Effects of Video Annotation on Learning and Professional Development

This PhD revolves around the use of Video Annotation, as a means to foster learning and professional development.

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This PhD revolves around the use of Video Annotation, as a means to foster learning and professional development.

The increased popularity of educational technologies, together with the paradigm of active learning, has led designers to create new digital tools that support learning, as well as competencies development in the workplace. Videos in particular have been used in education since they became accessible via television in the 1960s; only recently, however, technology has enabled digital video users to annotate shared video contents.

In recent contributions, scholars have attempted to define the Video Annotation: Howard (2012) defines annotations as “textual messages uploaded to an asynchronous platform, […] whereby the text is associated with a moment in a video” and “where users see messages (annotations) appear and disappear from the viewable screen at set times unless playback is interrupted” (p.211). Descriptions of the features of VA tools can be used to define the object of our investigation. In describing such features, for example, Rich and Trip (2011) report that “Video annotation tools are online or offline programs that allow a user to mark portions of video and reflect on it by adding written, spoken or visual comments to that section of video. These “clips” can then be used to identify patterns in a teacher’s instructional practice.” (p.16).

However, a comprehensive definition of Video Annotation that encompasses both its technical and pedagogical characteristics seems to be missing from the scientific body of literature that investigates this topic, and regardless of the widespread integration of video technology and Video Annotation in education and professional development settings, there is still a lot to accomplish to effectively instruct learning designers.

Based on these premises, the following research questions will guide the development of the PhD:

  1. What are the technical and pedagogical affordances of Video Annotation, and how can these affordances be used to create a comprehensive definition of our object of study?
  2. Under which instructional conditions Video Annotation contribute to enhance learning and professional development?
  3. Does Video Annotation have a more positive effect on enhancing learning when combined with the use of emotional connotators like emoticons?

To answer the first research question, a systematic literature review of the scientific body of literature published on the topic of Video Annotation will be developed. Following the methodology described by Petticrew and Roberts (2006), we will examine the literature published on the topic of Video Annotation from the year 2000 with the aim of investigating the efficacy of Video Annotation tools in enhancing learning and professional development, thus shedding light on both the technical and pedagogical characteristics of the analyzed tools. This review will pave the way for the development of further studies aiming at conducting in-depth analysis of the available latest Video Annotation tools. Such studies can be useful for learning designers and instructors when selecting the appropriate Video Annotation tool, based on the chosen pedagogical framework. In line with this tenet, a repository of video annotation tools will also be created, and kept up-to-date throughout the duration of the PhD.

The second question will be addressed combining several cases which used Video Annotation in educational contexts; in particular, we will focus our attention on using Video Annotation with the goal of enhancing learning and professional development of in-service teachers through the analysis of best practices involving the use of video annotation.

Finally, the third question will be addressed by an empirical study in which we will investigate the impact of a Video Annotation tool on Emotional Learning. We know in fact that the human brain is not just as a purely cognitive information processing system, but as a system in which both affective functions and cognitive functions are inextricably interwoven (Shen, 2009). We planned a scenario involving vocational students while being trained to work in situations characterized by high emotional impact. This scenario will have pre-post measure and comparative conditions, and it will stem from a literature review investigating the role of emotional and affective learning in education.

In agreement with the professional and academic interest of scientifically contributing to the Digitalization project and to the research in the field of educational technologies-enhanced learning and professional development, throughout the duration of the PhD there will be a constant effort in disseminating the findings derived from the use of video annotation tools, in conferences, workshops and presentations in vocational and educational settings.


Supervisors of the dissertation: