Lectures as Animated Videos?

Educational Technology1 Comment

Teachers are constantly looking for ways “to explain concepts and theories in ways that are engaging, succinct, comprehensive, and also visually appealing.  Although the concept of the “traditional lecture” (teacher standing at the front facing a theater filled with students) has not completely disappeared, recent research claims that lectures are not only boring but can also be ineffective.  In an article published on Science titled “Lectures Aren’t Just Boring, They’re Ineffective Too, Study Finds,  the author Aleszu Bajak discusses the findings of a research that measured the effectiveness of lectures.

While there is no doubt that the debate on the value of lectures will continue for much longer, it is worth considering that there are other ways to share essential knowledge and skills with students that do not involve a lecture capture, a podcast or a talking head recording, but a simple video that combines animations, some text, images and a voice-over, and perhaps a little bit of imagination!

The emergence of Web Technologies together with the proliferation of a multitude of apps allows teachers to create mini video lectures that help students to grasp the important bits.  I had the opportunity to talk to Paul Scriven in the School of GUSS.  Paul is the coordinator and lecturer for the undergraduate Foundations of Social Research course.  He has recently produced a couple of video lectures with an animation and presentation application called Moovly (http://www.moovly.com/), which he makes available to students through Blackboard.  Paul shared the following with me:


  • It all started as an experiment
  • Share content in a format that is entertaining and engaging
  • Have content readily available to students on weeks where a class does not take place because of a public holiday
  • To complement the lectures
  • To augment students’ understanding
  • To facilitate connections between the lecture and the essential readings
  • Application of blended learning techniques

Key Considerations

  • Explore different tools
  • Select a tool that is easy to use
  • Use images that are relevant to the content
  • Use relevant and functional content, creating connections with other learning resources 

Future Considerations:

  • Use of learning analytic – how many students are watching the videos
  • Measure impact on students learning through formal methods (questionnaires)
  • Explore the possibility to create a series of video covering the content of a course aiming at “flipping the classroom” and allowing more time in the tutorials to unpack concept and apply learning


Here is Paul’s work: FSR Week 3 – Research Perspectives

As more examples come my way I will be sharing those with you, however I would also use this opportunity to invite you to share your work.  In the meantime why don’t you explore a bit and play around with tools like Moovly?, after all when it comes to teaching there are different ways to reach our students.

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