Bridging the Gaps Between Passive and Active Learning in Higher Education.
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9th March 2019
Colette Mazzola

This project attempted to bridge the gap between passive and active learning in Higher Education. The activity is to create a whiteboard video using software called Video Scribe which illustrates and narrates information. The topic chosen is based around reflection and how to become more reflective. As part of Higher Education, the general feedback from students suggests that they struggle to be reflective moreover and more importantly have found it particularly difficult writing reflectively. This video is the first of a series on YouTube together with classroom activities based on reflection aims to inspire students to become more knowledgeable and confident in reflecting. 

The follow up activity which will be based in the classroom provides an opportunity for the teacher to reflect on the knowledge and information presented in the Video. Small groups of students will be paired together and using the worksheets created they will be asked to complete a reflective piece of writing based upon Graham Gibbs reflective cycle.

Resource Developed

This pedagogical activity attempts to address the issues of creating engaging learning, fostering deeper learning. The intention of this Video Scribe is to be used as a flipped learning activity. Firstly, Bergmann and Sam’s (2012) state flipped learning (learning prior to the class) provides an opportunity for students to demonstrate deeper understanding as opposed to passively acquiring knowledge. Moreover, Hamdan, McKnight and Arfstrom (2015) iterates that it encourages a more student led pedagogy while Lea and Simmons (2012, p.11) articulate less nurturing promotes active learning and allows students to become autonomous and independent. The students will access the video on YouTube prior to the session and then engage in a collaborative group learning experience in the class, this will aim to assess and further deepen their knowledge and understanding.

Using an accumulation of activities, flipped and collaborative, Mayes, and De Freitas (2004 p.131) suggests that combining images and text can allow for deeper learning. Additionally, it was found that learners would gain a deeper understanding of the lesson content alongside a meta-cognitive dimension of their learning such as learner autonomy. In Wellers (2002 p.65) research he outlines constructivism at lengths, stating it as being the most dominant approach. Students construct their own knowledge based upon relationships with the concepts and the knowledge they possess, with this in mind Avis, Fisher, Thompson (2010 p.147) and Bennett, Iredale and Reynolds (2010 p.148) wrote that e-learning provides an opportunity to absorb key concepts, work flexibly, in a personalised manor and extend classroom based learning.

Evaluating Laurillard's conversational model, Bennett and Youde (2010) found that it has four major areas for consideration; discursive, adaptive, interactive, and reflective. It could be argued that the discursive process could be fulfilled by using YouTube as a delivery method in that "Video has the same ability as television, however, to bring together experience and description of that experience and, being self-paced, can enhance this further with the opportunity for students to reflect on what they are doing" (Laurillard, 2002). An opportunity to reflect on the video and this model requires an ample amount of dialogue; this will be demonstrated in the activity in the classroom embodying Laurillard's step 11 facilitation of a student-centred process, allowing the students to reflect on their experiences.

Motivation is a key benefit as stated by Avis, Fisher and Thompson (2010 p.148). Using multimedia resources like YouTube can make learning fun and remember-able. However, Wellers (2002 p.66) expresses using activity rather than the traditional didactic model (being told the answers) can provide a deeper understanding of a topic. This approach has some potential drawbacks, for example, it can be misleading for the students causing them to feel they are left to do all the work; it can be time consuming and leave students unaware of obvious mistakes. Brief Weller (2002 p.67) proclaims that this pedagogical approach is best implemented with elements of traditional didactic pedagogies.

One principle that has come from constructivism articulated by Weller (2002 p68) is collaborative learning is a social process which promotes reflection. Students must communicate ideas, potentially gain innovative ideas and essentially create an active learning environment as opposed to passively acquiring the knowledge. Fundamentally this engages with the concepts they are learning. Avis et al (2010 p.149) state that collaborative learning can also promote essential employability skills. The Further Education Learning Technologies Action Group, Hancock (2012) outlined that employability skills are at the forefront of development and the education system should be preparing students for their futures in industry. Suffice to say, there are limitations to collaborative activities as Weller (2002 p.69) states, the most frequent being reluctance and resistance to take part, occasionally groups are disconnected, and some students may have issues on losing their independence. Nevertheless, when implementing a collaborative activity, it is recommended that a variety of face to face and online processes are disseminated to facilitate the activity properly whilst outlining hesitancy and resistance to take part in an activity. He concludes with some guidance as if the activity is linked to assessment, the participants may be further motivated to collaborate. Overall it is documented as an approach with caution, with the correct combination of constructivist and collaborative, there is potential.

In conclusion to this pedagogical design project, it has outlined the potential issues and advantages of using YouTube (Video Scribe) coupled with a collaborative lesson activity. Whilst considering Laurillard's conversational model to foster deeper learning and enable students to become independent and autonomous, a combination of theoretical pedagogical drivers must also be implemented.


Avis, J., Fisher, R., & Thompson, R. (2010). Teaching in Lifelong Learning. Maidenhead: Open University Press.

Bennett, L., & Youde, A. (2010). E- Tutoring. In J. Avis, R. Fisher & R. Thompson, Teaching in Lifelong Learning (1st ed., pp. 155-162). Berkshire: Open University Press.

Bennett, L., Iredale, A., & Reynolds, C. (2010). Teaching with Technology. In J. Avis, R. Fisher & R. Thompson, Teaching in Lifelong Learning (1st ed., pp. 144-153). Berkshire: The Open University Press.

Bergmann, J., & Sams, A. (2012). Flip your classroom. Eugene, Or.: International Society for Technology in Education.

Hancock, M. (2012). Further Education Learning Technology Action group. FELTAG, 1 - 27. Retrieved from

Laurillard, D. (2002). Rethinking University Teaching. New York: Routledge Falmer.

Lea, J., & Simmons, J. (2012). Research in Post-Compulsory Education. Higher Education in Further Education: Capturing and Promoting Heness, 1, 179 - 193. Retrieved from

Mayes, T., & De Freitas, S. (2004). Review of e-learning theories, frameworks, and models. JISC. Retrieved 30 December 2015, from

Sharpe, R., Beetham, H., & Freitas, S. (2010). Rethinking learning for a digital age. New York: Routledge.

Weller, M. (2002). Delivering learning on the Net. London: Kogan Page.