Instructional videocasts: Lifelong learning in a mobile world

Robert Hickey

Institute of Technology Blanchardstown

This research paper initially outlines a problem identified by the teacher-researcher with phase six apprentice bricklaying students achieving psycomotor learning outcomes, mainly due to high student numbers and limited available workshop time.  A possible solution to this problem is presented through the facilitation of the students in using instructional video demonstrations on mobile phones to optimise the time available on this key component of their apprenticeship study.  The research objectives span four key areas for apprentice education in this emerging age of mobile learning: identification of patterns of mobile use, gauging of the appeal of mLearning, ease of usability (which includes technical issues with mLearning) and student’s perception of effectiveness of instructional videocasts for learning.   Eleven short instructional video demonstrations were created for the study.  They were uploaded to the memory cards of the student’s mobile phones so they could access them when and where they were required.  Laurillard’s conversational framework (1993) was used in order to frame the learning scenario for which the videos were used in the practical face-to-face workshop. Within an action research approach, data was collected from sixteen students using a combination of a survey with a range of closed questions, a practical assessment sheet and a follow-up focus group interview.  A research diary was also kept throughout the duration of the project.  This data was then analysed by following Miles and Hurberman’s interactive model of data analysis (1994).  The study showed that more than 75% of the students used the videos both at home and in the workshop.  They all were in favour of using their mobile phones for just-in-time training on this module and more than 90% wanted to utilise this method of learning on their work sites in the future.  From the perspective of the instructional videocasts, 95% found the picture quality of the videos good on their standard mobile phones and had experienced limited technical difficulties.  Most importantly, the study showed that the use of mLearning was more effective for apprentice student’s achieving practical learning outcomes than the previous face-to-face training alone.
Keywords: Apprenticeship, bricklaying, conversational framework, just-in-time training, mobile phone, mLearning, videocasts.
Laurillard, D. (1993). Rethinking university teaching. A framework for the effective use of educational technology. London: Routledge.
Miles, M., & Huberman, A. (1994). Qualitative data analysis: an expanded sourcebook. (2nd ed.). London: Sage Publications.

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