I recently had a recent discussion forum conversation with some of my instructional design students about whether or not to include the instructor in an instructional video. Personally, I believe that doing so increases Teacher Presence, thus promoting the other presences in a Community of Inquiry (Athabasca University, n.d.). It reassures students that the instructor is present, and paying attention to their progress, even in a distributed learning context. Also, while many users may overtly ignore the on-screen instructor (especially when projected in a smaller window in front of a screencast type recording), they can still subconsciously pick up cues from the instructor's body language that can aid in engagement and overall learning.
An interesting article from 2021 just came across my Twitter feed. Henderson and Schroeder's (2021) A Sytematic review of instructor presence in instructional videos highlights many of the reasons to include an on-screen instructor in an instructional video that I just mentioned, which they found as part of their systematic literature review of the impacts of on-screen instructors. However, their actual findings are quite interesting. The authors include the following highlights with the paper's Abstract:
- We reviewed the literature around the use of on-screen instructors in video.
Essentially, there is no definitive answer as to whether the presence of an on-screen instructor actually increases engagement and learning! That's because of inconsistent findings across the literature reviewed. But -- and this is an important "but" -- there is also no evidence to indicate that it is detrimental to include the instructor in the video! The authors call for more research (using a consistent, systematic approach) to determine the actual impact level of instructor on-screen presence, and to offer sound guidance on when to include it, and when it is best not to.
In light of this, I find myself "sticking to my guns" on this issue. Even if there are inconsistent findings on the pedagogical benefits of including an instructor on-screen in an instructional video, I do believe that this little bit of extra presence contributes to the bigger picture when promoting engagement, and maximizing the benefits of promoting a Community of Inquiry in our courses!
Power, R. (2020, September 3). Maximizing the Impact of Instructional Video Length. [Web log post]. Power Learning Solutions. https://www.powerlearningsolutions.com/blog/maximizing-the-impact-of-instructional-video-length
Power, R. (2020, April 17). Creating a YouTube Channel for Educators. [YouTube video]. https://youtu.be/Uy_5gOV80LY
Power, R. (2019, January 14). Using YouTube to Share Video in an Online Course. [Web log post]. Power Learning Solutions. https://www.powerlearningsolutions.com/blog/using-youtube-to-share-video-in-an-online-course
Power, R. (2019, January 22). Adding a Human Touch to Online Learning, Right From the Start! [Web log post]. Power Learning Solutions. https://www.powerlearningsolutions.com/blog/adding-a-human-touch-to-online-learning-right-from-the-start
Athabasca University (n.d.). CoI Framework. https://coi.athabascau.ca/coi-model/
Henderson, M., & Schroeder, N. (2021). A Systematic review of instructor presence in instructional videos: Effects on learning and affect. Computers and Education Open, 2(2021) 100059. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.caeo.2021.100059
Rob Power, EdD, is an Assistant Professor of Education, an instructional developer, and educational technology, mLearning, and open, blended, and distributed learning specialist.
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