Learning Out Loud - The Importance of Active, Engaged Video Discussion

California State University Teaching and Learning Innovations Specialist, Dr. Michelle Pacansky-Brock stresses the importance of active, engaged learning in her article “Learning Out Loud: Making Online Courses Meaningful and Accessible.”

Through her own research, Pacansky-Brock has discovered that students perform better when discussing content verbally. Specifically, she found “83 percent of students (n=82) reported an increased retention of information when expressing ideas through spoken language; 95 percent of students (n=82) reported that listening to peers led to an increased ability to reach the learning objectives; and 86 percent (n=109) agreed that learning out loud made them feel connected to their peers.”

To achieve these results, especially in an online course where face-to-face interaction is traditionally minimal or nonexistent, Pacansky-Brock recommends recorded video discussion. She states, “an asynchronous, multimodal learning environment that invites students to verbally converse with one another has been shown to improve the social and emotional elements of learning.” The power of video is valuable both in online courses and in traditional, face-to-face courses. In both cases, a continuous dialogue can extend beyond the space and time of a class period. Moreover, with the ability to rehearse their response, students can confidently showcase their addition to the discussion.

Pacansky-Brock also discusses the special attention multimodal learning environments require for learners with disabilities. She highlights, "accessibility is not simply a box to check ... [and] educational technology companies must ... value accessibility as a priority and actively listen to understand the needs of their clients." Flipgrid is constantly working to implement educator input and analyze accessibility recommendations and requirements.  Stay tuned for some big updates on accessibility!

We want everyone to join the discussion on Flipgrid because peer-to-peer, social learning is not just more effective, it’s also more enjoyable. As Pacansky-Brock concludes, “in short, voice and video conversations can take online learning from mandate to memorable.”

Boost your students’ learning and retention by welcoming them aboard Flipgrid.

Flipgrid Story: Ramesh Laungani

Flipgrid empowers educators around the world to actively engage students with their curriculum and with one another. After seeing a few of his awesome tweets and watching Doane University’s Dr. Ramesh Laungani explain how Flipgrid enhanced his classroom by coaching his first-year biology students to “clearly and concisely articulate ideas and questions” and enabling him to identify and clarify misconceptions, we reached out to learn more about Ramesh’s #FlipgridStory.

Where do you use Flipgrid?

I used Flipgrid in two courses that I taught this past Spring semester. One course was the second introductory biology class in our 3 course core series. This class was primarily first-year students. We had 3 sections of this course and each section had about 30 students.
I also used Flipgrid in a smaller seminar type course with 8 first year STEM students (from a variety of science disciplines). Flipgrid was also used in 2 upper level biology courses [at] Doane University by my colleague Dr. Brad Elder. He used it in his Evolution class and a class focused on upper level students designing experiments for their senior research projects.

How easy was it to start using Flipgrid with your curriculum?

Everyone in my department learned about Flipgrid only 3-4 days before the spring semester began, and as soon as we saw what it could do we adopted it into our courses for this past spring. So within a matter of 72 hours Flipgrid was fully integrated into my introductory biology course syllabus as if I had had it planned for months. Making a grid and adding questions (both video and text) could not have been any easier. I was also able to add questions easily on the fly during the semester as the class needed it. For my seminar course it was the same story, easy!

How often do you use Flipgrid with your students?

In my introductory biology course we had the students create lecture video summaries that related a case study from class to a large biology concept (we called it the 'Bottom Line') that could be applied to many biological systems, not just the one discussed in class.  We had the students make a total of 13 videos throughout the semester (so nearly 1 per week).
In my seminar I had my students summarize articles about recent scientific discoveries and had other students "reply" to those videos explaining what was so interesting about the idea in the first video.  This was done about 3 times. Thus, I am particularly excited about the "Reply" feature coming out in August.

What other resources do you use in your classroom?

My biology class is a pretty active classroom. There is a lot of small group work with students predicting experimental results based on hypotheses. I podcast all of my lectures using software called ProfCast. I have been doing this for years and this technology has been adopted by many of my colleagues. This has allowed me to flip my classroom and acts as a great review tool for my students.

In what ways have Flipgrid influenced the way you educate?

I am an ecologist by training, specifically an ecologist who studies how carbon cycles in ecosystems. This gives me a deep understanding of topics like human-driven climate change. As such, I have also recognized the importance of being able to clearly and concisely articulate complicated ideas orally. Therefore, oral communication has always been a significant component of my courses. Flipgrid has provided an absolutely amazing way of allowing my students to work on these exact skills that are so important. For a scientist to be able to clearly articulate themselves is a skill that takes practice and Flipgrid allows for that skill to be developed in the young scientists that I work with everyday.

How else have you used Flipgrid?

Outside of the classroom I have used Flipgrid to help setup a SciComm event here in Nebraska.

Thank you, Ramesh, we're grateful to have you in our Flipgrid Family and look forward to being part of your continued success!

Hear more from Ramesh below.