Tuesday, March 06, 2012

Video Cases Research by Ulgur Kale and Pmela Whitehouse, and What It Means to Asynchronous E-Learning

I just read a fascinating article in the Journal of Research on Technology in Education. Structuring Video Cases to Support Future Teachers' Problem Solving by Ulgur Kale and Pamela Whitehouse (you can read the entire article here) describes research done on the use of video cases with preservice teachers. I was particularly interested in what they call "ill-structured pedagogical problem solving." I think this means the messy problems that pop up in real life, when there are people involved. These kind of problems are layered, and, according to Kale and Whitehouse, what the preservice teacher can see in the problem is based on their own preferred teaching theory. In other words, what I call "The Carpenter's Problem" or if all you own is a hammer, then everything looks like a nail.

I'm interested in the use of video cases for teaching business skills, and this study offered me some great leads on how to structure them. Here's the summary:

1. Students have to be taught how to notice. I'm not sure that Kale and Whitehouse would exactly recognize this from their article, but it's in there. I think that most of what a person needs to learn about any subject that requires more than memorization is how to notice. The how-to-notice piece is what organizes chaos.

2. Students need a schema  for analysis and appropriate scaffolding. It is in reflecting and verbalizing the problem solving process that students are able to understand what is at hand, and their ability to reflect is enhanced. Tools that were proven useful included guiding questions, rubrics, and category codes.

3. Students need more than one schema.  Reviewing content with more than one lens (or with the help of experts with more than one analysis model) allows the students to understand the material more deeply. More points of view translate to greater ability to notice different aspects of the teaching moment.

4. Video cases should be segmented, rather than shown in entirety. Segmented video leads to better skills transfer and knowledge retention. I always felt this was true, because I can feel myself becoming fatigued. Apparently research by R.E. Meyer reveals that when students are working on ill-defined problems, the breaks between segments is particularly necessary because the cognitive and meta-cognitive demands require more time for recovery.

5. Resources should be arranged sequentially. The model for presentation would be first a video segment, and then the instructor's analysis. Then another segment, and more analysis. Presentation in this manner helps the preservice teachers to better identify the "new" material in the subsequent segments. I think having the students apply their own analysis in this manner would also be advantageous. 

All of this was very useful when I consider how to best teach principle (judgement) based learning, such as that I will convey in a business skills course. Right away I am thinking that we need to develop a method for observation that can be taught to students before we start in on the content area. I need to do research to see what sorts of analysis models exist now. The breaking the content into segments and structuring the analysis with the students will be the easy part, I think.


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