Exploring EFL Learners' Perspectives on Instructional Videos

Exploring EFL Learners' Perspectives on Instructional Videos

Yan Ding
DOI: 10.4018/IJCALLT.2018040104
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Instructional videos play a central role in most online English courses of the current generation. However, previous research on the design and production of these videos has not been adequate, with direct feedback of learners largely neglected. To address the gap, the present study provides an explorative investigation of the perspectives of EFL learners on instructional videos used in online English courses. Through content analysis of students' comments on three existing instructional videos, it reveals the most favorable features of an instructional video, the means to actualize these features, and students' perceptions of different aspects of the physical design of an instructional video. The findings provide video producers with suggestions on the design and production of instructional videos used in online English courses.
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Literature Review

A number of studies have examined the design and production of instructional videos used in online courses on subjects other than English. They presented a range of findings and suggestions concerning the physical design, content design, and structure of an instruction video.

Studies that investigated the physical design of a video mainly dealt with the presentation style, speaking rate, caption, length, navigation support and visual transition of a video.3 With respect to presentation style, the results indicated that talking-head style videos were slightly more popular and resulted in better learning performance than drawing-board style videos (Ilioudi, Giannakos, & Chorianopoulos, 2013); drawing-board style videos and PowerPoint-slide style videos enjoyed similar popularity (Cross, Bayyapunedi, Cutrell, Agarwal, & Thies, 2013); lecturing videos interspersing PowerPoint slides with an instructor’s talking head were more engaging than slides alone (Guo et al., 2014); and drawing-board style tutorial videos were more engaging than PowerPoint-slide ones (Guo et al., 2014).4 As regards speaking rate, caption and length, it was shown that videos where instructors spoke fairly fast with high enthusiasm were more engaging (Guo et al., 2014); videos with captions resulted in better learning performance than those without captions (Wang, Hao, & Lu, 2014); and shorter videos, ideally less than six minutes, were much more engaging (Guo et al., 2014). Regarding navigation support and visual transition, it was suggested that navigation support all through the content should be provided (Chorianopoulos & Giannakos, 2013; Kim et al., 2014), while abrupt visual transitions should be avoided (Kim et al., 2014).

Several studies offered suggestions concerning the structure of a video. Zheng, Wang, Wang, and Bai (2012) suggested that a MOOC video should typically include an opening, a question that captures the essence of the video, explanation of the question, revision, in-video quizzes and answers, announcement of the main content of the next video, and an ending. Kovacs (2016) concluded that in-video quizzes could be added to a video to improve learners’ engagement with the video. Swarts (2012) advised presenting an outline of the lesson to be learned at the beginning of a video.

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