Team 1 (Activity 2) Video-Based Learning: a critical inquiry into best practices

By Kristin Beeby, Jonathan Carpenter, Denys Koval, Ash Senini

Video-Based Learning (VBL) has become a more prevalent tool used in education in recent memory. VBL allows both educators and students to reflect upon and enhance one’s learning process (Perez-Torregrosa et al., 2017, as cited in Sablić et al., 2020). Collectively, our team will examine the use of VBL in various contexts to determine the effectiveness of this learning technology.

VBL originates from the early 20th century, with films covering topics such as Differential Steering and WWII soldier training (Origin Learning, 2020).  VBL has grown since, now providing edutainment through video games and sharing platforms such as YouTube. To inform our critical research pathways and better understand the use of VBL, we will examine LinkedIn Learning’s (formerly “Becoming an Instructional Developer” learning path ( from Linkedin, n.d.). 


We began our critical inquiry research by conducting a broad literature review on VBL to identify various research topics and critical issues to explore. Literature reviews by Sablić et al. (2020) and Yousef et al. (2014) aggregate years of VBL research to generate an excellent overview on VBL, serving as a foundation for our research approach. Once all group members gained a basic understanding of the theoretical aspects of VBL through the readings, practical research topics emerged. The following VBL critical issues are the result of our broad literature review.

Practical Effectiveness of VBL

One benefit of VBL is to provide theoretical knowledge. During the pandemic, VBL became one of the few ways students could gain practical or hands-on experience as well. Determining how effective VBL is in delivering practical information depends on the specific context. For example, we would welcome a conversation with someone who learned the language through VBL, but would be wary of professionals, like doctors or engineers, who learned through VBL. 

Social Considerations

Another critical issue in applying new technologies is to avoid potential harms, as Weller warns, “technology has often negative social consequences,” (2020, p. 173). We know learning is a social process, and VBL could diminish the social component of learning and increase students’ sense of isolation (Kizilcec et al., 2014). If so, are there pedagogical or design solutions to counteract such social side effects, or does the cost outway any benefits?

Student Engagement and Motivation 

Like classroom-based learning, VBL requires a considerable amount of planning and thought to engage learners. There are many variables unrelated to content quality that affect student engagement. Learner engagement variables include video length, annotation, accessibility, content delivery methods, level of cognitive load, social presence, and interactivity. Even though there is evidence that VBL can improve student learning and enhance student engagement (Brame, 2016), it can suffer from many of the same issues of classroom-based learning. The numerous technological layers of VBL pose many challenges and questions unique to this learning modality. 

Considerations for Design 

As with any learning modality, not all instances of VBL are created equal; therefore, it is essential to analyze the various elements of effective VBL design to deliver optimized learning outcomes and experiences. Effective VBL design empathizes with learners to promote VBL adoption (Pappas et al., 2016), initiates memory formation through appropriate learning theories and active learning principles (Brame, 2016), and sustains learner engagement through the use of interactive learning objects (Ouimet & Rusczek, n.d.) and production strategies (Beheshti et al., 2018). Further, VBL accommodates today’s mobile learner by integrating with multiple viewing devices, enabling on-the-go learning that compliments various learner needs, including strict schedules, conforming the demands of today’s and tomorrow’s educational consumer.


Like other digital learning tools, VBL has extensive and practical use in online education which can be seen in various mediums today. The prevalence of VBL allows users to gain practical knowledge in a given subject matter. From our initial examination, we will explore critical issues, including social implications, overall engagement, design and equity issues that can occur in the world of Video-Based Learning.

We encourage others with experience in the realm of VBL to comment on our pathway(s) and tell us your own experience with Video-Based Learning. Here are some guiding questions that may help you reflect on VBL:

  • Are there any particular aspects of educational video production that impact your ability to learn? 
  • Do you have a go-to VBL platform you prefer to use?
  • What motivates you to learn from the video?
  • Why is VBL that is used in institutional education often not as engaging as VBL used for personal learning?
  • Do you have sufficient access (e.g. consistent bandwidth) to video-based courses? 
  • Can applied sciences (eg engineering) adopt a VBL style in their education?
  • Could VBL be accepted as an alternative training tool for engineers? (considering that the professional field is highly regulated)
  • What could be taught (in online undergrad programs) through VBL and what should stay in the classroom?


Beheshti, M., Taspolat, A., Kaya, O. S., & Sapanca, H. F. (2018). Characteristics of educational videos. World Journal on Educational Technology, 10(1), 61–69.

Brame, C. J. (2016). Effective educational videos: Principles and guidelines for maximizing student learning from video content. CBE—Life Sciences Education, 15(4), 1-6. doi:10.1187/cbe.16-03-0125

Kizilcec, R. F., Papadopoulos, K., & Sritanyaratana, L. (2014). Showing face in video instruction: Effects on information retention, visual attention, and affect. In Proceedings of the SIGCHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems. CHI ’14, ACM, New York, NY, USA, pp. 2095–2102.

Origin Learning. (2020, October 16). The Relevance of Video-based learning. [Blog]. Origin Learning.

