Making video for active learning

Lights, camera, action

At the Forum lunchtime workshop, on Monday 3 November 2014, Chris Copland and Huw Llewlyn-Jones introduced the work they have been doing, in partnership with international students, to stimulate language skills and cultural awareness. The work they presented showed a move away from talking head videos, that we have seen produced by a number of universities to present information to students, to engaging dramatised and documentary style videos.

Chris talked about how some of the inspiration for developing the videos had come from ‘YouTuber phenomenon’, which has provided an opportunity for peer to peer learning. The quality of clips produced on YouTube, that students will be accessing and creating themselves, means that universities need to be more imaginative in the way they present information. To evidence this Chris showed a clip from the former YUSU president,  Tom Scott This clip is an educational clip based on Tom academic interest in linguistics, the way the material is presented encourages the viewer to engage in the learning process.

The videos that Chris and Hew have produced have been designed to encourage active learning. They use the materials with the students in a number of ways to further encourage engagement such as:

  • showing clips with an associated task e.g. identifying nouns
  • playing the videos without audio
  • playing audio without visual

The international students presenting the videos had significant control over the content which adds to the authenticity of the mini-documentaries. In the workshop this led to an interesting point being made about the multiple frames of perspective in the videos, which come from collaboration between staff and students.

Chis and Hew, as well as producing videos, have set exchange students the task of producing their own videos. Hew explained how following a short introduction on how to produce the videos using in iPad and iMove software, the students went on to produce engaging quality materials. One of the main aims of the task was to encourage students to expand their use of vocabulary in the documentaries that they produced.

For the remainder of the workshop, to build on the active learning theme, participants were invited to produce their own videos. Armed with iPads in groups we went to produce high quality videos of Heslington Hall and the surrounding area.

Chis and Hew are facilitating a full day practical workshop which will introduce the skills involved in making short video films for support teaching and learning:
Making Video for Language Learning and Teaching
Date: 15 November 2014
For further information and to book a place see:

If you’d like access to the videos produced by students, please contact Chris,

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s