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Available under a Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial Share Alike 4.0 International Licence



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Active Learning in Higher Education, Vol 18, Issue 3, 2017.


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. Keywords large group teaching, learner engagement, multiple choice quizzes, prior knowledge, screencasts Identifying and enhancing learner prior knowledge – what do learners know already and how can this help them?[AQ1] To find ways to support student learning, educators are increasingly turning their attention to the very roots of the learning experience, that is, to the knowledge, skills, environments and processes already possessed and encountered by the learner before the new, to-be-learned material is introduced (Coppola and Krajcik, 2014). Although such awareness of the importance of prior knowledge is not a recent emergence (Ausubel, 1968), interest in what learners know in advance.


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