Video Based Learning—Effective, Efficient, Engaging, but Equal?

VBL: Will it work for Applied Sciences?

It was easy for our team to ultimately select Video-Based Learning (VBL) as the educational technology to focus on moving forward for our project. Each of us has some level of experience with this tool, and we all could demonstrate examples of VBL’s effectiveness in specific scenarios. However, I wanted to overlay personal experiences in teaching undergraduate engineering students and how they have recently responded to their learning. The majority of which for the last 14 months has been entirely online. As a baseline, our team used a particular pathway on LinkedIn Learning (formerly to allow ourselves to experience VBL together and summarize the experience of learning through this technology.

In summary, this platform has various topics at the learner’s disposal, allowing users to pick ala cart, what they want to unpack, and when/how long they want to unpack it. I felt this has allowed me to see the benefits of VBL and, eventually, its flaws. Could I translate this to my work with undergraduates? I certainly feel like I can understand them better.

Looking inwards at the work we have done so far during the pandemic; I am often left wondering about my own choices regarding online learning. Did the flipped classroom work for this particular set of students? What material did the students absorb and articulate better, and based on that, what technologies aided in their ability to comprehend the subject matter better? I believe wholeheartedly in what Selwyn (2009) prefaced as the real problem in the study of ed-tech, and that is the lack of discussing how and why particular technologies are used. We have a good understanding and dialogue in the literature on what “tools” are available. However, we tend not to step back and think about why educators and designers have selected them and ultimately ask whether they should be implemented in the first place. I am now looking at VBL and creating questions on its effectiveness, efficiency, equality, and of course, its ability to be engaging. There is currently enough research in using a flipped-classroom approach with students in STEM, especially engineering and mathematics.

There is no arguing that Video can engage students when used in the proper context, but is it the right tool to get the job done moving forward? (Zaneldin et al.,2019). Regarding equality in the world VBL, gender and race have also recently undergone research and whether the effects of a flipped classroom favour male or female students (Chiquito, 2020).  As I narrow the focus on using VBL for students in engineering, I think there is much to explore and unpack and decide whether or not VBL will work in the world of applied sciences.



Chiquito, M., Castedo, R., Santos, A. P., López, L. M., & Alarcón, C. (2020). Flipped classroom in engineering: The influence of gender. Computer Applications in Engineering Education, 28(1), 80–89.

Selwyn, N. (2010). Looking beyond learning: Notes towards the critical study of educational technology. Journal of computer assisted learning, 26(1), 65-73.

  Zaneldin, E., Ahmed, W., & El-Ariss, B. (2019). Video-based e-learning for an undergraduate engineering course. E-Learning and Digital Media, 16(6), 475–496.

10 thoughts on “Video Based Learning—Effective, Efficient, Engaging, but Equal?

  1. Hi Ash,

    Thanks so much for this. I’m really looking forward to seeing what your team puts together for this. Video has been a huge part of my career, and I’m excited to see your insights into how to use this tool more effectively in education.
    Can you provide a little more detail on how you’ve incorporate VBL into a flipped classroom in the past? The flipped classroom is a relatively new concept for me, and I want to learn more!


    • Thanks for dropping by Christopher. For the last two semesters, we gave the full in-person course online with the use of our Brightspaces module/course and Zoom for our live meetings. We would recommend students watch the 10-20 minute video online through Brightspaces and then come to the synchronous (live) course where we provided additional content based on the material we presented in our videos. For the most part, students who watched the videos came to class better prepared to discuss and engage others. You could tell who wasn’t watching the videos, as the time spent in the live sessions usually dealt with us answering questions and material covered in the video.
      Moving forward to the Fall 2021 course, we are now being told it will be face-to-face, but at the same time told to prepare for any last-minute changes to the model moving forward. We are hoping to offer this same style in-person this year (material online and higher-level discussions in the live sessions) but we are struggling to understand what material we need to go over better and what can be left or “dumped” into a VBL format. We are likely going to look at the retention and recall, quizzes and assignment marks we received for the last two terms to make this judgement call as an unofficial metric.

