What Constitutes an Effective Instructional Video?: Perspectives From Chinese EFL Learners

What Constitutes an Effective Instructional Video?: Perspectives From Chinese EFL Learners

Yan Ding (Beijing Jiaotong University, China)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-7998-1282-1.ch011
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Online English courses have been developing rapidly in the past few years. As instructional videos play a central role in such courses, what constitutes an effective instruction video becomes a critical question for online English course developers. This chapter offers perspectives of EFL learners on this issue via content analysis of their feedback on existing instructional videos used in online English courses. The data consisted of 51 learners' comments on three micro-courses and 3,510 learner reviews on 41 English MOOCs. Analysis of the data revealed the most favorable features of an instructional video, the means to actualize these features, and learners' perceptions of different aspects of the physical design of an instructional video. The findings provided 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 for 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 presented findings that were useful for designing the content of a video. Coccoli, Iacono, and Vercelli (2015) and Zhu, Pei, and Shang (2017) revealed that narrative-style videos with gamification design were more engaging than lecture-style videos. Swarts (2012) discovered that highly-rated tutorial videos spent more time doing and explaining steps than either doing or explaining alone and their instructional messages were easily identified, understood and applied.

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