Ouimet, B. T. C., & Rusczek, R. A. (n.d.). Video-Based Learning Objects. from Linkedin. (n.d.). Become an Instructional Developer. [Website].

Pappas, I. O., Mikalef, P., & Giannakos, M. N. (2016). Video-based learning adoption: A typology of learners. CEUR Workshop Proceedings, 34–41.

Sablić, M., Mirosavljević, A., & Škugor, A. (2020). Video-based learning (VBL)—past, present and future: An overview of the research published from 2008 to 2019. Technology, Knowledge and Learning.

Weller, M. (2020). 25 Years of Ed Tech. Athabasca University Press. 

Yousef, A. M. F., Chatti, M. A., & Schroeder, U. (2014). Video-based learning: A critical analysis of the research published in 2003-2013 and future visions [Paper presentation]. ELmL – International Conference on Mobile, Hybrid, and On-Line Learning, June 2015, 112–119.

3 thoughts on “Team 1 (Activity 2) Video-Based Learning: a critical inquiry into best practices

  1. What a great topic!

    VBL continues to be a very popular and advantageous tool for education. Of course, it is not without its challenges. I have been a teacher and teacher trainer for many years, and I have found that the most common challenges for teachers and students regarding VBL is the lack of student engagement and active communication: between the student and teacher, among students, and between the student and the content.

    Teachers have commented to me that, although their LMS may indicate that a student watched a video, they suspect that the student didn’t actual focus on the video while it was playing on their screen. As a result, they have tried to make VBL more interactive by, for example, embedding questions in the VBL. However, they found their students often just skip through the video to find the answers rather than actively watch the entire video and digesting the content. How a student engages with VBL must be an important consideration in its design. Giannakos et al. (2015) state that “students do not always use videos as expected… [and] usage styles affect students’ engagement to video materials” (p. 157). Their results indicate that “previous experience, video platform, video duration, and the watching intensity have significant effect on students’ engagement” (p. 157).

    The importance of communication was highlighted by a recent story about a Concordia University student who was enrolled in a VBL course (Young, 2021). During the course, the student attempted to email his professor only to find out that the professor had died almost two years earlier. The student was understandably shocked. This illustrates the responsibility that teachers, administrators, and the larger community have to our learners when using educational technology to ensure we communicate with students and successfully attend to their needs and well-being (Panesi et al., 2020). Such a discovery could be emotionally damaging to students and detrimental to their learning process.

    I look forward to hearing more about your exploration into VBL!

    Giannakos, M. N., Jaccheri, L., & Krogstie, J. (2016). How video usage styles affect student engagement? Implications for video-based learning environments. In State-of-the-Art and Future Directions of Smart Learning (pp. 157-163). Springer.

    Promoting students’ well-being and inclusion in schools through digital technologies: Perceptions of students, teachers, and school leaders in Italy expressed through SELFIE piloting activities. Frontiers in Psychology, 11, 1563.

    Young, J. R. (2021, February 9). Is it still teaching when the professor is dead?. The EdSurge Podcast.

  2. Really great post, Team 1. Super interesting.

    I’m personally a big fan of LinkedIn Learning. The format works really well for me and I love that you can add the micro-credentials to your LinkedIn profile… but I can appreciate that it’s not for everyone. As Sherry pointed out so well, there’s very little direct interaction between the educator and the learner. While there is now an opportunity to communicate with other individuals who have also taken a particular course… these courses are made available for long periods of time with no discernible beginning or end, resulting in no sense of community (that I can tell) in the group, leading to fairly low level discourse… not particularly beneficial for a learning environment. Critical discourse requires a level of trust. As Stodel et al. (2006) observed that learners will avoid criticizing each other’s ideas out of concern for offending one another. The higher the level of trust, the more likely the discourse will reach higher order thinking.

    However, for those who are self motivate and have the drive to finish a project once started… there’s a huge amount of value here.

    Stodel, E. J., Thompson, T. L., & MacDonald, C. J. (2006). Learners’ perspectives on what is missing from online learning: Interpretations through the community of inquiry framework. The International Review of Research in Open and Distance Learning, 7(3), 1–24.

  3. Hey Team 1,

    I ended up posting on Ash’s blog but made a mental note to look at your information. Having used videos as a medium for learning for nearly a decade in my practice, I agree entirely that student engagement in VBL is just as complex as classroom-based instruction. I would go even further and state that video-based learning needs an intrinsically motivated student to engage genuinely.

    I would be a little wary of stating that VBL gives “hands-on” experience or at least cite a few articles and define what you believe hands-on experience is in the given context. I assume that you mean that VBL has the ability to provide the learner with the knowledge they need to attempt the activity or project.

    Furthermore, I believe that you hit the nail on the head when speaking of social considerations. I question whether the technology itself creates “negative consequences” and believe it has more to do with how we use the technology. My experience helping professionals explore technology is they often feel technology is a substitute for good pedagogy, stating, “Hey, I am using it!” rather than developing practices that utilize the unique affordances of the technology. I mean, remember when Game of Thrones was big? I have NEVER seen an episode, but somehow now most of the key plot points and major events!

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