Using pre-lecture activities to enhance learner engagement in a large group setting

Kinsella, Gemma K, Mahon, Catherine and Lillis, Seamus (2017) Using pre-lecture activities to enhance learner engagement in a large group setting. Active Learning in Higher Education, 18 (3). pp. 231-242. ISSN 1469-7874


The disadvantage to students of beginning a module with no prior knowledge or inaccurate knowledge is well documented. For learners, the development of the necessary prior knowledge to facilitate their learning is essential. The use of screencasts, whether prior to or during class, is becoming more widespread. There is a need, however, to better understand how these are used and whether or not there is any impact on overall learner engagement and academic achievement when a component with instantaneous feedback (such as a multiple choice quiz) is embedded into the pre-lecture screencast activity. In this study, pre-learning activities consisting of screencasts and multiple choice quizzes were introduced to improve student engagement with the topic, gauge common misconceptions and give timely feedback to the students. An examination of screencast usage indicated that students did not predominantly nor exclusively employ the resources as originally intended, that is, in advance of lectures. Rather, students continued to access the activities across the module and often after the associated lecture. Implications are discussed with an acknowledgement of the importance of taking into account how learners prefer to use resources when designing and introducing new activities to modules.

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