• xTalks: Digital Discourses

The xTalks series provides a forum to facilitate awareness, deep understanding and transference of educational innovations at MIT and elsewhere. We hope to foster a community of educators, researchers, and technologists engaged in developing and supporting effective learning experiences through online learning environments and other digital technologies. To sign up for the xTalks mailing list, click here.

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Tim van der Zee: Learning from Videos in Open Online Education

Tim Van Der Zee

In Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) videos are generally the most used method of teaching and are central to the student learning experience. In this talk van der Zee will present some of his research and discuss new research opportunities. One of the questions in the field of instructional design is: How can we increase the educational value of videos? For example, do students learn more if you ask them to summarize the videos they watch, or should we just give them summaries? What are other effective strategies?

Given that many students of open online courses do not have English as their first language, how can we ensure that educational videos are not only available, but also accessible to students around the world? In contrast with guidelines on accessibility, van der Zee found that providing subtitles does not help non-native English speakers to learn more from videos. Another key question is how we should design videos to ensure that they are informative, but not overly complex. Van der Zee will discuss previous findings and guidelines on effective video design for online education.


Tim van der Zee is a PhD candidate at Leiden University Graduate School of Teaching (ICLON), in the Netherlands. He studies how people learn from educational videos in MOOCs and focuses specifically on increasing the instructional design quality and educational value of these videos. Follow Tim on Twitter at @Research_Tim and read his blog at www.timvanderzee.com.

This event is co-hosted with the Digital Learning Lab.

For a student perspective on van der Zee's xTalk, read Sarah Bricault's blog post.