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How University of Amsterdam used Interactive Video to optimise learners' self-study

Ananda Verheijen
July 29, 2020
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Language Learning
Class Size
Instructor Workload
Learner Workload


This course is given to 2nd-year Spanish students and is mostly in the format of face-to-face classes. Most learners are still in the process of forming conceptual knowledge. Every week a new topic is covered, for which students prepare by watching an Interactive Video.  

The Interactive Video may contain open questions, multiple choice questions and reflection questions which together support an activating learning environment, as well as promoting students’ interaction with study materials. In addition the materials provide an opportunity for learners to visualise/conceptualise material that has been discussed or assigned in class.

Constructive alignment

Learning objectives

  • The desired outcome of this activity was that students are able to visualise in-class content through another medium.
  • Furthermore, students should demonstrate their understanding of the course content.

Learning activities

Students answer questions which check knowledge, invite reflection, or ask for argumentation of a particular topic.
Multiple choice and knowledge-check questions ask students to remember and understand concepts. Reflection questions demand students to demonstrate application of knowledge and evaluation of concepts.

These learning activities, based on Bloom’s Taxonomy, are mainly on the level of:

  • Remembering new vocabulary.
  • Understanding grammatical and syntactical rules in reading and listening comprehension.
  • Applying rules to constructing language in spoken and written form.

Assessment of learning outcomes

Students are required to participate in 80% of the questions in the interactive materials, though not necessarily all with correct answers. Questions in the video correspond with topics covered in class.

Notable outcomes

  • The maximum appropriate duration for the videos in this case tended to be about 40 minutes. Up to this point, student participation is generally high.
  • The instructor chose for students ro receive their participation grade when they answered 80% of the questions, but this amount can be less or more as the course demands.
  • Reading through students’ answers to questions allowed the instructor to have a sense of the atmosphere and also to see how students approach the material.
  • Having to create questions requires the instructor to think about content and concepts.
  • Interactive Video gives students a safe space to let their opinions about the material be heard.
  • Once questions have been created it is simple to adapt and reuse the material for other sessions.
"In just 15 minutes I can address every student’s comment on a 1.5 hour video." - Dr. Anna Escofet Vilá, Instructor, University of Amsterdam

The role of the instructor

  • At the start of the course the usage of the tool is explained to the students.
  • The instructor checks the answers for each question and occasionally writes a response, but isn’t compelled to give an answer on each individual item.
  • The instructor creates a safe learning environment where there are no right or wrong answers.
  • Each week students’ progress with the task is checked by the instructor.

Added value of technology

  • The open learning environment allows students to view each others’ contributions.
  • Collating student responses lets the instructor roughly determine the mean level and content of these responses.

Possible variation

Using other homework material such as Interactive Document or Interactive Audio to correspond with lectures could enrich students’ learning experience.

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