Video: the new language of learning

ONLINE EDUCA BERLIN 2012 sees the launch of VIDEO EDUCA, a brand new series of sessions dedicated to making video work for learning. One of the most powerful forms of communication in use today, video is rapidly becoming the new language of learning. The medium of video, whether it is used in distance learning, to flip the classroom or simply to enhance face-to-face education, enables educators to engage their learners more effectively. The OEB news team caught up with VIDEO EDUCA curator Adam Salkeld, a television and new media executive with over 25 years’ experience, to find out how education professionals can make video work for learning.
What are the benefits of using video in learning?
Moving pictures, along with a soundtrack, are one of the most powerful forms of communication humans have ever invented. As educators if we want to connect with learners, we ignore this medium at our peril.

How is Generation Z influencing and shaping the broadcast industry? 
I have worked in broadcasting in the UK and all over the world for twenty-five years. The biggest change I have seen has been the demystifying, the democratisation if you like, of film and video production. Cameras used to cost as much as luxury cars, now we all have one built into our phones. Many people, particularly the younger generation, make and use video in their everyday lives. We now have a highly video literate audience, more so than ever before. So that means any of us using video, in broadcasting, communications or indeed learning, have to raise our game. Anything substandard will be spotted, its credibility undermined and its effectiveness as a communications tool greatly reduced.

Video has been around for a while; why do you think that it is only now becoming more prevalent in education?
Well I, like plenty of others, have been using video in learning for many years. The difference recently has been one of volume. There is much more video being used to make learning more engaging in all manner of ways. The other difference is in our learners. They know so much more about video. They communicate with their peers with video, they express themselves video, they critique video with a sharp eye. So when we say that video is the new language of learning, we have to make sure it’s a language we are fluent in.

Is there not a risk that delivering a lesson through video rather than face-to-face limits interaction?
No one is suggesting, least of all me, that video will ever replace face-to-face learning. But what it can do is bring distance learning to life. It can enhance face-to-face education by providing stimuli. It can bring the world to the classroom, to a learner’s computer or mobile device.

Creating your own learning video must be quite costly. How can educators make cost-effective videos?
Good video production still requires an investment. What I hope that participants of VIDEO EDUCA will come away with is a sense of how to use that investment in a way that will pay great dividends for them.

For more information on the VIDEO EDUCA part of OEB’s programme, please click here.

Shortened version, first publication:, November 1st, 2012