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by Brock Horning | March 2024

🗣 “You’re always going to retain information better if you effectively engage with the learning experience.”

Kat Rolley, Digital Learning and Engagement Consultant

In December, we gathered together four academics working in higher education to give their thoughts and advice on using interactive video to enhance the learning experience. All four have used interactive video in higher education settings to share new concepts and topics within a wide range of courses. The results have been impressive. Here is what they’ve learned.


1. 🗺 Let students explore and ‘discover’ answers for themselves

Julie Stephens de Jonge, University of Central Missouri

It’s the joy of discovery that makes the difference. Julie has found that initially withholding some information when introducing new concepts means that students must consider solutions and connect the dots. Adaptive video has meant that students can individually work through new ideas, re-running different scenarios to fully explore and understand key topics.

Letting students explore and ‘discover’ the answers (if indeed there is one) is a key tool in the learning experience.

2. 🙋‍♀️ Give students agency over their learning experience

Kat Rolley, Digital Learning and Engagement Consultant

Every learner is different. Everyone learns at different paces and in different ways. Is it time for us to give students agency to dictate their learning experience – to some degree at least? Kat aims to allow students and learners to bring themselves to the digital experience by opening up the journey as a two-way relationship. Rather than dictatorial, linear training videos, students can explore a topic in the way that suits them – increasing engagement and information retention.

Being able to have that personal experience and bring your own interests and knowledge into the learning journey creates personalised experiences that resonate.

3. 🔍 Create curiosity through storytelling

Medrine Nyambura, Saint Louis University

Medrine uses curiosity to fuel engagement in learning. It is not about finding the best ways to share knowledge but instead creating an environment for students to find knowledge for themselves. To do this, Medrine designs interactive video projects that incorporate topics that students truly care about. This gives a motivation to tell stories in new and innovative ways – especially when it comes to adopting new technologies such as adaptive video. 

Getting students excited about finding solutions is an effective strategy for retaining information and introducing new concepts.

4. 🎬 Utilise interactive filmmaking techniques

Alex Mitchell, National University of Singapore

Having taught interactive storytelling for many years, one question often crops up from Alex’s students: how do you maintain authorial intent in an interactive story? How do you give agency and maintain the impact of the story? To answer this, Alex recommends that educators gain a core understanding of interactive filmmaking techniques.

Like transitions and cuts in linear films, where you insert decision moments will impact pacing and mood. Know why each decision screen is included and what its impact will be. Find the balance between viewer agency and authorial intent.

🎓 Get started with adaptive video for higher education

If you’re looking to introduce interactive adaptive video in a higher education setting, we’ve got some helpful resources to get you started: