Designing Digital Video to Support Learner Outcomes: A Study in an Online Learning Resource for Healthcare Professionals and Students

Designing Digital Video to Support Learner Outcomes: A Study in an Online Learning Resource for Healthcare Professionals and Students

Hugh Kellam (University of Ottawa, Canada), Colla J. MacDonald (University of Ottawa, Canada), Douglas Archibald (University of Ottawa, Canada) and Derek Puddester (University of Ottawa, Canada)
Copyright: © 2012 |Pages: 22
DOI: 10.4018/ijopcd.2012070104
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Abstract

This pragmatic, mixed methods study explored how the design and implementation of digital video resources in an online educational environment affected learning outcomes. Forty-five health professionals and students evaluated the digital videos incorporated into ePhysicianHealth.com, the world’s first comprehensive online resource on health and wellness for physicians and medical students. Specifically the participants were to evaluate how digital videos impacted their learning experiences. Quantitative and qualitative data were collected from two sources: surveys and interviews. The findings of the study clearly indicated that the majority of the participants found the digital videos a valuable addition to ePhysicianHealth.com. There were numerous practical conclusions from this study that provided recommendations for the future design and delivery of digital videos in pedagogical settings. They included: the use of personal testimonials and stories; the use of problem-solving scenarios involving modeling and demonstrations; and tailoring modeling scenarios to the specific needs of learners.
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Introduction

The increased demand for eLearning courses has led educators to examine more interactive and creative ways to motivate learners and make the online experience more realistic and effective (Monahan, McArdle, & Bertolotto, 2008).Using a variety of pedagogical approaches is an important element to consider when designing online resources (Watts, 2007). Kirschner (2005) reminded us that despite the availability of a plethora of multimedia tools, many distance education courses have “student activities that are limited to reading from the screen, filling out boxes and, at best, chatting with peer students about the content” (p. 547). Poorly designed text-based learning can be monotonous, which can result in poor learner comprehension of the material (Zhang, Zhao, Zhou, &Nunamaker, 2004). Learner engagement when learning online can be dramatically increased when multimedia resources, such as digital video, are used to present course material (Monahan, McArdle, & Bertolotto, 2008). Digital videos have been proven to create a more authentic learning environment than text-based online resources (Kumar, 2010; Bliss & Reynolds, 2004).Moreover, multimedia learning resources motivate online learners and engage them emotionally (Kumar, 2010; Hung, Keppell, & Jong, 2004).

A wealth of research has been conducted on the design, delivery, and implementation of online learning (Gustafson & Branch, 2002; MacDonald & Thompson, 2005; Ryder, 2007; Thompson & MacDonald, 2005). However, there have been few empirical evaluations of the use of video for learning and the literature has even fewer publications that provide practical guidelines for designing digital videos to achieve desired learning outcomes (Cheng & Chau, 2009; Schwartz & Hartmann, 2007). In online classrooms “forms of learning that stress the active engagement of learners in rich learning tasks and the acquisition of skills are rare” (Kirschner, 2005, p. 548). With more and more web-based courses incorporating videos, the need for research in this area is required to understand how to design, utilize, and incorporate video most effectively as a pedagogical tool.

This pragmatic, mixed methods study explored how the design and implementation of digital video resources in an online educational environment affected learning outcomes. Forty-five health professionals and students evaluated the digital videos incorporated into ePhysicianHealth.com (Appendix B, Tables 7 through 11), the world’s first comprehensive online resource on health and wellness for physicians and physicians-in-training. ePhysicianHealth.comincludes eightinteractive, self-paced modules on mental and physical health issues—such as substance use disorders; weight, nutrition and fitness; depression, burnout, and suicide; anxiety; resilience; relationship with self; boundaries and primary care. In addition there are five modules on disruptive workplace behavior for physician leaders, medical students, healthcare teams, residents, and practicing physicians. Content is provided through video, interactive activities, self-assessments, animations, graphics, and text. The content of the digital videos in ePhysicianHealth.comincludes specific scenarios, testimonials, and presentations based on the real-world personal and professional experiences of health professionals. Three types of digital video genre were examined in this study: modeling/demonstrations (7 in total, outlined in Table 4 of the Outcomes section), personal stories/commentaries (4 in total, outlined in Table 5 of the Outcomes section, and content expert narratives (1 introduction in each of the 13 modules). This study examined whether the digital video genres led to identified learning outcomes in the literature, and how effective they were at producing useful and applicable learning outcomes for busy healthcare professionals in an online learning resource. Practical and theoretical suggestions are made for future implementation and research.

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