitation and . Many instructional fields are enriched by social learning. Allowing real-time though distance learning, a video-web learning platform brings Situated learning back into the focus. The trainer and the participants are in an apprenticeship relation since it can include showing,imitation and reciprocal motivation.
Offering audio, video and written informations, the use of this kind of instructional design should also be considered in the light of cognitive processing capacities to avoid toomuch of a cognitive load.
More than just videoconferencing or video chats, a video-web platform allows group learning where registered participants can see each other, chat and share documents of all kinds. The sessions can be recorded for later analysis (Jauregi 2008, Hampel 2005). Analyzing the interaction after the synchronous part enhances the instructional value of the platform and allows more thorough reflection and metareflection.
Direct and synchronous interactivity on the video picture by marking it with "cues" during the interaction is certainly one of the most interesting develoments in interactive videoconference research. For the time being, manipulation of a video by annotating is mostly done asynchronously and discussed on a platform afterwards (Bargeron 1999, Wong 2006, Stephan 2010). In our knowledge, research in live collaborative annotation of the session for later comments or questions is being done in the field of online language learning in Lyon (Guichon, unpublished information).
Interactivity on the platform is made possible by chat and exchange of ressources, screen sharing, whiteboards etc....
Placing cues on the live video for later exchange and correction allows self-confrontaion and reflection of the tutor (Guichon 2009, see also the french wiki page entretien d'autoconfrontation) as well as further learning and exchanging on video annotations as is already being done in asynchronous settings (Wong 2006).
Thus a video-web learning platform is a distance computer-based learning tool that allows to combine the advantages of distance learning with a situation closer to face-to-face instruction. It has a high level of interactivity and promotes social learning. Since interaction can be registered, it also allows later analysis and auto-conforntation of all participants.
3.1 Technical Issues
Quality of transmission
The development of a video-web platform is dependant on good technology. Sound and image have to be synchronous and all participants need to have access to high-quality reliable internet (Guichon 2009, Hampel 2005). Breakdowns can disturb the learning process significantly as well as time lag that impeaches lip-reading and makes turn-taking more difficult (Hampel 2005).
Computer knowledge of users
The interface needs to be user friendly and technical support needs to be available. Tutors need to have a sufficient level of technical skills to support participants during online tutoring (Hampel 2005, Guichon 2009). Introducing all participants to the technology is a prerequisite for a successfull training.
Managing time in the setting of a synchronous distance teaching event is a challenge that should not be underestimated (Guichon 2009). Planning of the meeting's time as well as planning of the session itself should receive enough attention. Available technical support also facilitates the organization of a synchronous distant learning event.
3.2 Pedagogical Issues
Online tutoring - and specially synchronous tutoring with a video-web platform - demands a wide array of skills of the tutors (Hampel 2005, Guichon 2009). pedagogical skills of course will be needed an should not be forgotten, but competency in computer technologies and for the use of the specific tool are important as well. Furthermore, a conscience of the possibilities and constraints of the medium helps making use of all the openings of this technology as well as the ability to promote online socialzation and to facilitate communication. being active and creative allows tutors to develop their own style.
technology can creat or diminish ccognitive overload. Being familiar with the platform and its tools is certainly important to avoid cognitive overload. The interface has to be user-friedly. This allows participants to focus on the interaction and learning without having in addition to deal with navigational or technological issues (Hron 2003).
For a successful second language acquisition, learners have to be exposed to comprehensible, rich and varied input; They need opportunities to produce comprehensible, pushed output, and to use the target language in an authentic and social context. intercultural aspects have to be adressed (Jauregi 2008).
A video-web learning platform allows direct exchange with native speakers of the target language in a close to real-lif exchange (Guichon 2009, Jauregi 2008). Thus it enriches the online tutoring language learning offer with new possibilities that could unite the advantages of distant learning with a situatiuon closer to a life experience.
Distant learning and telemedicine is a strongly developing field in educational technologies if we look at the Use of instructional technologies for medical education. Specialties like surgery are developing video-web learning platforms allowing experts to guide an operating surgeon life and step-by-step (telementoring) (Malassagne 2001). Several surgeons can be trained in situation by one ore more experts over a videoconferencing platform that also allow video database access (teletraining). here the possibility to be close to an apprenticeship situation shows all its importance. Continuous training of general practitioners also is a field that could make good use of such a tool.
In mechanical engineering (Gradinariu) as well as computer engineering (Midkiff 2000) we found some research reports showing that video-web learning platforms are useful in technical fields as well.
On the job training, for example for advanced ICT skills in telecommunicatio, clearly is a developing field for a video-web training platform (Payr 1999). the cited example uses the course object (telecommunication tools) for distance teaching of the needed skills.Here too the advantages of distant training are enhanced by synchronous teaching.
Todays technology allows new ways of video-web synchronous telecommunication that could have multiple applications in many different fields of education and training. We should keep in mind though that human cognition and social behaviour has not been renewed at the same pace and that many of the basic learning theories discovered in the fifties still apply. As for many novelties, the reflected application of a tool that answers precise needs is an important factor of the pedagogical success of the training. Having said this, synchronous video-web collaboration, specially if enhanced with a high level of interactivity, offers several advantages over simple e-tutoring as well as over asynchronous collaboration without direct social contact.
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Gradinariu, L: CETTE, a real-time communication environment for tele-training in engineering: usability evaluation from experiences. cs.umass.edu
Guichon, N: Training future language teachers to develop online tutor's competence through reflective analysis. European Association for Computer Assisted Language Learning,vol 21 No4 166-185
Hampel, R, Strickler, U, The Open University: New skills for new classrooms: Training tutors to teach languages online. Computer Assisted Language learning Vol 18, No4, 311-326, 2005
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Wong W.Y., Reimann P: Web based educational video teaching and learning platform with collaborative annotation. Ninth international conference on advanced learning technologies 2009