Research on the Factors Affecting the Appeal of Teaching Videos and Suggested Strategies to Enhance Their Attractiveness
[Abstract] Today, learners can watch teaching videos uploaded or broadcast by distance education institutions, education professionals or even learners themselves through a variety of channels and terminals, including the Internet, cable and satellite television, computers, mobile phones and other mobile devices. However, the majority of learners rarely browse the large amount of educational videos available to them online or on television. The reason is that the videos lack enough attractiveness. In order to study the factors that affect the attractiveness of teaching videos and come up with strategies to enhance their attractiveness, based on a questionnaire survey of 751 teachers and 2,419 students within the Chinese open university system, the author was able to identify the differences in the level of recognition of teaching videos between teachers and students, and clarify the main factors affecting the attractiveness of teaching videos, including content, form, quality, and teaching staff. He was also able to put forward specific tactics and measures for enhancing the attractiveness of teaching videos at each stage, including design, production and application. These include: designing teaching videos according to the application of multi-media; choosing teaching staff and determining form according to teaching content; and deciding length based on the application terminals of the teaching videos. These tactics provide a point of reference for decision-makers in distance education institutions as well as the people responsible for the design, development and application of the teaching videos.
[Key Words] Teaching Video, Attractiveness, Affecting Factors, Enhancing Tactics, Questionnaire Survey
1. Basic concepts
Explained from the technical angle, video refers to “frequencies within the frequency band that include the frequency spectrum of television picture signals. They range from zero to 10 MHz and are used to generate or transform images” (reference from Sogou encyclopedia). In plain English, they are referred to as “the images formed by dynamic video clips” (Ci Ranran, 2010).
1.2 Teaching videos
There are two popular descriptions of teaching videos. One refers to “teaching resources that are integrated with the knowledge and skills that are to be imparted to learners through pictures, papers, sounds and videos, in accordance with the technical means and requirements of the teaching syllabus, by teachers and professional producers, and are published in the form of video documents for a large member of learners” (Li Xiaogang, 2013). The other one refers to “videos in which the teaching content is systematically taught by instructors, similar to instructive television teaching materials in the conventional sense” (Huang Lixin, 2006). Teaching videos as referred to in this paper are defined according to the first description.
2. Development and application of teaching videos
In recent years, along with the rise and development of the Internet, the application of teaching videos in teaching and education in the field of open and distance education has been researched, developed and applied by all kinds of distance education institutions. Examples include the Chinese university open courses (Love Courses) aimed at universities and members of society supervised by the Ministry of Education; the online courses and micro lectures being developed by The Open University of China (OUC), offering the OUC learners and social members; and “the Chinese versions of video open courses from famous universities around the world on public video websites such as Netease and Sina” (Jiao Jianli, 2013).
Under the current supervision system, what is the quality of teaching videos? How attractive are they? Can they meet teaching needs? In general, only a small quantity of well-made teaching videos are recognized by learners and the public, but most are simply viewed as resources to the point that they will not even be broadcast on television.
3. Research significance
A number of scholars have carried out analysis and discussion of the existing problems in teaching videos from aspects, such as concept, policy, design, and technology. However, most of these research results were obtained through summary of experience and rational analysis, instead of empirical study. On the other hand, this research was obtained from the first-hand information of teachers and students in the form of a questionnaire survey. Conclusions were drawn following an analysis of the information. In addition, this research also surveyed teaching and administrative staff, which has rarely been seen in the past. The results obtained from this research will not only be useful in analyzing the attractiveness of teaching videos, but also in the development and application of teaching videos.
II. Literature review
In March 2014, after searching for documents published between January 1, 2011 to December 31, 2013 on CNKI, 1,016 results were obtained when searching for “teaching videos”. There were no matching results when searching for “attractiveness of teaching videos”. Inputting “teaching videos” plus “attractiveness” (precise word frequency) returns five matching papers, of which one paper by Ai Hongling – “Analysis of Ways to Enhance the Attractiveness of Ideological and Political Theory Course in Independent Institutions” – was related to this research subject. The paper mainly discussed how to apply teaching videos in classes (Ai Hongling, 2012). It is clear that there are very few papers directly discussing or studying the attractiveness of teaching videos.