Do You Really Need a Video?

[Here’s an article from  Edsurge that looks at MOOCs. I think the author’s comments also fit into the conversation about Flipped Learning. Do you need to create your videos in order to have a successful learning experience with a MOOC or Flipped Classroom?]
Lorena A. Barba
May 11, 2015


The participants of #NumericalMOOC will have noticed that we made only one video for the course. I thought that maybe I would do a handful more. But in the end I didn’t, and I don’t think it matters too much.

Why didn’t we have more videos? The short answer is budget and time: Making good-quality videos is expensive, and making simple yet effective educational videos is time consuming, if not necessarily costly. #NumericalMOOC was created on-the-fly, with little budget. But here’s my point: expensive, high-production-value videos are not necessary to achieve a quality learning experience.

The fixation with videos in MOOCs, online courses and blended learning is worrisome. At the edX Global Forum (November 2014), it was often mentioned that producing a MOOC is a high-cost operation, with an estimated average expense of $100,000 per course. This is probably a somewhat overindulgent price for appearance, rather than substance. There is no evidence justifying the “production value” from a learning perspective. In fact, as far back as 1971, Donald Bligh concluded that “there is not much difference in the effectiveness of methods to present information.” In this sense, a video—however nicely produced—is not better than a lecture.

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