What have our students learned?

Feedback on the project

Part of our evaluation entailed finding out more about what the students learned by taking part in the project. We wanted to know if they improved both their video production skills, as well as their knowledge of the academic skill on which they worked. A constructivist pedagogical approach hypothesises that students would learn about the skill during the process of making the video; literature confirms this, by suggesting that producing videos has a positive impact on learning gain about the subject matter (Greene and Crespi, 2012).

We sent a survey to all students at the end of the project, when the videos had been completed. 15 of the 26 students responded, a 58% response rate. The questions in the survey gathered information about whether they participated in the focus groups, what stage they got to in producing their video, and a simple self evaluation of how much the experience impacted on their knowledge of both the skill and video production.


All the students that took part in the focus groups agreed that taking part in the group had an impact on their approach to developing their video. (Figures 1a and 1b). Most students thought that their skills had improved in both video production and the academic skill; a greater number (and larger proportion) of those that took part in the focus groups reported an increase in their knowledge of the academic skill on which they worked. As the student videos covered topics that differed from those discussed in the focus groups it could be argued that discussing sample videos in detail before production encourages students to focus on, and therefore learn more about, the skills they are exploring.

In addition, we gathered feedback on the difficulties that students faced in producing their videos, which will be useful for developing guidelines and procedures for future use.

Greene, H. and Crespi, C. (2012) The value of student created videos in the college classroom – an exploratory study in marketing and accounting. International Journal of Arts and Sciences, 5(1), pp. 273-283.

What does previous research tell us?

Educational videos have been in use for as long as video has been produced. Early broadcasts on the BBC, the longstanding use by the Open University as part of their distance learning materials, and more recent innovations such as Khan Academy and TED talks all demonstrate the success and adaptability of video as an educational medium. Current students rely on videos provided on multiple platforms as a source of entertainment, news, and as a means of sharing ideas and information with friends and peers. How can we use this expertise to make our educational videos fit for purpose, and how can previous research in this area provide us with a starting point?


Our colleagues have previous experience of research in this area, by exploring if educational videos are useful for students; they found that the presentation of visual examples was an important aspect, and that videos must provide “something extra” to other resources (Rice and Farmer, 2016, p.17). Other researchers have explored the variety of tools used to produce videos (Baker, 2016) and developed guidelines for effective videos based on pedagogical models and research (Brame, 2015). These studies provide a solid foundation for us to develop questions and focus on specific aspects of the production process with our student cohort.


A literature search shows that student production of educational videos is a growing area, for a number of reasons. There is increasing focus on students as partners in learning, teaching and research (Healey et al, 2014), and as AV technology becomes increasingly accessible and intuitive it seems logical for its use to spread. There are also noted benefits to collaboration for both student and institution, for example increased engagement, satisfaction and identification with the university (Dollinger et al, 2018). Previous studies about student co-creation and partnership have focussed on different methods of production and modes of delivery (Majekodunmi and Murnaghan, 2012; Ryan, 2013) as well as more explicit investigation into the benefits for students of this kind of project (Fung and Ma, 2015). In summary, there is a growing body of evidence to suggest there is a positive impact on student learning and experience through this kind of project. We hope our project will prove valuable not only in terms of what our students gain from it (as well as learning from the process they will be developing content for their portfolios), but also for improving the production values and effectiveness of our video content.




Baker, A. (2016) Active Learning with Interactive Videos: Creating Student-Guided Learning Materials. Journal of Library & Information Services in Distance Learning [online]. 10(3-4), pp. 79-87. Available from: https://doi.org/10.1080/1533290X.2016.1206776 [Accessed 22 November 2018].


Brame, C. J. (2015) Effective educational videos. Vanderbilt University Center for Teaching [online]. Available from: http://cft.vanderbilt.edu/guides-sub-pages/effective-educational-videos/. [Accessed 22 November 2018].


Dollinger, M, Lodge, J. & Coates, H. (2018) Co-creation in higher education: towards a conceptual model. Journal of Marketing for Higher Education [online]. 28(2), pp. 210-231. Available from: https://doi.org/10.1080/08841241.2018.1466756 [Accessed 22 November 2018].


Fung H., Ma W.W.K. (2015) Investigating the Relationship Between Students’ Attitude Towards Video Production Project and Their Generic Skills Enhancement. In: Ma W., Yuen A., Park J., Lau W., & Deng L. (eds.) New Media, Knowledge Practices and Multiliteracies [online]. Springer, Singapore, pp. 235-248. Available from: https://link.springer.com/chapter/10.1007%2F978-981-287-209-8_22 [Accessed 23 November 2018].


Healey, M., Flint, A. & Harrington, K. (2014) Engagement through partnership: students as partners in learning and teaching in higher education [online]. York: The Higher Education Academy. Available from: https://www.heacademy.ac.uk/knowledge-hub/engagement-through-partnership-students-partners-learning-and-teaching-higher. [Accessed 22 November 2018].


Khan Academy (2018) YouTube playlist. YouTube [online]. Available from: https://www.youtube.com/user/khanacademy [Accessed 23 November 2018].


Majekodunmi, N. & Murnaghan, K. (2012) “In our own words”: creating videos as teaching and learning tools. Innovations in Practice [online]. 7(2). Available from: https://doi.org/10.21083/partnership.v7i2.2007 [Accessed 23 November 2018].


The OU on YouTube (2010) 40 years of Open University TV. YouTube [online]. Available from 40 years of Open University TV [Accessed 23 November 2018].


Rice, P. & Farmer, R. (2016) Educational videos – tell me what you want, what you really, really want. Journal of Learning Development in Higher Education [online]. 10. Available from: http://journal.aldinhe.ac.uk/index.php/jldhe/article/view/297 [Accessed 22 November 2018].


Ryan, B. (2013) A walk down the red carpet: students as producers of digital video-based knowledge. International Journal of Technology Enhanced Learning [online]. 5(1), pp. 24-41. Available from: http://arrow.dit.ie/schfsehart/164 [Accessed 23 November 2018].


TED Talks (2018) TED Talks playlist. YouTube [online]. Available from: https://www.youtube.com/user/TEDtalksDirector [Accessed 23 November 2018].

Aims of project

Research has shown that University of Northampton students use videos more than any other online content to improve their academic skills. Many of these videos are created by academic and professional staff and are ‘talking heads’ which may encourage the students to be passive learners. Some of the videos are ‘explainer’ videos presenting animated material that does not engage students.

This project involved students in becoming co-creators of the study skills video content.

For the project to work it was necessary for Learning Development to collaborate with the subject module leader. The video project became an assessed piece of work which embedded academic study skills in the curriculum. The students explored what makes an effective educational video. They then created their own academic skills videos. Once the new videos were produced the whole student cohort was consulted and took part in further research about how useful the new videos were, and they also assessed the quality of the new videos.

This research seeks to establish practical and effective ways of working with students to provide relevant and effective resources in a department which may have few opportunities for direct regular contact with a cohort of students.This model of co-production will be one which can be used by other subject areas and student cohorts. This presentation will give a set of principles and guidance for developing online video content with students as co-creators.