  2. Super interesting, Ash. Thanks for reply.

    I’ve been trying to spread the good word about a web based program (that can be integrated into an LMS) called Perusal ( It seems like a really great tool to facilitate a flipped classroom… and they recently added a video option, so students can annotate the video and communicate with each other. The claim that the percentage of students who engage with the content before the course drastically improves with the use of the platform. If you haven’t heard of it… might be worth a look. There have been some concerns about data collection on the platform and licensing of the content on there… but if you own the videos you’re sharing with students, that wouldn’t be a problem.

    • I just checked it out Christopher and the first thing I thought of, was where are the servers housed and who is collecting the data. This is something I get faced with at UVic a lot, however, students start their own discord and slack channels (which are no-nos in the eyes of the privacy czars) but I would check out things like clicker cloud…we were doing a lot of annotation and cool things with the app a few years ago in classrooms.

  3. Hey Ash,

    Nice post. As someone that uses video-based lessons and instructional videos to supplement my practice, I need to keep an eye on your group. I think you hit the head of the nail when you discussed the difference in students and the effectiveness of VBLs. As I am sure you have experienced, there is a difference between watching a video and engaging in a video. For example, I watch the Simpsons but rarely, at least in modern times, engage in the narrative and compare the theme or message to my or others’ circumstances. However, as crazy as it is… when I watch “Whose Line is it Anyway?” I engage entirely and attempt to follow the ‘narrative’ and methodology they use to get laughs as engagement tools in my face-to-face interactions with less than motivated students. My experience with VBLs has insighted the following observation, VBLs requires learners to engage in the activity solely based on their intrinsic motivation, creating a dichotomy of those engaged and those that are not. I guess the question then is how to engage most or all students in a lesson. I feel with engineering students, an already motivated subset of students, this may be a non-issue. Still, it elevates the changes in the field and diffusion of the traditional teacher’s role in favour of student agency. It is interesting how such a seemingly small change can have such ripples.

    • Thank you for the comment Mike. I have seen the benefits of our students use Youtube and other video tutorials in learning a basic component of a CAD skill such as Solidworks or Catia, however, some of the hands-on portions or practical skills that they are required to learn and experience has found themselves the victim of the last year and half of being strictly video or online. Not everything translates easily to video and I am hoping that what I can come across this term, will help me moving forward and maybe some of the senior faculty who found the transition to online, just as hard as their students did.

  4. For me, implementing a flipped classroom, meant giving students a quiz regarding the content in the video or readings so that they have a grade percent to motivate them. Grades seem to be the ‘currency’ of students.

    • Patrick, thanks for stopping by. When we realized that the students were watching less and less of the videos prior to the live session (we checked the metrics of avg views and time spent on video) and then started more quizzes or conversation starters to test their comprehension. When they caught on, that we had caught on, they seemed to absorb the material better, ask less “silly” questions and were engaged in both the online and in-person portions of the course.

  5. Ash, as you note you have multiple threads that can be pursued in your studies, ranging from using VBL with undergraduates, the effectiveness of flipped classroom, or why instructors select it as a teaching and learning tool, to the 4Es of effectiveness, efficiency, engagement and equity, whether it’s the right tool for your learners, and how it can support applied sciences. It sounds like your experiences with flipped classroom have offered a lot to look into more deeply as a possible particular focus.

  6. Hi Ash,
    It is a great topic. Actually it is the first time I heard the term “flipped classroom”, though I have used the video based learning technology for years. And the very point that I have never paid attention is the gender preference in the use of this technology and the possible implications it may exert for the education. Apart from the research of this issue from an academic perspective, I am thing research results of the gender bias may be of value in the recruitment of schools – they can take advantage of the statistics to design more targeted courses to meet students’ preference for choosing majors in universities.

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